President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has called for an end to lip service by the private sector on the implementation of the national development agenda, Malawi 2063 (MW2063), stressing that time had come for both the government and private entities to collaborate towards attainment of the aspirations.
Speaking when he led Malawians in launching Katunga-Maseya (KAMA) Mega Farm in Chikwawa on Tuesday, Chakwera said time had come for the country to put the invest the resources where they matter most.
“It’s not enough for private sector players to merely pay lip service to the Malawi 2063 Vision of an inclusively wealthy selfreliant industrialized upper middle-income economy. What we need is action, putting money where your mouth is, partnering with small-holder farm cooperatives like KAMA in a model that creates wealth for all involved,” he said.
The President also stressed the need for the private sector to demonstrate their commitment towards mindset change by buying farm produce at competitive prices.
He observed that most of the players in the private sector buy farm produce cheaply and sell them for huge profits that enrich others.
“We need a mindset that views the small-holder farmers as co-owners of the business, co-creators of the farms, and co-beneficiaries of the proceeds from the sale of their crops. That is the economic sovereignty we are creating for Malawians,” he said.
President Chakwera said the launch of KAMA Mega Farm demonstrates his government’s resolve to produce for both local and export purposes.
He therefore commended the Ministry of Agriculture for embracing “our vision to produce big time”.
“In fact, today, I want to challenge all of us as a country to stop telling ourselves that we are an agro-based economy. Why do we say that our economy’s strength is in agriculture when we produce so little from agriculture? If productivity among smallholder farmers is not even at 50% of its potential, then it means that we are not maximizing our resources in order to really become an agricultural stronghold. So the way I see it is that our economy has the potential to have a strong agricultural base, but this potential will not become a true strength until we start to produce big time,” he said.
“This is precisely the reason why the Agriculture Commercialization Project (AGCOM) exists. It exists to facilitate and resource projects that are ambitious, projects that are bold, projects that seek to produce big time. And today, we are launching one such project, which is a model of the power of strategic partnership, where a cooperative of over 2000 shareholding smallholder farmers and a local company have joined hands to leverage the 1000 plus hectares here to produce big time, in the process creating hundreds of jobs and wealth for the families here.”
Meanwhile, President Chakwera has disclosed that his government has put in 70 percent of the resources for the project, amounting to MK5.3 billion, which the government secured as a credit facility from the World Bank.
However, the farmers under the KAMA Cooperative have been given the funds as a grant so that they use the funds responsibly to produce “big time”. [END]