by Felix Malamula
After operating for four decades remotely, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has finally opened its office in Malawi. The office is housed within the premises of the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s office in Lilongwe.
The launch was witnessed by four cabinet ministers, IFAD Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa and the UN Resident Coordinator.
Speaking during the launch of the office, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honorable Nancy Tembo, pledged government’s support to IFAD towards improving livelihoods of rural Malawians.
“As Government, we will ensure that we walk together with you in the implementation of various interventions that IFAD’s resources are supporting.” Said Hon. Tembo who was the Guest of Honor.
Speaking earlier, Minister of Finance applauded IFAD for the decision to have an office in Malawi describing it as a milestone that will assist in speeding up implementation of various projects the organisation is supporting in the country.
“The opening of this office is a clear sign of IFAD’s commitment in contributing immensely towards the continued improvement of the livelihoods of rural Malawians,” said Hon. Gwengwe.
On the other hand, Minister of Local Government, Honorable Richard Chimwendo Banda thanked IFAD for opening the office which he said shows clearly of the organisation’s seriousness to continue investing more in Malawi.
“In our local setting, a man shows seriousness to stay permanently at his mother-in-law’s village only when he builds a house,” said Hon. Chimwendo Banda sending the gathering into stitches of laughter.
During the same event, the Government of Malawi and IFAD officially signed letters of agreement on the additional funding amounting to 57 million United States Dollars for PRIDE and the Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprise (FARMSE).
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Sam Kawale said the additional funding will assist PRIDE in constructing three more irrigation schemes of Chipofya in Rumphi, Dambo in Dowa and Nazombe in Chiradzulu.
“PRIDE is already constructing seven irrigation schemes across the country. The additional funding will enable PRIDE construct three more irrigation schemes which will increase the number of schemes being constructed and the beneficiaries,” said Honorable Kawale.
He added: “PRIDE is committed to ensuring that more farmers have access to Irrigation farming which will make the farmers resilient to various climatic shocks.”
Visiting IFAD Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Ms. Sara Mbago Bhunu reaffirmed IFAD’s commitment to investing more resources that will assist in uplifting the lives of rural Malawians.
“For the past 42 years, IFAD has invested over 450 million United States dollars in Malawi. We pledge to continue assisting Malawi improve the livelihoods of millions of rural farmers through investments in agriculture,” said Mbago Bhunu.