07:53 pm - Monday 19 November 2018

Effects of structural adjustment programme on Agriculture

By Amalawi - Fri Aug 01, 9:49 am

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Lilongwe, Malawi: The Structural Adjustment Program which took place in the Agricultural sector had adverse effects in the subsectors of extension, research and marketing and this has been blamed for contributing to the slow development of agriculture in the country in the last 50 years.

This came to light during the ‘Malawi Agriculture at 50 conference’ in Lilongwe which has been organized by the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), with the aim of taking stock of the strides the country has made in agriculture in the last 50 years of self-rule.

According to CISANET Board Chairperson Willie Kalumula some of the changes that have taken place in the agriculture sector in the last 50 years have had a negative impact in the industry although they were done with good intentions.

“The period starting from 1980 was a period of extreme changes that took place under the Structural Adjustment Programme. Though as civil society we very much appreciate the good intentions of these structural changes but we feel the manner and the pace in which they were done caused more structural damage than expected,” said Kalumula.

The Board Chairman said though some changes are being reversed like the setting of minimum prices on crops and input subsidies, the subsectors of research, extension and marketing have not fully recovered from the shock they suffered.

“We feel much more needs to be done to fully protect our farmers from the harsh realities of the agriculture sector value chains. We have an opportunity today to look back at how we have fared in the past 50 years and also as we look forward to the next 50 years,” he said.

Kalumula also emphasized on the need for the country’s agriculture sector to have a clear vision for the next 50 years upon which all the policies and programmes of government and other sector players will be based upon.

He said as CISANET they are also backing the idea that was being pursued by proposing the establishment of an agriculture transformation authority that will provide back up to the ministry of agriculture in as far as policy, research and development is concerned.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Allan Chiyembekeza, who officially opened the conference, said as government they greatly appreciate the support they receive as a ministry from non state actors.

“We acknowledge the massive investment from the NGOs in the different subsectors of agriculture that has greatly contributed to the realization of the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAP). I believe that if we continue working together we can achieve more during a short period,” said Dr Chiyembekeza.

Farming  in Malawi

Farming in Malawi

The Minister said the current state of agriculture in the country is not something we should be proud of as things could have been different had other things been conducted in a different way.

“Despite the heavy investments that have been done in agriculture development over the last 50 years, Malawi still remain a country that has a good part of its population with missing food entitlements. This is unacceptable,” said the Minister.

He also announced that his ministry is in the process of developing a National Agriculture Policy and is expected to be ready by 2015 to be the coherent policy for the agriculture sector which many players in the sector has said is long overdue.

The two days long conference has attracted speakers from both home and abroad which will make their contributions in the areas of smallholder agriculture development, democracy and food security and rethinking agriculture extension in the next 50 years among other topics.

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