Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe has asked policymakers to pursue policies and strategies that will help to address challenges the agriculture sector is facing and help develop resilience.
The minister said this on Thursday when he officially opened a day-long virtual meeting on the future of smallholder farming in organised by the Malawi Agriculture Policy Advancement and Transformation Agenda (Mwapata) in collaboration with the Nation a l Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (Nasfam).
He said there are problems such as climate change that are affecting contributions of the agricultural sector towards Malawi’s development agenda, adding his ministry is eager to pursue policies that focus on transforming smallholder farming.
Said Lowe: “This seminar has drawn together representatives of smallholder farmers who will share ideas on aligning their programmes to the Naip [National Agriculture Investment Policy] focus areas. This calls for all of us to play our part with greater collaboration in implementation.”
According to the minister, government recognises the need to have a coordinated approach to agricultural development that conforms to the Naip.
On his part, Mwapata Institute executive director William Chadza said the seminar sought to explore transitional pathways and strategies for smallholder farmers.
N a s f a m c h i e f executive officer Bettie Chinyamunyamu said there have been many discussions on the viability of smallholder farmers contributing to agricultural transformation in Malawi, but not much has changed.
“With all the support gone to the smallholder farming sector, growth of the agriculture sector has remained unstable and mostly declining,” she said.
C h i n y a m u n y amu challenged think-tanks to reflect on whether the country has made necessary inputs available to farmers and provided innovations that are suitable.
The Mwapata Institute is an independent agricultural policy think-tank formed in 2019