Stakeholders in Malawi’s agriculture sector, including government representatives and private players gathered in the country’s capital, Lilongwe, to launch the Malawi Agribusiness Dealroom.
Organized by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Malawi Investment and Trade Center, the Malawi Agribusiness Dealroom will provide a platform for players in the country’s agriculture sector to collate their business proposals for presentation at the AGRF Summit, which takes place in Kigali, Rwanda from September 6 – 9, 2022.
The launch was attended by Malawi’s agriculture minister, Honorable Lobin Lowe MP who was guest of honor, and H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and current Board Chair of the alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and AGRF Partners Group.
Hon. Lowe, noted that despite the unprecedented challenges that Malawi’s agriculture sector is facing – including the Covid pandemic and climate change – there were numerous opportunities for investment in the country. He invited investors of all capacities to the sector, with the promise of adequate support from his ministry.
“My ministry is championing several policy reforms all meant to create a conducive environment for the business of agriculture. The ministry is also implementing the Affordable Inputs Program which will ensure that smallholder farmers access inputs to increase productivity,” he said.
The minister also presented the preliminary design of his government’s “Mega-Farms” concept, for which investment is now open. The project is an initiative of President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, who seeks to introduce mega farms across the country to lead the agricultural commercialization plans for making his country food secure.
The Mega Farms are envisioned as large-scale farms run as a collaboration between private investors and the government to produce critical agricultural products, but to also serve as centers of excellence for agronomy and innovation, and providing outreach services to communities around them.
Dessalegn commended President Lazarus Chakwera’s leadership in the commitment to the country’s agricultural transformation agenda as well as articulation of Malawi’s food system pathways in line with the country’s Malawi 2030 Agenda evident in the appointment of the Minister of Agriculture to be the national convener and champion for food systems transformation.
In addition, the Board Chair reiterated AGRA’s commitment towards supporting food systems transformation interventions, while highlighting the multifaceted challenges facing Africa and indeed Malawi that require systematic approaches, hence, the emphasis on food systems approaches with the theme of this year’s AGRF Summit, ‘Bold Actions for Resilient Food Systems.’
“‘There is an opportunity to reflect on the coordinated and bold action by leaders, institutions, investors, coalitions and individuals towards translating our commitments highlighted in our different strategies to action and progress on the ground,’ he said.
The 158 guests (65 physical, and 93 virtual) at the launch agreed that Malawi is ripe with numerous opportunities that require bold and coordinated action. With a population of over 20 million and sitting on 3.6m Hectares of arable land, Lake Malawi that stretches across most of the country, Malawi has enormous potential to feed itself and Africa (World Bank, 2018).