LIVESTOCK, AQUACULTURE AND DAIRY DEVELOPMENT

This is an area that CISANET feels has a lot of potential if fully supported by Government, in terms of budgetary allocation, extension and other services provision and also capacity building.

NUTRITION AND SOCIAL PROTECTION

Nutrition is directly linked to food security. However there isn’t much policy and programme interaction between the two. Over the past five years, Malawi has had a food surplus; however that has not translated into a major improvement in the nutrition status of the population.

IRRIGATION AND CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

Climate change is affecting agricultural productivity in Malawi. CISANET is taking a lead in making sure that agricultural policies and programmes are climate smart.

NATIONAL AGRICULTURE BUDGET LOBBY AND ANALYSIS

CISANET has been conducting the national agriculture budget analysis since its inception. These analyses have been used to enlighten and also challenge Members of Parliament (MPs) before they go into Parliament and also some Ministers especially for the Ministries of Agriculture and Water Development.

VALUE CHAINS DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE

This theme is based on the challenges the smallholder farmers are facing in the wake of the ‘collapse’ of ADMARC which provided a market outlet for farmers in Malawi. After this collapse, market access for smallholder farmers has been a perennial challenge.

STAKEHOLDERS HAIL 14TH NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL FAIR

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Various stakeholders in agriculture sector have hailed the just-ended 14th National Agriculture Fair as they have managed to seal various trade deals and also tap new agricultural skills. 

The notable organisations that attended and had pavilions at the Fair included Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM), National Smallholders Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Farm Radio Trust, AHL Commodities Exchange (AHCX), Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS), and Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA). 

AHCX Communications Officer, Oliver Nakoma, said this year’s National Agricultural Fair has helped the company to seal many good trade deals. 

Nakoma said: “This year’s National Agriculture Fair was so beneficial to those who attended it including AHCX. For example, AHCX has sealed a number of deals during this Fair. This is good because it shows that our company is expanding the customer base in agriculture sector.”

 Nakoma said the company also took advantage of the Fair to enlighten farmers and other stakeholders on what the company does. 

AHCX is a marketplace where buyers and sellers can transact trade of commodities with an assurance on quality, delivery and payment. The exchange is committed to ensure that the market is assisted with a modern market institution that brings in much needed integrity, by providing a guaranteed mechanism, for the quality, quantity and payments. Further it makes the market efficient, by introducing standardized contracts and trading systems. AHCX is a fully electronic market, bringing in transparency and empowering the farmers by disseminating market information in real time to all market players; and at a later stage, the exchange will provide the market with options for risk management by offering future trading. 

Individual farmers from across the country also attended the fair. One of the farmers from Dedza, Sofina Banda said she learnt a lot of agricultural skills from the fair which she will use back home. 

“This agricultural fair has been beneficial to me because I have gained more knowledge on how I can improve and maximize profits in my agricultural activities,” she said.

Speaking when he opened the Fair, President of the Republic of Malawi, Peter Mutharika, said the agriculture sector needs more investors for it to get back into action. He said government recognizes the important roles which the private sector and civil society organisations play in agriculture sector. Mutharika also urged commercial banks to come up with tailor-made products that support agriculture.

“Banks should now reposition themselves to support the entire value chain beyond agri-business. When we make our farmers prosper, everyone, including banks, will prosper.