The African Development Fund, the concession window of the African Development Bank Group, has approved a $20.2 million grant to increase food production in Malawi.
It is part of the African Development Bank group African Food Factory, the project is based on existing seed and fertilizer distribution systems in Malawi. It will provide half a million farms with 2,500 tons of climate-certified grain and leguminous seeds and 70,000 tons of fertilizers. The guarantee scheme, managed by the African Fertilizer Financing Facility, will cover 300,000 farmers.
Each registered farm will receive two 50kg bags of fertilizer for top dressing and top dressing respectively, as well as 5kg of hybrid and early maturing maize, rice and sorghum seeds to choose from. For pulses, farmers will have the option of choosing a 2-kilogram bag of peanuts and beans or a 3-kilogram bag of soybeans, cowpeas and peas.
In partnership with Technologies for Africa’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda, 1,000 extension workers will be trained in climate-smart agriculture and farm data collection methodologies using new technologies. For this, 300 motorcycles will be purchased.
Three hundred electronic tablets will be distributed to data collection officers in farmers’ clubs. About 700,000 new beneficiaries will be registered in the database of the government program “Affordable funds”, which will implement the project.
Malawi has been significantly affected by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, which has led to a jump in fuel and food prices and a shortage of foreign currency. The disruption to international trade has affected both import and export prices of various commodities, including fertilizer, whose prices per bag have tripled to 90,000 kva ($75) by May 2022 from 30,000 kva ($25 ) a year ago. Other imports include wheat, fuel (pump prices are up 40%), machinery and other intermediate goods.
Agriculture plays a key role in Malawi’s economy, contributing about 30% to gross domestic product and 75% of export earnings. About 90% of crops are grown by small farmers who depend on fertilizers.