Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Lobin Lowe, has disclosed that the government has embarked on serious policy reforms and infrastructure development in order to attract foreign direct investment in agriculture.
Lowe said for the one year they have been in office, the incumbent government has focused on building the foundation, which enable "the business of agriculture to take place without hindrances and much predictability to guarantee you of returns on your investment".
The minister made the sentiments at the opening of a virtual Malawi Agribusiness Deal Room during the 2021 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF).
The forum, which has been organized by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is being held under the theme: Malawi Government Investment Opportunities.
Lowe cited the enactment of the revised Control of Goods Acts, which gives investors confidence that you will not experience adhoc export bans, the review of the Seed and Fertilizer regulations harmonizing with COMESA and other regional regulations to ease access to improved seed and fertilizers, streamlined registration processes and ease of access to land for investors (Lands Act 2017).
He also mentioned trade portal-ease access to information, special economic zones- growth and development strategy, road infrastructure development as some of the policy reforms the government is pursuing to create a conducive environment for foreign direct investment in the agriculture sector.
"As I am talking, we are reviewing the National Agriculture Policy to align to our long term ambitions in Agenda 2063. And recognizing the importance of agriculture to our economy, our country is offering import duty and VAT free on importation of livestock meant for breeding, import duty, import excise and VAT free on importation of irrigation equipment," said Lowe.
He said the government is also offering exemption of duty, import excise and VAT free on importation of equipment for horticultural production, import duty, import excise and import VAT free on importation of equipment for fishing industry and duty free and VAT free importation of agricultural goods and equipment used for farming.
"I want you to listen to some investment opportunities that we are pitching while I encourage you to look at our Compendium of bankable projects for your investment. I am personally available to support you and ensure that we succeed together. I will be looking forward to hearing from you," he said.
The Malawi Trade and Investment Centre (MITC) Investment Promotion Manager, Modie Chanza, said Malawi is currently offering investment opportunities in aquaculture projects in Chipoka Fisheries, Lake Malawi Cage Farming, Rice Irrigation project and Innovative Hemp Value Chain.
Chanza challenged that being a country without a history of civil war, Malawi remains the best and most preferable country to invest in.
She therefore invited potential investors to provide their views.
AGRA Regional Head for Malawi and Mozambique, Dyborn Chibonga, has since encouraged the stakeholders to open up and provide their views on what Malawi needs to maximize investment opportunities.