President Peter Mutharika has officially launched the US $95m Agriculture Commercialization Project (AGCOM) project in Malawi. The funds, which were acquired as a loan from the World Bank, will be used to service the nationwide project that is projected to run until 2023.
According to media reports, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development will be charged with the implementation of the funds. President Mutharika said AGCOM is aimed at transforming the agricultural smallholder sub-sector from currently subsistence to commercial orientation.
He further added that the project will go a long way towards changing the country’s current situation whereby most Malawians lack adequate capital to invest in agriculture while those that are able to lack access to markets, in addition to poor storage and processing systems and poor transportation network.
The Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, said AGCOM is aimed at increasing productivity and diversifying both the food and export base of the country. As such, the main objective is to increase commercialization of agricultural value chain products.
The project, according to the minister, is being implemented through supporting the incorporation of small-scale and emerging farmers into value chains. This, he further added, will be accomplished by improving their capacity to finance and execute investments that will enhance their productivity. This is while enabling them to respond to the requirements of end-markets and buyers.
He also added that AGCOM will train and build smallholder associations into vibrant cooperatives in order to establish and enforce a business mindset. Nankhumwa said implementation of the project has already started and there is good progress so far.