World Farmers Association President, Theo de Jager, on Monday challenged Malawi to make farming profitable to attract the youth.
De Jager was speaking in Lilongwe when he delivered a key note address during the 23rd Nasfam Annual General Meeting.
De Jager said the youth of today are attracted by profitability, hence the need to make farming attractive to them.
He said agriculture could be made profitable if farmers are getting more from farming than what they have invested.
“Nothing is more attractive than profitability. If the profits are good, the youth will be attracted. To make profits you must reduce your operating costs.
“Some years back a study was conducted asking young girls the question, would you marry a farmer? The answers we got was, yes, if he has money, if he is rich. So if the youth realise that they can get rich through farming, they would come in,” de Jager said.
He also urged Malawi to consider embracing technology in farming, saying time for doing farming the old way is over.
De Jager said Malawi could benefit more from the use of technology, including the use of drones, which could help minimise costs and make agriculture profitable.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, concurred with De Jager on the need to make farming attractive to the youth and women.
Nankhumwa said government is committed to improving agriculture which contributes about 29 percent to the GDP and 65 percent of jobs in Malawi.
He said smallholder farmers are crucial in the growth of agriculture in the country.
Nankhumwa encouraged Nasfam to continue being creative to come up with products that would help in import substitution.
During the AGM, Nasfam also unveiled a new five-year strategic plan which will guide the operations of the association in the next five years.
Nasfam Chief Executive Officer, Betty Chinyamunyamu, said smallholder farmers continue to face a number of challenges, including low productivity, poor markets and high cost of borrowing.
She said the new strategic plan would help to seek solutions to some of the challenges.
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