Lilongwe, March 17, 2022 – The Government of Malawi has taken a significant step in bolstering its agricultural sector by signing a host country agreement with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). This pivotal agreement emphasizes Malawi’s commitment to the implementation of AGRA’s programmes within its borders.
Under the terms of the agreement, AGRA will be granted diplomatic status in Malawi, following the completion of necessary legal procedures, including official gazettement. This move marks a key moment in the nation’s agricultural policy.
During the signing ceremony, Malawi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Nancy Gladys Tembo, expressed her ministry’s full support for AGRA’s endeavors. She highlighted the organization’s role in addressing critical issues such as climate change and resilience. Minister Tembo particularly noted the importance of this support in the context of tackling the challenges posed by Tropical Cyclone Ana, which has significantly impacted livelihoods in Malawi.
Minister Tembo emphasized the need for innovative solutions to address the reluctance of residents in the Lower Shire Valley to relocate to higher ground due to land ownership concerns. She proposed encouraging these individuals to move to safer areas while still utilizing their flood-prone lands for agricultural purposes, particularly irrigation. Moreover, she underscored the necessity of water harvesting for irrigation and other productive uses and highlighted the vital role of the private sector in transforming Malawi’s agricultural landscape and overall economy.
Sophie Lusungu Chitedze, AGRA’s Country Manager in Malawi, outlined AGRA’s future support strategies. These include fostering cross-ministerial collaboration and multistakeholder implementation of agricultural and food systems transformation, with a specific focus on the role of the private sector.
AGRA has been active in Malawi since 2006 and was one of the initial 11 focus countries. Its approach has evolved from implementing individual projects through local partners to facilitating a broader agricultural transformation agenda since 2017. This shift focuses on making impactful, scalable investments around government policy, strengthening state capabilities, fortifying agricultural systems, and promoting effective public-private partnerships.
Ms. Chitedze described AGRA’s role as identifying gaps in the agricultural sector and unlocking the potential for large-scale agricultural transformation through a consultative process that avoids duplication and promotes integrated approaches. This process aims to catalyze resources for scalable agriculture models.
AGRA’s efforts also extend to being a founding partner of the African Agriculture Transformation Initiative (AATI). In collaboration with partners like IFAD, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and McKinsey, AATI supports African governments in bridging the gap between their agricultural transformation strategies and their execution. This includes setting up dedicated agriculture transformation delivery units to address poverty reduction, food security, and climate resilience for smallholder farmers, aligning with Agenda 2063 and its focus on Agriculture Productivity and Commercialization.