Friday, July 12, 2024

Love to revolutinise Malawi Agriculture from Jerusalem as Israel commits to train youth

There is one interesting line in Skeffa Chimoto’s song titled Chiyambi: “anaphunzira za agriculture koma olo nkhuku imodzi alibe, anthuni pakadafunda padajiwitsa galu”. This particular line sounds like a mockery of sort, yet it is a loaded sentiment addressing an extremely important scenario.

That Malawi’s economic mainstay is agriculture is simply a brutal truth. We don’t exploit oil. We don’t exploit minerals – at least to the scale of translating into a critical GDP contributor. Agriculture remains indispensable in that regard!

Sad thing, however, is that while agriculture has helped the country for such many years as we can count our self-rule, the country has, over the years, not done much to help agriculture.

Yes, the country took a dedicated step of establishing a whole college of Bunda (now an independent and full university – Luanar) and such other colleges like Mwimba situated in Kasungu district. Nevertheless, it is feared that much of the education offered in these institutions of higher learning is more theoretical than practical.

The observation by the concerned musician, therefore, is not a lost one. Nonetheless, Malawi’s long-time friend and partner, Israel, appears to render a helping hand in exorcising this curse and build practical-oriented agriculture scholars in Malawi.

Malawi and Israel have an outstanding agreement in which the latter accepts and trains young scholars from Malawi interested in agriculture. The deal does not end at the scholarship and training. Since the deal is calculated at building practical knowledge in Malawi, the students are, after their training which is fully paid by the Israel government, given a starter-up package of US$10,000 each.

Previously, the number of students receiving this strategic scholarship was around 40. The number increased to 200 in 2022 when the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eisenhower Mkaka, negotiated the expansion of the deal.

Now, here is an interesting part, to which there are all temptations of overlooking: In a forex-depraved country, 200 graduates of the scholarship would be bringing to Malawi a total of US$2 million and that is during each program. Adding to the existing fact that agriculture is Malawi’s current major forex earner, this scenario, which is also connected to agriculture, deserve the necessary hype and any such hype given to the sector would not be a misplaced one.

While we have seen many young people who went to Israel under this strategic scholarship and returning home with no move to practice what they have learnt despite being given the necessary capital, a report concerning one beneficiary of the program is inspiring new hope.

The said former Minister of Foreign Affairs has shared on his Facebook page, a report by one Isaac Nkhata who, upon his return from Israel, invested his US$10,000 grant into maize production out of which he has yielded 1,450 bags of 50kg each. That is an awesome story which I have no doubt Skefa Chimoto would like to hear.

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