LILONGWE--President Joyce Banda said Thursday there’s need for farmers to improve the quality of their products for the agriculture sector to forge ahead.
Banda was speaking during the launch of Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains Project (INVCP) designed to deliver Feed the Future and Global Health Initiatives in Tidi Village, Traditional Authority Chimutu in Lilongwe.
“This is a good step if we are to increase the competitiveness of crops and daily farm value chains to mitigate food insecurity and increase incomes of the rural poor,” Banda said, adding that the project would help in facilitating improvements in productivity through Soil and Water Management practices.
Funded by the United States Agency International Development (USAID), the K6.8 billion project aims at sustainably reducing poverty and improving the nutrition status of people in rural areas.
Banda said the project is in line with her vision of improving Malawi’s enormous agricultural potential to combat malnutrition and poverty.
The Malawi leader said those put in charge of the funds should thrive at ensuring the success of the project.
“We should observe transparency, accountability and should not give room to corruption so that our programmes are a success and for our donor partners to support us,” Banda said.
The president said her government would provide all tools to alienate hunger and poverty in the country.
Feed the Future will focus on the daily groundnuts and soya value chains and will target 270, 000 households in the country and smallholders that are “poor with assets” cultivating between 0.5 to 1.0 hacters of land.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Professor Peter Mwanza, thanked USAID for the initiative aimed at improving agriculture diversification and fighting hunger.
“Farmers will learn and achieve a lot from this project, furthermore, livelihoods of people will improve for the better,” Mwanza said.
Speaking at the same function, U.S.A Ambassador to Malawi, Jeanine Jackson, said her government was pleased to support and complement Pres Banda’s important and visionary presidential initiative on poverty and hunger reduction with Feed the Future project.
She said Feed the Future will strategize at adapting a value chain approach that focuses not only on farm productivity, but also on facilitating partnerships’ with diverse stakeholders, including the private sector, to expand agro-processing and export opportunities.
“This farm to market approach will benefit small holder farmers because there will be a more consistent market demand which will in turn generate financial rewards for producing a higher quality product,” Jackson said.
She said the agriculture interventions will also be integrated with nutrition activities to ensure that gains in agriculture productivity result in sustaining food security.
“Among others, USAID will make a US$3.3 million contribution to Malawi’s Agriculture Sector Wide Approach Multi Donor Trust Fund to expand agriculture diversification efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security,” Jackson added.
The Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains Project also plans on supporting the expansion of small holder dairy sector, picking up from where past USAID investments successfully enabled smallholders to diversify into dairy production and marketing.
Malawi is one of the only 20 countries benefiting from this U.S government Global Hunger and Food security which Pres Obama’s signature development initiative.
Districts targeted under this project include; Mchinji, Lilongwe, Dedza, Ntcheu, Balaka, Machinga and Mangochi.
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