President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has commended the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) for its deliberate collaboration with private sector players in actualizing the commercialisation of the Agriculture sector mainly through mega farms.
The President was speaking at the university’s Bunda College campus on Thursday when he presided over the 7th Congregation at which 514 graduands were awarded certificates, diplomas, and degrees in various academic disciplines.
The President highlighted the partnerships Luanar has created with various organizations, including Press Corporation, the Greenbelt Authority, and the Malawi Defence Force, to contribute to agricultural transformation in the nation. He assured his continued support for such initiatives.
Among its current initiatives, Luanar operates a 300-hectare farm under the Bunda Farm Limited establishment. In addition, the institution is in partnership with Illovo in the cultivation of sugarcane in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota.
President Chakwera also announced several upcoming developments to enhance education infrastructure and access, outlining plans to expand university libraries at the Bunda and NRC campuses, with the aim of increasing sitting capacity from 5,000 to 9,000. The construction of state-of-the-art Resource Centers and Lecture Theatres is set to commence in April 2024, further supporting LUANAR’s educational initiatives.
Highlighting the significance of LUANAR’s role in Malawi’s path to achieving Pillar number 1 of Malawi 2063, which centers on agricultural productivity and commercialization, the President lauded LUANAR’s involvement in the Mega Farm program, saying the university’s role serves as a knowledge hub that provides technical services to program participants.
The President also expressed satisfaction with the success of the Mega Teaching Farm at Bunda and the university’s plans for further expansion.
“We must all labor every day in unity to fulfill this desire of making Malawi a better country,” President Chakwera said.
LUANAR, renowned for its commitment to agricultural and natural resource education, stands as the third public university in Malawi, comprises two primary colleges: Bunda College of Agriculture and the Natural Resources College.
The institution has been instrumental in widening access to higher education through innovative programs such as the City Campus in Lilongwe and the Open Distance and e-Learning (ODeL) program, with centers in Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Mzuzu.
Bunda Campus, which specializes in agricultural education, hosts more than 4,000 students. The City Campus accommodates over 1,000 students, and the ODeL program has a current enrolment of more than 2,600 students. The Natural Resources College (NRC) contributes to this substantial student body with over 3,000 enrolled learners.