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Monday, May 27, 2024

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    President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has advised farmers who are benefiting from the farm equipment loan, inform of tractors to ensure they repay the same so that others may also benefit from the initiative. Similar call was extended to the Ministry of Agriculture, urging it to take an active role in monitoring all the operations related to the initiative.

    The Malawi leader made this call on Wednesday in Lilongwe at the launch of the Malawi Agricultural Mechanisation initiative.

    “Those of you participating in this initiative, if you get a chance of accessing the tractors take good care of them and also remember to service the loan so that the program can benefit others as well.

    “To the Minister of Agriculture here, you must make sure that you monitor that these tractors are being utilized in a productive manner to the benefit of our nation,” advised Chakwera while looking at the Minister of Agriculture.

    Chakwera commended Pyxus Agriculture Malawi and Phillip Morris International for proving to be beneficial partners with his government by giving local mechanised farming services to entrepreneurs. He also touted the initiative as a milestone that grants mega farmers access to modern farming equipment to help them increase profitability.

    Speaking on behalf of Phillip Moris International, one of the partners in the program, Pedro Braga, the company’s Vice President Global Technical Operations disclosed that his institution has been operating in Malawi for a long time, focusing mainly on buying tobacco from farmers. Recently, according to Braga, his company is extending its support to the education sector where it envisages to help children from elementary up to tertiary level before absorbing some of them into his company’s workforce.

    Mr. Braga was all praise of president Chakwera for playing an instrumental role in coming up with the concept of agricultural mechanization and its subsequent actualization to the extent that the initial batch of beneficiary farmers are getting tractors on loan with very soft repayment conditions.

    “Nothing would be possible without the vision of His Excellency the president of Malawi Dr. Lazarus Chakwera. Thank you for your Vision. Thank you for your support,” said Braga in an appreciative gesture.

    Taking to the podium before Braga was Mr. Temwanani Phiri, one of the first beneficiaries of the tractor loan facility. Phiri commended the state president for the initiative, emphasizing the fact that the loan conditions are just affordable to most farmers as it has a repayment period of 5 years, which is long enough for them to service the debt.

    The Managing Director of Pyxus Malawi Ronald Ngwira who was also granted a floor, requested the government to consider downward revision of some taxes on farm equipment, arguing that the move is bound to create a conducive environment for the success of the agriculture mechanisation drive.

    Another person who was given a chance to speak was Dr. Afred Mwenefumbo, Controller of Agriculture Extension Services, who, on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, assured the Malawi leader, Pyxus Agriculture Malawi and Phillip Moris International of their preparedness to provide technical support in the course of implementation of the just launched Initiative. Mwenefumbo disclosed, among others, that the Ministry has planned to train about 200 tractor operators who are expected to be absorbed by the various loan beneficiary farmers.

    On his part, before inviting president Chakwera to the podium, the Malawi Minister of Agriculture Hon Sam Dalitso Kawale highlighted some of the initiatives that are lined up to enhance agricultural productivity and commercialisation as a key pillar to Malawi’s vision of becoming an inclusively wealthy and resilient economy by 2063.

    Chakwera administration devised the Agriculture, Tourism and Mining (ATM strategy) to enhance Malawi’s economic development since these are the key sectors with potential of achieving job creation, wealth creation and food security.

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