CISANET for the popularization of AfCFTA agreement

CISANET for the popularization of AfCFTA agreement
Kuwali: AfCFTA need to be made aware to stakeholders

Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) believes Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement need to be popularized among various stakeholders in order to have meaningful impact to the country’s economic growth.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for CISANET, Pamela Kuwali made the observation Tuesday in Lilongwe at Sunbird Capital Hotel during a Media breakfast meeting ahead of one-day 1 Policy Conference themed AfCFTA: Opportunities and Challenges for Agriculture in Malawi.

She noted that despite the country signing the AfCFTA agreement most stakeholders are not aware of the contents of the regional agreement saying for the county to move forward there was a need to intensify awareness drive

“We have the agreement up and running but not many stakeholders are aware of the opportunities and challenges that are contained in it. We need to bring those things out and come up with concrete strategies in order to improve our agriculture sector,” Kuwali said.

She said the time has come for the agriculture sector to be linked with trade saying the country’s economy has always been agro-based.

Kuwali said, “There is a need to unpack the potential impact of the AfCFTA agreement on Malawi’s agro-food systems and ensure positive impact.”

Africa Continental Free Trade Area
Kuwali: AfCFTA need to be made aware to stakeholders

The CEO outlined a strategy for prioritizing targeted public and private sector investment that facilitates scale production within key value chains to effectively harness the opportunity.   

She expressed concern that policies are lacking proper linkages added that there is weak coordination and collaboration in enhancing them.

Kuwali added that the government, farmers, the private sector, and CSOs have a part to play to ensure that agreement works for the betterment of the country’s economy.

She said the annual Policy Conference was supposed to be held in November 2021 and it will be held on February 17, 2022.

The State Vice President, Dr. Saulos Chilima is expected to officially open the conference at Bingu Inter1 Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

Chair of CISNAET ACCES to Profitable Markets Thematic Group, Driana Lwanda bemoaned the lack of structured markets for most crops in the country as one of the biggest challenges farmers were facing.

She said most farmers are not gaining on the sales of their crops because they have to sell their crops on their own.

Lwanda said farmers tend to benefit more if they sell their crops as cooperatives when they add value to their crops.

CEO for Mwapata Investment, William Chanza said the conference would provide an opportunity for further discussion among various stakeholders on utilizing the AfCFTA agreement in place.

He said there need to develop possible pathways towards harnessing the AfCFTA as an opportunity to accelerate agriculture growth and transformation in line with Malawi 2063.