Agriculture Investment Conference set to lure Malawian emerging mega farmers to invest in commercial farming

Potential mega banana farming by Golden Valley Farm in Lilongwe
Maravi Express | 7 April 2024 

Agriculture Investment Conference set to lure Malawian emerging mega farmers to invest in commercial farming

By Duncan Mlanjira

The Agriculture Investment Conference, which the government has organised at Bingu International Convention Centre from April 15-20 is, among others strategies, set to lure Malawian emerging mega farmers to invest in commercial farming by introducing them to various profitable agricultural value chains and the respective off-taker markets.

It is also to introduce farmers to various modern agricultural technologies for improved and efficient farm operations for maximum productivity and to invite individuals and companies to invest in agricultural production resources, services and technologies 

The conference will also facilitate fostering of co-investment opportunities between Malawian owners of under-utilized farmland and others with the potential to invest in commercial farming.

A communique from the Alfred Mwenifumbo, lead for Ministry of Agriculture’s Mega Farm Support Unit, says this is in line with the agriculture, tourism and mining (ATM) strategy which was conceived by President Lazarus Chakwera with the objective towards achieving food security, stimulate job creation.

Thus the government is hosting the first-ever ATM Promotion Week, which will feature the Agriculture Investment Conference, an International Tourism Expo and a Mining Investment Forum.

The communique quotes President Chakwera as saying: “…by prioritizing and coordinating efforts to boost productivity in these pivotal sectors, substantial economic growth can be catalysed. This targeted approach is crucial for achieving the vital objectives of food security, job creation, and wealth generation.”

The ATM Conference week will kick start on Monday April 15 with the opening of the tobacco auction market at Chinkhoma in Kasungu with a call on mega farmers to consider investing in the tobacco industry — especially in view of the renewed large Chinese tobacco market. 

On Tuesday April 16, Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale will launch a special maize harvesting program of the 200 maize mega farms that were supported by the Ministry’s Mega Farm Support Unit with inputs and labour.

He is expected to inaugurate the programme by witnessing the operation of a combined harvester in the field of one of the maize mega farms at Malingunde in Lilongwe.

“The arrangement is that all the 200 maize mega farms will be harvested using combined harvesters and the maize treated by drying and stored at the nearest ADMARC warehouses before delivery to National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA),” says the statement.

And on April 17 the Minister will lead a delegation of international investors and stakeholders to Pyxus’ groundnut mega farms in Kasungu and Dowa as part of a specially organized three-day programme that will bring into Malawi international delegates specifically focussing on the promotion of the groundnuts industry. 

The event is showcase Malawi’s emerging groundnut sector and business opportunities in the value chain and Its key objectives include exhibiting the investments throughout the value chain that would enable Malawi to produce high-quality, low-price groundnuts for the international and regional markets.

It is also to raise awareness among Malawian farmers of opportunities in groundnut; and provide opportunities for networking among key value chain players as well as act as a platform to launch a groundnut industry community in the country and to galvanize commitment to improving the enabling environment for the industry.

After winding up the Malawi 2024 Groundnut International Tour at BICC on April 18, the delegates will attend a special day-long Groundnut Industry Promotion Forum that will be graced by Agriculture Minister Kawale and and his counterpart at Trade, Sosten Gwengwe — while on the next day, President Chakwera will officially open the Agriculture Investment Conference.

“This national event will be participated by various agricultural sector stakeholders including mega farmers and farm production service providers apart from other local and international dignitaries.

“This will be followed, in the afternoon, by the agricultural investment stakeholders’ exhibition ‘Indaba’ in the outdoor pavilions for networking and deal making for the farmers and service providers.”

The exhibition, according to the Ministry, will continue till April 20, that will include the promotion of various priority value chains and their respective production resources, services, technologies and off-taker markets.

Value added chain for macadamia nuts

Meanwhile, the Mining Investment Forum — to be held under the theme; ‘Transforming the Nation through Sustainable Mineral Extraction’ — underpins the importance of the mining sector to the national development agenda as outlined in the MW2063 national vision and further expounded through the(ATM) strategy. A statement from Secretary for Mining, Dr. J. Mkandawire says the event has been organized in partnership with the private sector, development partners and other stakeholders to showcase and promote Malawi’s mining sector.

It is set to serve as a platform for multi-stakeholder engagement, bringing together government representatives, development partners, mining companies, artisanal and small-scale mining operators, financial institutions, civil society organizations, academia and various service providers.

“Through constructive discussions, informative showcases and networking opportunities, participants will explore strategies and solutions that accelerate the growth of the mining sector,” Mkandawire said, highlighting that focus will in the areas of institutional strengthening; investing in growth; unlocking trade; harnessing Local knowledge & skills; and fostering sustainability & inclusivity.

The Forum is expected to attract over 300 participants from African countries and beyond and the Ministry of Mining thus urged all stakeholders to join it on the journey “to unlock the full potential of Malawi’s mining sector and contribute to Malawi’s path to sustainable development and economic growth”.
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