AGRA calls for investments in agriculture sector

Lilongwe, August 5, Mana: Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) says agriculture investment remains central to the country’s economic growth.

Country Manager for AGRA, Sophie Chitedze made the remarks Wednesday during the launch of the Malawi Agribusiness Deal Room under the African Green Revolution Forum 2021 at Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe.

She said the country’s economy would continue to depend on agriculture for the foreseeable future, unlike neighbouring countries that have other sectors as priorities for their economic growth.

Chitedze added that the importance of agriculture to Africa and to Malawi cannot be overemphasized and investing as much in a sector that drives the lives of people is important.

“We have every cause for worry when our farmers and agribusiness cannot feed the population.  We cannot continue to do the same things we used to do 10 years ago,” she pointed out.

She noted that it was against this background that AGRA was founded in 2006 by calling for an agricultural transformation hence the need to break the status quo and attain the agricultural commercialization dream of the Agenda 2063.

Chitedze: calls for investment in agriculture sector pic by Tione Andsen (Mana)

She said AGRA was focused on putting smallholder farmers at the centre of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to farming as a business that thrives.

As a sector that employs a majority of people in Africa, Chitedze said her organisation recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.

“In Malawi, our work has focused on supporting setting the foundation through appropriate but pragmatic policy reforms as well as strengthening systems in seeds, fertilizer and markets ensuring farmers have access to improved seeds and fertilizers that will increase their productivity,” she explained.

Chitedze said there is a need for a robust private sector that would utilize the reforms and systems to deliver quality products and services.

She said people need to agree that Malawi is not poor and the Agribusiness Deal room shows investors also agree that Malawians are no longer poor because they have identified numerous opportunities for investment.

participants to the launch of Dealroom for agribusiness in Malawi pic by Tione Andsen (Mana)

Ministry of Trade Principal Secretary, Christina Chatima spelt the need to enhance anchor farming in order to link farmers to investors and markets.

She said the agriculture sector stand to benefit more if farmers are encouraged to continue working together to produce quality products.

Chatima disclosed that the government was working at implementing a number of trade agreements with several countries which gives an opportunity for farmers to have steady markets for the products.

She said such agreements would eventually create more investment opportunities for smallholder farmers and cooperatives to strive for more partnerships with potential investors.