Toward a National Agricultural Policy

Groundnut farmer in Khulungira Village (Photo credit: ILRI/Mann)

Groundnut farmer in Khulungira Village (Photo credit: ILRI/Mann)

This is an exciting time for agricultural policy in Malawi. The entrance of a new administration as Malawi celebrates 50 years of independence has sparked active engagement by various stakeholders on the proposed focus of agriculture policy and a vision for the country’s future.

A recent symposium organized by LUANAR and IFPRI took place that synthesized and debated evidence on the effectiveness of the FISP. Today CISANET completed a two-day conference looking at 50 years of agriculture in Malawi and moving “towards a common vision for the next 50 years”. The recently-appointed Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Dr. Allan Chiyembekeza, provided thoughtful comments and requests for clear policy suggestions at both fora.

These stakeholder discussions and debates are timely in that, as mentioned in the opening speech by the Honorable Minister, the ministry is currently in the process of drafting a National Agricultural Policy. Although previous attempts have been made, this time the ministry, with the Department of Agriculture Planning Services (DAPS) spearheading the current initiative, is committed to and confident of a quick and timely turnaround. Consultation materials have already been developed out of internal ministry discussions, which will be used to solicit input and suggestions from stakeholders. DAPS Director Mr. Alex Namaona, stated that he expected consultations to take place at the national and district levels by September 2014. The consultations will be held in collaboration with CISANET and IFPRI.