Cash strapped Malawi will get a $30 million credit from the World Bank to shore up diversification from the maize and tobacco-based production systems, and engagement in more market oriented agriculture.

This is expected to enable 200,000 smallholder farmers improve their incomes and become more food secure. Agricultural diversification will also help Malawi improve its export base which is currently mainly based on tobacco.

“Malawi’s agriculture sector is dominated by smallholder farmers. The World Bank therefore found it appropriate to respond to a government request for more funds to extend to these farmers interventions in support to agricultural diversification and productivity increase, as well as access to markets,” said Sandra Bloemenkamp, the Bank’s Country Manager for Malawi.

The credit will expand the number of farmers receiving technical advice from extension services to help them adopt innovative technologies and cropping practices to improve the productivity and resilience of the maize-based farming system.

These extension activities are also intended to enhance the results of the government financed subsidy programs through improved utilization of the inputs.

Apart from extension services, the money will also finance a new rural roads component that will improve and maintain unpaved roads to facilitate market access.

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