The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has called for the need to scale up investment in extension and research initiatives citing this as a stepping stone in agricultural growth.
MCCCI president Prince Kapondamgaga in an interview on Wednesday while applauding government for continuing to meet its international undertakings to the Malabo Declarations—a commitment to supporting the National Agriculture Investment Plan—said more needs to be in terms of investment in research and extension in the agro-sector.
He noted that government’s investments have primarily focused only on a few interventions but have systematically neglected investment areas that are necessary to drive agriculture growth such as extension and research.
This in turn, according to Kapondamgaga, has seen Malawi’s agriculture sector consistently failing to attain the minimum six percent sector growth target.
“The 2018/19 budget of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development continues to focus narrowly on maize production through the Farm Input Subsidy Programme [Fisp] and maize consumption via the Strategic Grain Reserves and Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation [Admarc].
“As a consequence, the sector continues to lack a solid foundation of functional institutions to develop food and nutrition security, resilience, sustainable land resource use, and economic growth,” he said.
Speaking in a separate interview, agriculture expert Tamani NKhono-Mvula called for combined efforts from private sector and government, urging government to partner with private sector for notable investments in the sector.