In December, joining members of civil society, the private sector, donor organizations and other Government of Malawi officials, Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. James Munthali, presided over the country’s official launch of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Malawi is one of ten African countries that have joined the New Alliance since it was announced by President Obama in 2012.
The launch event was held at Afri-Nut’s groundnut sorting and processing facility in Lilongwe. Afri-Nut is one of 23 companies that submitted Letters of Intent to invest in Malawi’s agriculture sector as part of their participation in the New Alliance. Many of these companies hosted exhibitions at the launch event, including Seed Co, the National Association of Smallholder Farmers of Malawi, Malawi Mangoes, Bio Energy Resources Limited, Ex Agris Africa, Dairiboard, Universal Industries and Rab Processors. These companies represent investments throughout Malawi’s agricultural value chain, from seed production to food processing.
In total, private sector companies have pledged more than $150 million in investments as part of Malawi’s New Alliance Cooperation Framework. This sum is in addition to $495 million pledged by development partners to support agriculture and food security in Malawi over the next three years.
Following the launch, private sector leaders joined senior Government of Malawi officials from a broad range of Ministries for a Public-Private Dialogue to advance commitments under the New Alliance. The Government of Malawi has pledged to move forward on 35 policy actions that will improve food security facilitate growth in Malawi’s agriculture sector. Some of these actions have already progressed, such as the removal of export bans for all crops except maize and rice as well as proposed revisions to Malawi’s Seed Act, which will align the country’s seed regulations with the Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
As part of the dialogue, private sector participants presented case studies with recommendations for policy action around the priority areas of land and water, greater availability of certified seeds, and improved terms for agricultural finance.
As outlined by President Obama at the 2012 G-8 Summit, the New Alliance aims to accelerate responsible investment in African agriculture and lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2022. Benin, Malawi, Nigeria and Senegal all launched Cooperation Frameworks under the New Alliance over the course of 2013.