Chakwera during the Agriculture Commercialisation conference in Lilongwe
*Two years down the line since assuming office, there seem there is no progress made
* Chakwera ordered the Ministry of Agriculture to present to him a report within 6 months on the progress made
By Duncan Mlanjira
After President Lazarus Chakwera expressed concern over delays to establish any Mega Farm two years after he assumed office, which the Tonse Alliance touted during the presidential election campaign, the Ministry of Agriculture has now flighted an advertisement inviting eligible and capable investors from the private sector to express their interest.
At the launch of a two-day conference on Agriculture Commercialisation in Lilongwe some three weeks ago, Chakwera had said he preached of the establishment of the Mega Farms, but two years down the line there seem there is no progress made and ordered the Ministry of Agriculture to present to him a report within 6 months on the progress made.
The Ministry of Agriculture has thus invites eligible and capable investors, targeting Dwambazi Estate in Nkhotakota — which has 5,000 hectares of land targeted to raise beef cattle — and Chimwamkango in Mchinji’s 5,000 hectares for growing crops.
The public invitation for expression of interest says the mega farms are for “profit and capital intensive in terms of farm equipment such as tractors, irrigation investment and warehousing”.
The initiative is set to “provide supposed services such as centre of excellence for agronomy and agribusiness technology services, farm demonstration plots and ourreach services”.
“The land will be available for a minimum of 5 years and Government will provide conducive environment for the investors,” said the advert.
Interested investors are thus asked to submit:
a. Company profiles showing the firm’s core business and organisational structure;
b. Company Registration Certificate of Incorporation;
c. Valid annual Tax Clearance Certificate;
d. Demonstrated experience in commercial farming of at least 5 years;
e. Demonstrated vast knowledge in Agriculture;
f. Bank references or audited accounts indicating adequate financial capacity to invest in mega farms; and
g. Indicate which piece of land (Estate) they are interested in.
The expressions of interest properly labeled on the outer envelope with title ‘Expression of Interest to Establish Mega Farms’ must be deposited in the tender box placed at the Procurement and Disposal Unit, Room 76, first floor at or before 14:00hrs local time on July 8, 2022 addressed to:
Internal Procurement and Disposal Committee,
Ministry of Agriculture,
P.O. Box 30134,
Capital Hill, Lilongwe 3
Further information can be obtained from:
The Deputy Director of Crops,
Ministry of Agriculture,
Second Floor, Room 9
P.O. Box 30134,
Phone: 265 1 789 417/0881 433 824
The proposals will be opened in the presence of bidders” representatives who may choose to attend on July 8 at 14:00jrs at the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters at Capital Hill, First Floor, Conference Room.
In his address to the nation on Friday, Vice-President Saulos Chilima also dwelt on the Mega Farms, saying “it is common knowledge now that the fundamentals in the economy are a cause of concern”.
“We can list a whole litany of problems and their origin but what is worthy highlighting is that we all need to rally together when the whistle in blown so that everyone gets busy by being productive in this country.
“The three pillars under MW2063 are a solid foundation for both recovery and growth. As an agrarian economy, we will not wish our agricultural sector away. The Government has embarked on an ambitious program to establish mega farms.
“This is an effort we must all applaud and rally support for. It is a venture that promises remarkable returns for our economy. Beyond mega farms, we should be thinking of cascading such investment to cooperatives which should be linked to Mega Farms as their primary markets.
“This is where agro-business processing must commence as we aim to drive industrialisation at the local level in our country’s strata and increase our export base. The potential to create jobs for our people working in, or as members of, cooperatives is also apparent in this initiative.”
Chilima maintained that the country has all the resources it needs to turn around the fortunes of this country “but we need to sober up from the excitement and anxieties of political fights; show up; and get working. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.