Donors urge Reforms in Agriculture sector

Written by  Mathews Malata

Malawi’s development partners in the agriculture sector have urged government to embark on serious reforms in the agriculture sector if the country is to unlock huge potential from the sector.

'Some of the actions proposed will not need financial resources' 'Some of the actions proposed will not need financial resources'
04
June

The donors; European Union (EU), African Development Bank, DFID, Flanders government, Germany, Irishaid, Jica, Norway, Usaid, World Bank, Fao and the United Nations (UN) made the proposal last week during a joint agriculture sector review with government.

 

Marchel Gerrmann, EU Ambassador to Malawi, speaking on behalf of other donors, noted that donors realize that government is working on a tight budget but said a number of the actions they are proposing do not need financial resources.

Specifically the donors are seeking serious action on the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP), Land Bill, Seed Act, the Agriculture Development and Marketing Cooperation (ADMARC), and on financial management, key among others.

 

On FISP, Gerrmann said since the last Joint Sector Review, donors are pleased to note that government has launched a major revision of FISP in consultation with the main sector stakeholders.

 

“As Development Partners in this sector we are hoping for a more efficient, more transparent, less costly program with strong private sector involvement, promoting diversification and farmers upgrading,” he said.

 

On Land Bill, Gerrmann said donors are urging government to prioritize the tabling of the new Bill to Parliament which he said will pave way for improved access to land and secure tenure of property for both smallholder farmers, in particular women and businesses.

 

He also said current procedures to allow new seed varieties to be available on the market are in their opinion ‘too slow and bureaucratic’.

 

“For example Honorable Minister, the release of new varieties of sunflower seeds late last year was only made possible thanks to your personal involvement to fast-track the approval process. Your action was well appreciated by the private sector.

 

Going forward, let invest our efforts and resources to ensure that the system becomes more efficient to release more new seed varieties without first seeking the Minister's intervention for this to happen,” said Gerrmann.

 

Minister of Agriculture Allan Chiyembekeza informed donors that government has had the most successful implementation of FISP this year.

“It is envisaged that farmers’ contribution will be increased from the current K500 and there will be increased participation of the private sector,” he said.

 

Chiyembekeza said government takes the proposals from the donors seriously, adding that the joint reviews are a key instrument for supporting mutual accountability and implementing the results framework for the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in the country.

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