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Statement by Dr. Andrew T. Daudi, Secretary For Agriculture And Food Security, on the occasion of the thirty-third session of IFAD's Governing Council

Madam Chair
Distinguished Governors
Your Excellencies
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to extend our deep condolence message to the people of Haiti on behalf of the Government of Malawi. Our government has donated some 200 metric tones of rice to the people of Haiti in order to show our solidarity with the plight of our brothers and sisters.

Madam Chair,

I want to join my colleagues in congratulating you for being elected to this position. I wish to pledge our support to ensure that you guide our organization towards achieving the ultimate goal of eradicating hunger and poverty among the rural poor.

I want at this stage to recognize IFAD's investment on rural development in Malawi. Over US$109 million has been provided to Malawi in nine rural livelihood development programmes. We have registered considerable gains in poverty eradication especially with small scale irrigation programmes.

Our experience in Malawi is that it is possible to eradicate hunger. Malawi has been food secure since 2005 immediately after the Government improved farmers' access to farm inputs through a Farm Input Subsidy Programme which targeted vulnerable members of the community including poor farmers.

Our State President, who has recently been elected the African Union Chairperson, has urged African Governments to eradicate hunger within 5 years. Madam Chair, we see great opportunities in this challenge because of our experience in Malawi. We urge IFAD to focus its investment in Africa in our President's dream of a grand Green Belt Initiative for Africa. This would entail harnessing the abundant water bodies of Africa for Irrigation Agriculture. Irrigation would triple annual cereal crop yield in Africa in addition to legume and vegetable production.

In addition, farmers' access to farm inputs should be enhanced through targeted farm input subsidies for vulnerable members of the society. There should also be intensification of extension and technology development programmes to target small-scale farmers.

In order to adapt and mitigate to climate change, we see great opportunities in macro and micro crop weather insurance scheme Malawi is already pioneering this initiative for the second season. We urge IFAD to invest in these programmes in Africa and indeed in our country.

In conclusion, we urge all IFAD African Member States to increase investment in Agriculture to above 10 percent of the national budget. Malawi's allocation to agriculture is already at 14%. This will enhance commitment to the African Union Chairperson's vision of making Africa a hunger free continent in the next five years. This is an ideal we should all aspire to achieve.

I thank you for listening

18 February 2010