20 January 2018
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Wednesday, 10 January 2018 11:50

CCM appeal for increased budgetary allocation

Written by  Tione Andsen

Lilongwe, January 10, 2017: Cotton Council of Malawi (CCM) has appealed to the parliamentary committee on agriculture to consider lobbying for their increase of budgetary allocation from K200 million to K704 million for effective operation of the council in the country.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for CCM, Cosmas Lwanda made the appeal Wednesday to the committee during an interface meeting at Lilongwe Sunbird Capital Hotel which was facilitated by African Initiative Corporation Citizenship (AIIC).

He said CCM receives K200 million subvention on parastatal allocations annually for its operations, saying it was not adequate.

“The increased subvention to the council will not affect the budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Development. You need to consider some of our plans that we have developed for revival of the cotton industry in the country,” CCM CEO explained. 

Lwanda told the committee that, “We need to increase staffing levels to 27 so that our work should be made simple and give the best services to the cotton farmers throughout the country,”

He said CCM needs to establish visibility among its members, promote regulations and standards, hence the need for additional financial resources in order to the revamp the cotton industry in the country.

Lwanda said a step needs to be taken into consideration to establish well-structured cotton markets throughout the country and without proper financial resources this could not be done effectively.

The CEO recalled that Makoka Research Institute which was established in 1960 used to produce cotton seeds which were distributed to farmers but sadly to note the research is no longer in  operation.

“We are struggling to produce our own cotton seeds for farmers and we are depending on the seed which is being produced in neighbouring Zambia which is not of better quality than those we used to have before,” he added.

Lwanda noted that most cotton farmers in the country are being subjected to recycled cotton which does not produce better yield at the end of the day.

“We have a lot of issues which we need to consider as a council like issues of pesticides, fertilizers, sprayers, ginning and marketing in order for the cotton sector to once be recognized as a source of the country’s Domestic Growth Product (GDP),” he pointed out.

The Vice Chairperson for the Committee, Cornelius Mwalwanda appreciated the Council’s requests, saying the cotton industry could help the country to narrow the employment gap.

He said the sector needs the support of the committee for it to play a meaningful role in the country’s’ development agenda.

“I wish to recall that some few years ago, government provided K1.6 billion to the sector for its restructuring and I’m not sure as to what happened to that injection of those funds to the cotton sector,” Mwalwanda wondered.

He said as a committee, we would be interested to know what happened to the funds and what would be the way forward for the committee to push the increase budgetary allocation to the council.

Chairperson of the committee, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, said the committee needs to look critically at the issues of policy and registration for the betterment of the cotton sector.

He said that the country has an Agriculture policy and there is need to use it fully for the implementation of some plans the council has for the country.

“We will like to have more interactive sessions with different stakeholders in the agriculture sector so that members of the committee should appreciate issues on the ground before being brought to parliament for consideration,” Malunga observed.

He pointed out that the committee would support their initiatives as long as they are for the benefit of ordinary Malawians involved in the council’s projects.

Cotton is grown by about 300,000 smallholder farmers on average, covering 250,000 hectares mainly along the lake shore districts and within the shire valley escarpment.

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