The National Rice Development Platform (NRDP) says Malawi rice has the potential to generate more revenue for the country as its demand continues to increase both locally and internationally.
NRDP suggests that while rice should be promoted primarily as an import substitute, it should also be marketed as an export crop.
The organisation’s Chairperson, David Kamchacha, made the remarks in Lilongwe at the National Rice Stakeholders Meeting. The meeting was held to evaluate and endorse some rice schemes into hubs to boost activities in the sector.
He said some of the challenges in the rice sub-sector border on low mechanisation, variety development and limited skills among agriculturalists involved in the sector.
The African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC), the Civil Society Agriculture Network and NRDP organised the meeting to appraise stakeholders on the developments that the country is making in the sector.
The meeting which was possible with technical support from Africa Rice also gave stakeholders an opportunity to implement the National Rice Development Strategy and provided a platform through which the stakeholders would deliberate and endorse the first ever rice hubs in Malawi.
Kamchacha said if rice is to be exported, it is important that the production systems in the crop’s value chain are improved and strengthened so as to benefit all the value chain players from the smallholder farmer to the exporter.
Africa Rice Interim Representative for East and Southern Africa, Kalumuthu Senthilkumar, said Malawi has the potential to develop its rice sector as long as government and other players pump adequate resources in the sector.
Senthilkumar said Africa Rice provides trainings for young people in rice production, mechanisation and variety development.
He said the country can benefit from these areas if it joined the establishment which has a vast membership.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Parliament has to approve that the country should join Africa Rice.
AICC Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Drianna Lwanda, said if Malawi joins Africa Rice soon,it can start benefiting from the institution’s expertise.