Full Speech Of Mutharika’ Meeting With President, Delegation From International Fund For Agri-Development
I am pleased to welcome you Mr. President and your delegation to Malawi, especially to Kamuzu Palace. It is indeed my great pleasure to host you. Your visit comes a week after another high level visit from the World Bank.
Your visit is important to us as a country. The International Fund for Agricultural Development is an institution that plays a critical role in our Development process, through various projects and programmes that aim at reducing food insecurity and improving the livelihoods of rural poor people. We are, therefore, grateful that you took time to visit this country to hear from us and to appreciate our circumstances.
Your support has ensured that poor rural households who engaged in agriculture, livestock and fish production, are promoted in the increasingly competitive and liberalized economy. We are enhancing agricultural productivity and improving rural food security through simple, affordable technologies, which help smallholder farmers bridge the gap between actual and possible food-crop yields. Further, we are enhancing the resilience of our rural communities to food insecurity and the adverse effects of climate.
Mr. President, as you might be aware, Malawi has gone through two consecutive years of bad weather and poor agricultural output. This has caused hunger for our people, and a slowdown in economic growth. An estimated 6.7 million Malawians have been receiving humanitarian food aid since July last year.
We are thankful that IFAD is very supportive by coming up with long-term support that will assist in building resilience amongst the rural poor, and making our country food secure in the near future.
My Government, therefore, strongly believes that the Programme for Rural Irrigation Development, which we have recently signed with IFAD, will complement other on-going irrigation programmes such as the Shire Valley Transformation Project, to address the food insecurity challenge.
Mr. President, my Government has recently launched a National Irrigation Policy and a National Agricultural Policy in pursuit of breaking the cycle to food insecurity and improving productivity. Our next step is to align agricultural production with marketing and trade policies, in order to promote private sector investments in the agricultural sector. The reform process is already underway.
We realize that the reform task before us is enormous. In some cases, it requires substantial investments. In other instances, it requires tough decisions. This, however, is a path that my Government has chosen to walk, in the interest of the country. It is my hope that IFAD will partner with us in realising our dream and ambition.
One of the major challenges facing the rural poor is access to finance. I am therefore very pleased to note that IFAD has allocated US$ 42.3 million to support a project called Financial Advancement for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises. I wish to assure you, Mr. President, that my Government will make all efforts to ensure that implementation of this project starts in 2018.
I am aware, Mr. President, that the IFAD Country Strategic Opportunity Programme for Malawi covering the period between 2016 and 2022, has two funding cycles. It is my expectation that Malawi will be allocated a substantial amount of resources in the next IFAD funding cycle running from 2019 to 2021, in keeping with our level of needs.
Furthermore, I hope that such money will be allocated to address our constraints to food security and improved rural livelihoods. The country requires catalytic interventions for socio-economic development, in addition to climate change mitigation and adaptation investments. To this end, it is my expectation that IFAD will endeavour to closely engage the relevant agencies in my Government in identifying any new interventions going forward.
Finally, I wish to once again thank the IFAD for all the support you are providing to Malawi. You are a trusted and supportive partner for Malawi.
Thank you for your visit, and thank you for your attention.