President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has described the opening of the fertilizer terminal and blending plant at Liwonde as a timely intervention towards weaning smallholder farmers from the costly Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP).
Chakwera said AIP is expensive because it is largely an imports programme, and that plants like the one he opened at Liwonde will ensure that Malawians should start transitioning from it.
The President made the remarks at Liwonde on Tuesday when he inaugurated Malawi’s first-ever fertilizer terminal and blending plant.
Chakwera expressed optimism that the facility will go a long way in complementing national efforts to improve agricultural productivity and increase farmers’ access to high quality and affordable inputs.
“There are those who ask me what is our exit strategy for AIP, which we are launching this coming Saturday. My answer is that a big component of our exit strategy is building our capacity to produce fertilizer for ourselves through plants like this one,” he said.
Chakwera further stated that the launch of the fertilizer embodies the indispensable role of the private sector in facilitating Malawi’s transformation towards the Malawi 2063 Vision.
He said the opening of the plant at Liwonde is an instant response to the call for collective efforts to build an inclusively wealthy country.
“…here is a company that has responded by building a terminal that creates jobs and empowers our farmers with inputs for participating in the wealth creation that is happening in this country. We say we want to be a self-reliant country, and here is a company that has responded by building a terminal that enables us to produce inputs for ourselves instead of being dependent on other countries,” he said.
Chakwera commended the proprietors of the plant for not only aligning with the industrialization agenda of Malawi 2063, but also moving in sync with all three priorities of his administration for the next four years. These include wealth creation, job creation, and food security.
“I commend you for the strategic decision to build this along this railway that is linked to Nacala, thus vindicating my push for the revamping of our railway infrastructure and breathing oxygen into my vision to see the Liwonde Dry Port become fully functional. These moves are a win for all of us. We say we want to be an industrialized country, and here is a company that has responded by building a terminal that adds value to local raw materials through industrial processing and technology. The Malawi Fertilizer Company did not leave the task of achieving the Malawi 2063 Vision to the government alone, because that vision is for all of us to bring to fruition together,” he said.
However, the President warned the investors against using the plant to frustrate Malawi’s dream for self-industrialization.
He feared that the investors could use the terminal to import fertilizer instead of using it to produce fertilizer.
“The danger stems from the fact that it is possible to use this terminal to mix imported fertilizers in a way that makes fertilizer expensive for our farmers instead of making it cheaper,” said Chakwera.
For my part, I am pleased that my Administration is creating an enabling environment for this kind of investment to happen. I am pleased that we are creating an environment in which investors from all over the world can trust that Malawi is open for business; that Malawi is the best place to build things that last; that Malawi is a peaceful and stable economy to put your money in and trust it to be safe; that Malawi is now a place whose Government backs you, supports you, and promotes you if you make a real investment that contributes to the development of its industries and the welfare of its citizens.