Over a month after he issued a directive to Ministry of Agriculture for quick implementation of mega farms, President Lazarus Chakwera is getting the results he wanted to see within six months following an invitation to interested investors to get the projects underway.
Speaking when he presided over a two-day conference on Agriculture Commercialisation three weeks ago, the President expressed concern on why it was taking forever to start implementing one of his flagship campaign promises and asked the Ministry to move with speed.
“During the campaign period one of the messages I preached was on the establishment of Mega Farms but two years down the line there seem there is no progress made on the establishment of Mega Farms. I therefore order the Ministry of Agriculture to present to me a report within 6 months on the progress made in the establishment of mega farms. Time to act on Mega Farms is now and not next year,” said Chakwera during the conference.
This week the Ministry has advertised calling for expression of interest from eligible and capable players from the private sector to participate in the establishment of the Mega Farms in the country.
In a notice of call for expression which this publication has seen in the local daily papers, the Ministry is calling on capable and eligible private sector players to express their interest to establish mega farms in two districts-Nkhotakota and Mchinji.
For Mchinji, government has made available 5000 hectares of land at Chimwamkango estate for value crops for a period of five years.
While in Nkhotakota the Ministry of Agriculture is also offering 5000 hectares of land at Dwambazi estate to be used for raising beef cattle for a period of five years.
Confirming the development Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Gracian Lungu said indeed for a start, government is offering land in the two districts.
“It’s true we have called for expression of interest for the available land in the two districts. The Ministry has finalised its paperwork on the two estates and once bids are submitted we are going to go straight into the normal bidding process to identify the eligible investors to be awarded the contracts to manage these two farms,” said Lungu.
Mega Farms are regarded as a game changer to the country’s economic fortunes which is Agro-based as they meant for profit and capital intensive in terms of farm equipment such as tractors, irrigation investment and warehousing.
The Mega Farms will also provide support services such as centre of excellence for Agronomy and Agri-business technology services, farm demonstration plots and outreach services.