Stakeholders urge government to invest more in agriculture

Blantyre, Stakeholders in the finance sector have urged government to consider investing more in agriculture by allocating more resources towards its agriculture budgets to improve the country’s socio economic growth.

The plea was made on Monday in Blantyre during a pre-budget consultative meeting organised by Ministry of Finance when they were making their key presentations as regards to what needs to be done to improve the budget.

The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chancellor Kaferapanjira emphasised that agriculture and manufacturing is the way to go for the country to develop.

“Through agriculture, you have industries. You cannot export anything of meaningful value if you don’t process your products.We have been exporting tobacco for a long time and recently we have been exporting a few other crops as well but we are exporting these crops raw and the value keeps fluctuating all the time,” he said.

Kaferapanjira said the goodness with agricultural is that a lot of people are involved in the sector, hence prioritising it means involving everybody within an economy thereby everybody develops together unlike other industries where most Malawians would be left out.

Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi Chairperson of Taxation Committee, Andrew Chioko suggested that it would be ideal to completely wipe out the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) and instead use the money towards the Green Belt Initiative which will help the country produce more crops that can also be exported to foreign countries.

University of Malawi (UNIMA)’s Professor of Finance and Corporate Strategy, James Kamwachale Khomba said that through irrigation and commercialisation as well as industrialisation of agriculture, the country stands to achieve more.

Economics Association of Malawi (ECAMA), President Henry Kachaje said apart from the Green Belt Initiative, government should consider financing the provision of proper food storages so as to keep Malawi’s food stocks for longer periods.

“With the current scenario where ADMARC said that it will sell its maize to other countries, we could have kept this maize and use it when we need it instead of exporting it,” he observed.

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA