Former president and People's Party (PP) leader Joyce Banda has reassured local smallholder farmers that once voted into power she will exploit new export markets for their produce in a bid to give them meaningful earnings for their sweat and promised to put three million jobless Malawians on employment.
She was speaking on Monday at a rally she held in Blantyre Rural East constituency at Chapasuka ground in Lirangwe.
The former president noted that most smallholder farmers especially those who grow vegetables and fruits find it hard to sell all their produce because of lack of proper cold storage mechanisms.
"It saddens me to see tomato sellers throwing away their lot or letting it go at a loss simply because they can't maintain its market value. We have solutions and every farmer will go back home smiling," said the former leader.
JB, as she is affectionately known in political circles- recalled a time in 2014 when she got an offer from Equatorial Guinea President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, to import from Malawi fresh foods on weekly basis.
"The deal was in its final stages but lacked continuity when another administration came in. Currently they are importing these from South Africa. I promise that we will instantly introduce this market for our farmers," she said.
Also on agriculture, JB promised the gathering that her leadership will introduce universal fertilizer susbsidy for all Malawians to spur productivity and ensure food security.
Another prominent aspect in the speech was her agenda on education once she is voted as President on May 21. Banda said teachers in the country are been given a raw deal by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime.
"My government between 2012-2014 will be remembered as an administration that took great care for teachers in the country. I promoted thousands of teachers and increased perks across the board in the profession. We will continue motivating teachers when we return to Capital Hill," she said.
Other thematic areas of her 'Phase Two' agenda are Wealth Creation, Energy & Environment and Social Protection.
Banda, who governed the country between 2012 and 2014, said she is keen to create employment to the jobless , especially the youth and women, saying it is possible to create three million jobs in three years, translating to one million jobs a year.
The vision mirrors that of Vice-Presient Saulo's Chilima's pledge to create one million jobs within the first year of his administration should his UTM Party win the May elections.
Banda said people should not doubt her as she delivers what she promises.
"I launched the Kabaza [bicycle taxi] business right here at Lirangwe and today it employs [hundreds ] of people. So, why, should anyone doubt that in three years we can create three million jobs. It is possible," she said confidently.
Banda will hold another political rally on Wednesday in Traditional Authority Chitera's area in Chiradzulu district.