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International bodies pledge support to agricultural development initiatives

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

By: Arnold Namanja (Malawi News Agency) 
international organisations have pledged to support the government of Malawi in its efforts of improving the agriculture sector to reposition it as one vital aspect of the country’s economy. 
Pioneer Seed Company President Paul Schickler and George Soros Founder and Director of OSISA made the commitment to support government’s agricultural development programme in separate interviews with the Malawi News Agency after holding talks with President Joyce Banda at Waldorf Astoria International Hotel in New York on Tuesday. 
Speaking earlier, Soros said the discussion had centred on how the institution could help Malawi in ensuring good 
governance through capacity building of the judicial system. 
“We have discussed a wide range of subjects but key was the issue of food security which directly leads to good 
governance and in the end bring positive economic results,” Soros added. 
Soros said it was pleasing that the leadership had set out priorities with agriculture ranking highly on the list and that 
the foundation (Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa) would just come in to complement the initiatives. 
“The president has told us that the country has certain priorities and that agriculture in particular has been given 
prominence as something that can help in poverty reduction and subsequently contribute to improvement of the 
judicial system and legal empowerment,” Soros observed. 
Taking his turn, Schickler pointed out that agriculture remained Malawi’s single important sector which could 
contribute to the country’s social and economic improvement if it were given the necessary support. 
“From the meeting we had with the President, it has come out clearly that she (Banda) looks at agriculture to be a 
foundation for the country’s economic improvement,” Schickler said. 
Schickler assured that his organisation would ensure that creates a fertile ground where high quality crop seeds 
were available on one hand and that farmers were also empowered with requisite skills to benefit from their exploits. 
“It is a fact that we have been doing business in Malawi or sometime now and that the challenge remains to expand 
our education activities to the small – scale farmers so that they make the industry more successful,” he pledged. 
Malawi’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Steve Matenje told Mana the president’s meeting with the 
two delegations was crucial in that they bordered on key elements of hunger/poverty eradication and upholding the 
rule of law. 
“You will appreciate that hunger and poverty reduction which is also millennium development goal number one is at 
the heart of President Madam Banda’s development agenda,” Matenje noted, adding that the leadership was also 
working at improving its record on governance. 
H.E. Mrs. Joyce Banda interacts with Mr. George Soros He did not elaborate but the country had come in the limelight for its poor governance record in the previous regime. 
Matenje added that Banda’s discussion with the two institutions was also meant to harmonise activities in the 
agriculture sector by among other things that good quality seed was made available to farmers at the time they need 
it most. 
The two institutions which already have establishments in Malawi in the following respects, Pioneer Produce Limited 
deals in a wide range of products including maize seed, soya beans, sunflower in addition to exporting locally grown