Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Dr George Chaponda said this in the National Assembly when he was responding to a motion which was moved by the Member of Parliament for Nkhotakota South East on the revise policies and legislation that govern strategic national grain reserves to mandate and empower the National Food Reserve Agency – NFRA be empowered to spend part of its budgetary allocations on the contracting commercial farmers to produce irrigated winter maize in strategically selected locations in the country.
Dr Chaponda in his response said what the Member Parliament raised in the house is something that government is already doing.
“It is already in our plan of action. We have immediate, medium and long term plans. Immediate plans is the purchase of maize locally and internationally, medium term is to empower smallholder farmers at the same time opening up for the commercial sector to be involved in Agriculture,” said Chaponda adding that the idea of empowering smallholder farmers is that they can produce for their own and selling.
Chaponda added that government is on exercise of changing mindset of smallholder farmers to stop depending on rainfall farming and adopting winter farming.
“Government has put incentives to push the smallholder farmers and tell them that agriculture should be considered not only for their livelihood but commercializing agriculture as well as to grow different types of crops,” said the Minister.
Chaponda said in the new irrigation policy government is promoting involvement of private sector in agriculture.mbc