Malawi Launches AGCOM for Transformation
Agriculture minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa, says the six-year-long Agricultural Commercialization (AGCOM) Project which is being implemented with a U$95m World Bank loan is the flagship program for the Mutharika administration to transform the smallholder sub-sector from subsistence farming to commercial orientation.
Nankhumwa said this Friday in Lilongwe at the official launch of the project which ends 2023.
“This is consistent with your Government’s policy of moving Malawi from being mostly an importing to exporting country,” said minister Nankhumwa.
The minister set as benchmarks of the success of the program after six years;
* Increase in yield of the selected commodities by the Producer Organisation and Productive Alliances participating in the project;
* Selected agricultural value chain products linked to markets (Producer Organisations that meet market specifications defined by buyers/off-takers); and
* Increased value of gross sales by producer groups for products of agricultural value chains supported by the project.
The core objective of the AGCOM program is to increase productivity and diversification of Malawi’s food and export base to which Nankhumwa said Malawi hopes to increase commercialization of agricultural value chain products.
“These agricultural value chain products are products of farms and agribusinesses, including crop, livestock, and fisheries products sold domestically or exported, with or without processing, depending on market requirements,” he said.
Implementation of the project is through support to integration of small-scale and emerging farmers into value chains by improving their capacity to finance and execute productivity-enhancing investments and respond to the requirements of end-markets and off-takers.
Unlike previous other interventions, producers under AGCOM will only be expected to produce for markets with clear understanding of the market’s quality and other demands.
“AGCOM is targeting all viable value-chains in crops such as legumes, rice, tea, coffee; horticulture, livestock and fisheries including aqua-culture,” he observed adding that in the meantime, AGCOM shall train and build smallholder associations into vibrant cooperatives in order to establish and enforce a business mindset.