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Friday, September 05, 2008

Malawi President, Bingu Wa Mutharika awarded for food security

President Bingu wa Mutharika was Thursday in
Lilongwe provided the first ever Food, Agriculture and Natural
Resources Policy Network (Fanrpan) food security policy leadership
award for reviving the fertiliser subsidy programme.

Fanrpan is a regional policy network promoting food security in
southern Africa comprising farmers, private sector, governments and
researchers to coordinate food and agriculture policy processes in the
12 Sadc countries.

The award was presented at the on-going Fanrpan conference but
Mutharika was not present to receive his prize due to an engagement he
could not postpone.

According to AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Rhoda
Tumusiime, the award was in recognition for the exceptional leadership
provided by Mutharika, especially in the agricultural input subsidy

“By taking charge of the critical Ministry of Agriculture and risking
international donor support by restoring subsidies to promote
productivity, he has set a lasting example for the southern Africa
region,” she said.

Accepting it on behalf of Mutharika, his deputy in the Ministry of
Agriculture Frank Mwenifumbo said the award was owed to the smallholder
farmers who welcomed the fertiliser subsidy programme and implemented
it according to the wishes of government.

He thanked partners in the agriculture subsidy programme such as seed
suppliers, agro-dealers, fertiliser suppliers for the assistance they
rendered to government in the programme.

He said under Mutharika’s leadership, the country had seen an increase
in food production and was now able to export maize and other crops
when it was not possible about four years ago.

Components of the prize include exchange programmes, which Corplife
International had pledged to sponsor a Malawian individual to travel to
New York and London in outreach programme; provision of agricultural
inputs and computer software and hardware.

Mutharika has been awarded for his efforts in the past four years in
increasing food productivity, market development, storage and creating
favourable pricing for cash crops.

Mwenifumbo said government had plans underway to launch a greenbelt
initiative, which would incorporate other crops such as rice, tobacco
and cotton not just maize.

He said without the policy support from Fanrpan, Malawi would not have
managed to implement its fertiliser subsidy programmes and also helped
Malawi formulate best practices for other countries to follow.

Presenting the award, Fanrpan board chair Sindiso Ngwenya said the
recognition was launched to promote policy development and
implementation that promote food security in the region.

Ngwenya said Fanrpan was convinced that southern Africa was neither
poor nor incapable of feeding itself but that it lacked fresh
initiatives, which empowered and encouraged efforts promoting food
security and policy development.

He said Mutharika deserved the award because the results, which the
country had achieved under his leadership spoke for themselves.

Ngwenya said countries in southern and east Africa were working hard to
emulate the example of Malawi to prevent themselves from bringing out
begging bowls each year.

“Fanrpan believes that more can be achieved if visionary individuals
and organisations in Africa thrive under an enabling policy
environment,” he said.

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