The World Bank has pledged continued support towards the Agriculture Commercialisation (Agcom) Project, the Malawi Government’s flagship programme for transforming smallholder agriculture from subsistence to commercial.
Speaking when the World Bank delegation visited Acades, one of the beneficiary organisations of Agcom project in Mpingu, Lilongwe, the bank’s agriculture and food security practice manager Holger Kray said the initiative deserves their continued support and scaling up.
“At this point, 30 000 young agriculture entrepreneurs across the country are already members of this project and we have reached a stage where we feel this is deserving of being scaled up,” he said.
Kray was optimistic that the project could be one of the main forms of supporting the country’s agriculture growth.
In 2020, Acades requested for support from Agcom of $200 000 (K166 million) to set up their processing and storage facility and avert the post-harvest losses.
Said Acades monitoring and evaluation officer Chrissie Jafali: “We have been keeping the produce in our houses, and for this, thieves have been targeting our members’ homes. Additionally, with the lack of storage space we had to sell our produce soon after harvest and would be met with an influx of commodities.”
Acades chairperson Hastings Nhlane said the 334-member farmers producer organisation is producing several agricultural products and are also in seed multiplication, soya bean production and production of horticultural products.
In an interview, Lilongwe District Council director of agriculture, environment and natural resources Hastings Yotamu said since last year, more than 15 farmers’ groups have benefited from Agcom.
He said most of them are applying for funds to address their transportation needs, build warehouses and for production of crops such as maize and soya beans.
Agcom national coordinator Ted Nakhumwa said despite starting late, the project is on the right track to deliver results.
“We are on the right trajectory to achieving the 200 productive alliances that we want to establish. As of now, we are talking of having 85 productive alliances on the ground and have given out $11.2 million [about K9.2 billion] and that is remarkable,” he said.
Agcom project is being implemented jointly with Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and is expected to run up to 2023