The World Bank has said Malawi can achieve more if it invests in agriculture research to improve people’s nutrition and socio-economic status.
World Bank agriculture manager Mark Cackler said this after visiting Chitedze Research Station in Lilongwe at the end of his two-week country tour of the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach-Support Project II (Aswap-SPII).
He said: “It’s great to be here to see what is happening in the field and see how research is happening on the farms. Don’t minimise the importance of research. It’s great to have research for people to get better yields for better nutrition . World Bank is pleased to continue supporting these programmes.”
Aswap-SP II is a follow-up to Aswap-SPI which ran between 2008 and 2016 with financial support from six donors in a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) under the administration of the World Bank.
The programme, which started in November 2017 and is expected to wind up in December 2019, is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.
The ministry’s chief director Yanira Ntupanyama said Aswap-SPII has had a lot of impact, especially in research where the ministry has learnt how different varieties can be used for the benefit of people and farmers.
She said through the programme, researchers have recommended the right seeds according to soil and area which has helped productivity and resources.
“The programmes made a lot of impact in terms of fertiliser recommendations; it is interesting that we have right seeds to recommend to farmers to produce what is needed. In some cases we spent a lot where we were supposed not to spend much, so the programme has helped to iron out that,” said Ntupanyama.
Aswap-SP II targets 300 000 rural households in 12 districts of Chitipa, Mzimba, Kasungu, Mchinji, Ntchisi, Lilongwe, Dedza, Ntcheu, Zomba, Phalombe, Mulanje and Thyolo.
World Bank pumped in $55 million (about K40.7 billion) out of which government has used $17 million (about K12.5 billion). Aswap-SP II World Bank team leader Vales Muamvameza assured Malawi that it is fit for a next funding in Aswap following a satisfactory implementation of the programme.