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Monday, 22 October 2012

EU/Malawi cooperation to improve agricultural production

On 17 October 2012, EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, and the President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, signed two agreements that will help Malawi reach the Millennium Development Goals. The EU will contribute to a new government programme designed to strengthen agricultural productivity and expand the area under irrigation. With this programme, Malawi aims to increase its maize yield by two thirds and almost double household incomes in agriculture. This will contribute to the goal of 6% of annual growth in Malawi.
A second EU contribution will fund cash transfers to extremely poor households to help them out of poverty and hunger. It will make families more resistant to shocks like high food prices, but also improve school enrolment and health. This EU support is expected to provide benefits to a total of 83,000 households.
The EU will support two interlinked government initiatives (€63 million). On the one hand, the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp) intends to increase productivity, especially of small farmers. Among other things, it will provide maize and legume seeds at reduced prices and fight land degradation. The second initiative supports irrigation, by giving farmers better access to irrigated agriculture and by developing medium and large scale irrigation schemes. Such measures will make farmers less dependent on rain falls for growing their crops so they can move from one harvest per year to three annual cropping cycles.

Source: European Commission