Welcome to the Second Edition of NAPAS Happenings
October 22, 2018 - Author: Dr. Flora Nankhuni
Welcome to the second edition of NAPAS Happenings. Our newsletter aims at updating you with the main issues facing the agriculture sector, mainly policies and the role they play in shaping the sector. It has been five months since we produced our first issue of NAPAS Happenings and I can guarantee that this edition is even better.
A brief background for those that may be new to NAPAS; NAPAS:Malawi started in November 2014 and is part of the high-level policy reform initiatives that the Government of Malawi committed to in 2013 under the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. After four years of working with most of you, wonderful people, it’s time now for the Project to come to an end, in November 2018. It has been a wonderful and exciting journey working with all of you. In this edition therefore, I will highlight our key accomplishments in each of the three components of the Project:
1) Policy Formulation
Some of the policy documents that NAPAS: Malawi has contributed to or has facilitated develop include:
1) The National Agriculture Policy (NAP) (Malawi National Agriculture Policy)
2) The National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP) (Launch of the Malawi National Agriculture Investment Plan)
3) Value chain studies to inform development and implementation of the NAIP
a. Pigeon pea value chain study report
b. Pigeon pea value chain study policy brief
Is the Future of Malawi’s Pigeon Pea Industry at the Mercy of India?
c. Groundnut value chain study brief
Systematic Analysis of Groundnut Production, Processing and Marketing in Malawi
e. Tea value chain policy brief
f. More study reports and policy briefs are being finalized for several crops, including Coffee, Banana, Tomato, and Mango.
g. A Fish and Aquaculture value chain study will soon be conducted, at the request of the Department of Fisheries and other stakeholders.
h. Macadamia, Tea, Groundnuts, Pigeon Pea, Cassava, and Irish Potato value chain studies were also presented at the 2018 International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research Conference (ICABR) on “Disruptive Innovations, Value Chains and Rural Development,” that was held at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC, from June 12–15, 2018.
See also a blog posting on the NAPAS-ICABR presentations: NAPAS: Malawi Value Chain Studies at the World Banks’ ICABR Conference in DC
Key stakeholders are already using the results of these value chain studies to direct investments for value chain developments on their programs. For example, the World Bank Agriculture Commercialization project convened key stakeholders in Mangochi (October 3–5, 2018), to prioritize value chains that the project should consider developing. NAPAS: Malawi team members were asked to present results of their value chain studies, which were then used to rank the value chains. See blog post.
4) The National Fertilizer Policy is undergoing approval process. A background paper to inform its development was produced by the NAPAS/MSU and DARS team. See also: Making Fertilizer Use More Effective and Profitable: The Role of Complementary Interventions and video that the Project produced: Fertilizer Policy Reform in Malawi
5) The Farmer Organization Development Strategy was validated on the 6th September 2018 and a final draft is being produced. Consultations for the strategy were wide. See VIDEO - Encouraging and Strengthening Cooperatives
6) The Agriculture Sector Food and Nutrition Strategy was also internally validated by the senior management of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development in September 2018, and a final draft is being produced. See Ministry of Agriculture Directors endorse two drafts: The National Fertilizer Policy and the Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Strategy
7) Reviews of two laws in the agricultural sector: the Special Crops Act and the Agriculture General Purposes Act. The NAPAS team is facilitating reviews of these two laws. The first validation workshop was held on 27th of November 2018 at Ufulu Gardens, Lilongwe, Malawi. Eighty-six people (22 women), participated. The Director of Livestock and Animal Health Development, Dr. Patrick Chikungwa, officially opened the validation workshop, on behalf of the Secretary for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development. USAID Representative, Mr. Cullen Hughes, and the Donor Committee on Agriculture and Food Security (DCAFS) Chairperson, Beatrice Neri, also participated.
In his remarks, the Guest of honor, Dr. Chikungwa thanked the NAPAS: Malawi team for accelerating the development of some of the crucial policies and strategies including facilitating the review of the Special Crops Act. He attributed the success of the NAPAS: Malawi project to the good working relationship of the NAPAS team with Ministry directors. The Director of the SEG at the USAID Malawi mission, Mr. Hughes thanked the NAPAS Team, particularly the Chief of Party, Dr. Flora Nankhuni, for her tireless efforts in ensuring the completion of most of the New Alliance commitments. He mentioned NAPAS's role in laying the foundation for the development of the National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP), the National Fertilizer Policy (NFP), the Farmer Organization Development Strategy (FODS), the Agriculture Sector and Food Nutrition Strategy (ASFNS). He also commended the many value chain studies that NAPAS has produced to guide the prioritization of investments into the agricultural sector. Mr. Hughes mentioned that reviews of the Special Crops Act/Agriculture General Purposes Act would help resolve some of the concerns raised by different stakeholders, including that such laws created thin markets in which commodities' supply is not assured. He indicated that the implementation of the revised Acts would generate greater private sector investments in agriculture, encourage scaling up innovation, and eventually enable achievement of sustainable food security and reduced poverty and hunger.
Mr. Hughes committed that USAID would continue to support policy reforms to foster increased investment in the agricultural sector.
Some of the issues that stakeholders discussed at the validation workshop include:
a) The need to investigate more on contract farming issues in the various special crops, such as tea, coffee, and sugar.
b) The need to come up with a Crops Control Commission that overlooks contract farming arrangements for all the crops in the country.
c) The need to include other country’s experiences on contract farming.
d) The need to thoroughly analyze the Tobacco Auction Floors Act and the Tobacco Act and how they relate to the SCA. The Sugar Bill was also mentioned.
e) The need to repeal the Special Crops Act that was repealed and to understand whether the Act being deregulated means the same as the Act being repealed.
f) The review team was asked to consider repealing the SCA (if it was not already repealed) and to maintain only one Act in the Agriculture sector (the AGPA).
2. Policy Communication
These activities inform debate on agriculture and food security policy issues. Some of the NAPAS policy communication activities include:
1) Consultation and Validation Workshops for each of the policies and strategies for which NAPAS: Malawi provided lead technical expertise to develop.
2) Dissemination of value chain studies. In particular, NAPAS: Malawi participated in four key agricultural events in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mangochi and Mzuzu in September and October 2018, where a total of 740 policy briefs and documents were disseminated.
3. Capacity Strengthening
NAPAS: Malawi staff strengthens the analytical capacity of policy analysts within the Department of Agricultural Planning Services (DAPS) and other state and non-state agricultural policy institutions, mainly through hands on/on the job training. These collaborations provide objective evidence on the best policy direction to take and aims at improving the quality of discussions in agricultural policy reform processes. In the past NAPAS provided a series of journalist trainings to improve the quality of reporting on scientific agricultural research, food security and nutrition topics. See also.