The Malawi Defence Force (MDF) on Thursday handed over 7,459 bags of maize to Malawi Government which the Malawi National Service cultivated at Gada Farms in Mchinji.
National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) Board chairperson Dennis Kalekeni received the maize on behalf of Malawi Government while Principal Secretary in the Ministry of defence Erica Maganga handed over the maize on behalf of MDF.
Kalekeni said he was excited with what MDF has done.
“I am so excited. I’m so happy for this initiative. When this came as a proposal, by the Minister of Finance to provide resources to Malawi National Service to grow maize, to this magnitude, it was like a simple thing but today, this maize is now being handed to us to put in the strategic reserve, in readiness for support to people that are in need (and) for price stabilization,” he said.
Kalekeni also said the maize will also help for other eventualities that would require relief items.
The 373 metric tonnes of maize is valued at K205million.
According to Maganga, MDF was given K109 Million to produce the maize in the 2022/23 growing season.
She said she was happy to witness the hand over of the maize. Malawi Defence Force National Service is a new initiative with the MDF.
“The background is that last year they set out to the Treasury engaged, the Malawi Defense Force and the Minister of Defense to produce a maize. And an agreement was signed, to get 30% of the produce, while Minister of Finance was to get 70% of the produce. So we allocated or given 100 and 8 million kwacha, which was used for this activity. And they were happy that MDF has been able to produce the maize at one of its farms,”
Commander for the Malawi National Service Brigadier General John Chaika said the maize was produced from 100 hectares of land adding that given more resources they intend to increase the produce.
Malawi has so far put 63 000 hectares (ha) under irrigation and has since unveiled plans to mechanise farming through One-Stop Private Sector Mega Farms initiative that will see 844 medium and large-scale farmers being supported in commercial farming.
Under the scheme, the farmers are expected to grow crops for selected priority value chains to boost agriculture output in the country.
Launching the initiative in Kanengo, Lilongwe President Lazarus Chakwera said the approach is a positive course that puts the nation on the path to national prosperity in collaboration with the private sector.
He described the initiative as a game-changer for the country’s economy as most of the country’s foreign exchange revenue comes from agricultural commodities.