* We need to understand and normalize that digital space is not exclusive to pure IT students
* But rather, it has a bigger role to play in various sectors of economy including agriculture
By Prince Justice Banda, MANA
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Director General, Daud Suleman said it is high time Malawians took advantage of the growing technology among academia to promote value added chain and create structured markets for agricultural produce in the country.
He said this on Monday when MACRA hosted a public lecture at Bunda Campus of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) to initiate value added chain in agricultural sector by embracing the use of information and communications technology (ICT).
“It is about time to enlighten the potential and possibilities of digital space to the students because the future is digital based,” Suleman said. “As a country, we need to understand and normalize that digital space is not exclusive to pure IT students but rather, it has a bigger role to play in various sectors of economy including agriculture.”
He further said innovations and digital-driven agriculture have the potential to provide much more to the country’s economy unlike traditionally driven agriculture.
“Adoption of technology in agriculture is by far a catalyst for Malawi’s economic growth and a health route in achieving our structural development goals (SDGs) as embedded in MW2063.”
“Government needs to add some steroids to facilitate adoption of technology and digital space in agriculture by creating conducive environment where more and more farmers can not only afford but also sustain their connections to the internet services.”
On his part, LUANAR Vice-Chancellor, Professor Emmanuel Kaunda saluted MACRA for the public lecture, saying it has sparked passion and motivated many students at the campus to engage themselves in the digital space for improved agricultural sector in country.
Meanwhile, MACRA has said it will honor, acknowledge and support students with innovations that strives to facilitate adoption of technology and digital space among farmers in Malawi.
CDH Investment Bank (CDHIB) also partnered with LUANAR by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with an investment worth K60 million towards three strategic initiatives for the period of three years from 2023 to 2025.
The Bank will be providing K20 million annually for the university to execute tree-planting initiatives, agri-innovation challenge and provide scholarships to at least 5 innovative, talented and unique students per year that join it from secondary schools under the LUANAR innovation scholarship program.
The first activity under the MoU was rolled out through tree planting exercise in February when CDHIB provided 6,000 tree seedlings worth K3.5 million to the University which the university channelled to the Forestry Department.
The handover in Lilongwe was spiced by a tree-planting ceremony exercise that involved the university’s students and those for Chiseka Community Day Secondary School.
At the MoU signing ceremony at Bunda campus, the Bank’s Executive Director, Beatrix Mosiwa Ndovi said the fund seeks to create value for the nation by supporting the fight against climate change for a green economy, improving access to education for talented students and further improve innovations.
She added that the funding resonates well with the bank’s core purpose which seeks to see the growth of Malawi in all sectors, adding that CDHIB is passionate about helping businesses to grow.
As such, she had said, the bank understands the impact of their contribution towards initiatives that are propelling developmental growth such as LUANAR’s tree-planting initiative to combat climate change, addressing innovative solutions to societal agriculture-related challenges and supporting education through scholarships.—Additional reporting by Maravi Express