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Minister hails Standard Bank efforts in Agricultural Transformation Initiative

By Leonard Masauli

Lilongwe, Mana: Minister of Agriculture, Robin Lowe has hailed Standard Bank for its commitment and financial assistance towards the promotion of agricultural transformation that will improve the country’s economy.

The minister made the remarks in Lumbadzi- Lilongwe on Thursday when Standard Bank handed over to GGL Farm two greenhouses and furniture worth K23.5 million for the farm’s training centre near Kamuzu International Airport.

The farm is managed by Inosselia and Greenbelt Authority.

Lowe said Standard Bank has demonstrated huge commitment and support towards greenhouse farming through Inosselia and Greenbelt Authority.

Inosselia Farm Country Director, Michael Gorelik (L) takes Lowe (R) to a section of the green house with tomato trees at flowering stage Pic. By Kondwani Magombo _Mana

He said the bank’s gesture would ensure production of quality products from the greenhouses and ensure that they are able to supply to local shops and as well as international market.

“We are happy to notice that with support from Standard Bank, GGL Farm has a training facility where they will be transferring knowledge and capacity to farmers drawn from the local communities and beyond so that everyone should benefit from the initiative,” said Lowe.

In her remarks, Standard Bank PLC Board Director, Margareth Chirwa said the training centre will be used for capacity building of smallholder farmers who wish to practice climate-smart agriculture.

“As Standard Bank PLC, we are committed to working with strategic partners such as Greenbelt and Inosselia in a quest to compliment government’s efforts in reducing challenges that weigh down the agricultural sector,” said Chirwa.

Happy to support local farmers – Margareth Chirwa, Standard Bank Board Director Pic. By Kondwani Magombo

According to Chirwa, green-house farming will help smallholder farmers to expand their crop variety within a small growing area and extend their growing season because they will not rely on rain water.

She said as a result, hunger will be reduced through increased production and income for small holder farmers.

The initiative is also expected to engage young people into modern farming methods that will eventually reduce food prices through increased supply on the local market.

In his remarks, Managing Director for Inosselia, Michael Gorelik, said the greenhouses produce 50 tons of vegetable commodities a week. These include tomatoes and green pepper among others.

Inosselia Farm Country Director, Michael Gorelik (C) takes Lowe (L) and PS for Agriculture, Sandram Maweru (R) around the green house Pic. By Kondwani Magombo _Mana

He said most shops in the country used to import from South Africa, but now they are all importing locally at Inosselia facility, saving forex for the country in the process.

“We have explored international markets and very soon we will be exporting to South Africa and other countries in Africa,” said Gorelik.

Greenbelt Authority and Inosselia have been producing vegetable commodities for at least two years which have been supplied to Malawi’s major super markets.

Part of the green house vegetable irrigation farming at Inosselia Farm Pic. By Kondwani Magombo _ Mana

Engage as many local farmers as possible – Lowe urges Standard Bank and Inosselia Vegetable Farm Pic. By Kondwani Magombo _ Mana

Lowe (R) appreciates tomato nursery at Inosselia green house irrigation farm in Lumbadzi, Lilongwe Pic. By Kondwani Magombo _ Mana

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