|Support Smallholder Farmers To Achieve Food Security|
|Tuesday, 22 January 2013 11:34|
African countries will continue to face food insecurity if their governments fail to assist smallholder farmers to enhance food production on the continent, according to professor peter N. Nwanza, Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.
“The solution to food insecurity in Africa is for the leadership to vigorously support the poor farmer with the necessary tools to ensure the food sufficiency,” he said.
Professor Nwanza was speaking to the Ghanaian Times here on how the GISP had achieved in enhancing food security in Mawawi during a welcome reception in honour of Ambassador David Lane, the Head of the United Nations Food Agencies in Rome. It was hosted by the United States (US) Embassy in Malawi.
Ambassador Lane was on a tour of Tanzania and Malawi to inspect food security projects being financed by the US government through the World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He was accompanied by a team of journalists from Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda, Italy and France.
The Malawian government, he said, was implementing a Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP), where it was providing fertilizer and other farm inputs to smallholder farmers for free.
“About 1.5 million smallholder farmers are benefiting from the subsidy programme introduced in 2006 and this has tremendously enhanced agricultural development in the country,” Professor Nwanza said.
Professor Nwanza said Malawi which was food insecure about a decade ago could now produce enough to feed herself since the government introduced the FISP about seven years ago.
The Malawian government spends on the average $40 million a year on the FISP.
“Initially, when the government started with project, the country’s development partners kicked against it, but now they are supporting it because it has paid off,” he said.
The minister said because of the success the FISP had chalk in enhancing food security in Malawi, the World Bank and other development partners such as the US, United Kingdom, Norway and Finland were supporting the project.
He said the FISP was targeted at poor smallholder farmers who could not purchase fertilizer and other farm inputs.
Professor Nwansa called on African governments to invest in new agricultural technologies such as improved seeds, top become food secure.
Speaking, Ambassador Lane called for reforms to ensure that farm inputs, particularly the fertilizers, reached the poor farmers, adding that the development of agriculture to enhance food security in Africa remained a priority of the President Barack Obama’s administration.
It is against this backdrop, that the Obama administration is pursuing the “Feed the future” initiative to elp Africa grow enough food to feed her people,” he added.
The US government has voted $3.5 billion for the “Feed the future” initiative to tackle global food security.