The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) says Malawi needs about $6 billion (about K4.8 trillion) annually to realise quick agricultural transformation for economic growth.
The revelation follows the introduction and launch of the Agribusiness Deal Room on Wednesday in Lilongwe, which is Africa’s premier matchmaking platform for the coming African Green Revolution Forum for catalysing investment into African agriculture.
Speaking virtually from Kenya during the launch, Agra senior partnerships officer Valentine Miheso said the dealroom supports enterprises and governments through a combination of in-country project preparation, pipeline development, project bankability, investment promotion and discussions regarding the enabling environment for the African agribusiness sector.
He said: “When you look at the challenge of inclusive agricultural transformation in the 11 Agra countries, we have a shortfall of $72 billion annually. So, if you divide that, you will see that Malawi needs about $6 to $7 billion annual investments to bring about agricultural transformation.
“This is just one aspect, but there are issues of technology, research and development and seeds, among others.”
On his part, Malawi Agricultural and Industrial Investment Corporation (Maiic) managing director Taziona Chaponda said finance is not a constraint to investment in Malawi given the presence of Maiic, NBM Investment Bank and the Export Development Fund.
He said the major problem is the lack of technical expertise to put together tangible bankable project proposals that would convince funders to release resources.
On her part, Agra country manager Sophie Chitedze said Malawi’s economy will continue to depend on agriculture for the foreseeable future unlike her neighbours who have other priority sectors.
“We have excellent reasons for us to worry when we cannot invest as much in a sector that drives our lives,” she said.
In line with supporting the implementation of Malawi 2063 (MW2063), the country’s long-term development plan, Chitedze said Agra has focused on setting the foundations through appropriate policy reforms as well as strengthening systems in seeds, fertiliser and markets.
On her part, Ministry of Trade Principal Secretary Christina Zakeyo said Malawi has failed to penetrate regional markets or attract investment of regional appeal because of working in isolation, but government is now working to enhance partnerships to achieve more progress.
Malawi is keen to transform the agriculture sector in line with a pillar on agricultural commercialisation contained in MW2063.