By Anjoya Mwanza
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha has asked donors and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to be transparent and accountable with funds meant for uplifting farmers.
He observed that various stakeholders are receiving funds aimed at reducing hunger and malnutrition but lamented that large amounts of such funds are used for other expenses that have no direct impact on the farmer.
Mwanamvekha said this on Tuesday during this year’s World Food Day (WFD) commemoration at Mphonde Extension Planning Area (EPA) in Nkhotakota which was celebrated under the theme, ‘Our actions are our future: a zero hunger world by 2030 is possible’.
“It is pleasing to note that a lot of organisations are pumping more into agriculture industry. It is pity to realise that the huge sums of money are spent on administration, mobility, seminars and allowances but the real farmer benefits little or nothing from the donation cup.
“This is the Ministry’s humble request to donors, NGOs and all stakeholders to emphasize on issues of accountability and transparency so that we achieve our goal together,” the Minister pleaded.
Mwanamvekha said that government is committed to eliminate hunger in the country in the next 12 years to come.
“Government has increased the number of Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) beneficiaries from 900, 000 last year to one million this year. We are currently distributing maize to vulnerable families throughout the country, all these efforts are aimed at helping the population have more food on the table,” he said.
The Minister asked people to respond to the initiatives by protecting environment to reduce disasters and other negative impacts of climate change to harvest enough for consumption and business.
Mwanamvekha promised the farmers that government would help to link them up with donors who would help them with new farming technologies and marketing skills which include adding value to their produce.
Both World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) country representatives Benoit Thiry and James Okoth said their organisations are committed to curb hunger by 2030.
While appreciating government’s effort in ending hunger, Okoth said the country needs to have meaningful approach to extension services, input delivery and marketing.
“If the resources are coming in the name of the farmer then each one of us should be transparent to the last dollar we receive from our donor. As stakeholders, we should work closely with the government so that it appreciates what we are doing.
“To achieve a zero hunger environment, we need to appropriate legal instruments in place that enable stakeholders to bring different cooperative advantages. In our case, we have national agriculture policy, national aquaculture investment plan and national nutritional stakeholder policy that strive to help stakeholders being accountable,” he said.
Okoth said people should put up concerted efforts if the dream of eliminating hunger is to become a reality.
WFD and African Day for Food are celebrated on October 16 and 30 respectively every year.
Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO), European Union (EU) and Catholic Health Commission were some of the organisations that sponsored this year’s event.