Government expands TRADE programme to Dowa


Government through the Directorate of Rural Development will expand TRADE programme to 4 new districts such as Mzimba, Chikwawa, Phalombe, Ntcheu and Dowa with a mandate to align to Malawi 2063 specifically Pillar 1-Agriculture Commercialization and Productivity.

TRADE –“Transforming Agriculture Through Diversification and Entrepreneurship” is a programme which falls directly under the Directorate of Rural Development, and the Ministry of Local Government, Unity and Culture is the lead agency of the TRADE Programme.

TRADE is implemented through 3 inter linked components such as support linkages between smallholder farmers and commodity actors, support investment in the enabling environment and strengthening institutional development to enhance knowledge management, capacity building of Local Government authorities and programme management.

Introducing the programme to the District executive committee (Dec) in Dowa, Director of Rural Development Chrissy Chiumya, said the programme will contribute to improved sustainable livelihoods of rural people in Malawi.

Chiumya said TRADE would expand in the third year to additional 3-4 more commodities while dropping soya beans and groundnuts to additional 3-4 new districts resulting into a geographical coverage of 14-15 districts out of a total of 28 districts in Malawi using a specific set of criteria.

She said nationwide, TRADE Programme is targeting 127,000 households and has not apportioned any particular number to the districts saying this will depend on the people who are involved in that particular commodity that is being promoted in that district.

The Director said this is an opportunity to the people of Dowa to benefit closely from TRADE Programme through its interventions saying the number of people that are engaged with the production of the commodity will determine the number of people in the district.

“This is a lot of work and will require significant collaboration from all stakeholders,” said Chiumya.

Responding to suggestions of swapping Nambuma with Chakhaza E.P.A in Dowa district, Chiumya said the Ministry of Local Government is promoting decentralization in Councils so that views from people on the ground are very important saying whatever decision made, is for the Dowa people.

Chiumya said involving the community in decision-making makes the project which is being implemented to be sustainable observing that once the project has phased out, the people on the ground would be able to continue with it.

She said the project is going to change lives of the poor people as it is targeting ultra-poor with a specific focus on youth and women and it will help farmers to get more from whatever they are doing now on productivity, production, value addition and be able to access good markets.

She expressed her sincere hope that the identified districts through their respective Council’s will embrace the opportunity and use it effectively to ensure that their people have good roads, bridges, storage facilities, farm machinery and different processing plants for their improved livelihoods.

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