Malawi Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa has vowed to use his position to guarantee that farmers are rewarded for their labour.
Nankhumwa said he wanted farmers to be able to look forward to another new and profitable day after harvesting their crops.
“I would like to be the catalyst to the creation of a motivating environment for our farmers; where they are able to see handsome rewards for their work. I believe together we can do it.”
He added that for the sustainability of crops such as cotton and tobacco would depend on farmers producing the best and high quality which he would ensure that it becomes a reality.
The minister said in the 2014/15 season, 123,019 hectares were used for cotton and the total production was 79,289 metric tonnes while, in 2016/17 production was only 29,545 from 41,097 hectares.
“This trend is extremely worrying especially when you consider that apart from providing cash incomes to farmers and foreign exchange to Malawi, cotton seeds provide raw material for manufacturing of cooking oil and livestock feeds.”
“My immediate preoccupation as I settle down at this Ministry will be to meet all stakeholders in the cotton industry to explore some of the major challenges that are negatively affecting cotton production,” added Nankhumwa.
The minister also assured citizens that the food security for 2019 in the country was better as the country produced 3,391, 924 metric tonnes from 2, 697, 959 metric tonnes in the 2017/2018.
“Within the short-term government plans to procure maize through ADMARC and the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) so that the staple food is available to the people throughout the year.”
“In the medium and long term, government is implementing various programs and projects, with emphasis on irrigation farming, to maximize food production,” said the minister.
He added that the government would continue with the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) where farmers receive fertilizer for farming in order to boost food self-sufficiency.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.