In an impressive development, the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) has made a substantial contribution to the nation’s food security. On Thursday, they officially handed over 7,459 bags of maize to the Malawi Government, showcasing their successful cultivation efforts at Gada Farms in Mchinji. Dennis Kalekeni, the Board chairperson of the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), gratefully received this maize on behalf of the government, with Erica Maganga, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, representing the MDF.
Kalekeni expressed his excitement and appreciation for this significant initiative, which began as a proposal from the Minister of Finance to allocate resources to the Malawi National Service for maize production. He emphasized that what initially seemed like a simple idea has now culminated in the transfer of this maize to the strategic reserve. This reserve is poised to provide crucial support to those in need and ensure price stability. Additionally, Kalekeni noted that this maize would be instrumental in addressing various unforeseen contingencies requiring relief assistance.
The contribution, totaling 373 metric tonnes of maize, is valued at K205 million. According to Maganga, the MDF received K109 million to fund the maize production during the 2022/23 growing season. She expressed her satisfaction in witnessing the handover of this substantial crop.
The Malawi Defence Force National Service is a recent collaboration between the MDF and the government. This initiative originated from discussions between the Treasury, the Malawi Defense Force, and the Minister of Defense, resulting in an agreement that allocated 30% of the produce to the MDF and 70% to the Minister of Finance. A budget of 108 million kwacha was allocated for this endeavor. Maganga commended the MDF for successfully producing maize on one of its farms.
Brigadier General John Chaika, the Commander for the Malawi National Service, revealed that this maize was cultivated on a 100-hectare plot of land. He expressed the intention to expand production with more resources in the future.
Notably, Malawi has made significant strides in agriculture, dedicating 63,000 hectares to irrigation and unveiling plans to mechanize farming through the One-Stop Private Sector Mega Farms initiative. This initiative aims to support 844 medium and large-scale farmers in commercial farming, with a focus on priority value chains to boost agricultural output in the country.
During the launch of this initiative, President Lazarus Chakwera emphasized its potential to drive national prosperity in collaboration with the private sector. He recognized agriculture’s pivotal role in the country’s economy, as a substantial portion of foreign exchange revenue is derived from agricultural commodities.