Early this year, Standard Bank Malawi hosted Malawi’s first-ever Socio-Economic Development Forum in partnership with the country’s government and UNICEF. Under the theme Youth Entrepreneurship: Creating Opportunities to Build Mother Malawi, delegates focused on solutions that would meet the needs of a growing, youthful population while simultaneously boosting the economy.
The forum was well attended, with various experts asked to speak, one of them being the respected Dr Joseph Shevel, President of the Galilee International Management Institute in Israel. His presentation centred on Israeli-developed techniques that are currently being implemented in Malawi through incubators that train young people to develop the agricultural sector, thus reducing youth unemployment.
Dr Shevel’s presence at the Standard Bank forum linked to a Malawi-Israel partnership that goes back three years: in 2014, the Israeli government introduced drip irrigation to the sub-Saharan country at the National Resources College in Lilongwe. During the event, Gil Haskel, former Ambassador of Israel to Malawi, stressed that the technology would transform the country’s ability to control its agricultural production in a manner that could end food insecurity, allowing Malawians to “grow more with less” and thus build a better future.
Then-President Dr Joyce Banda noted that drip-irrigation technology offers a number of advantages: it’s less labour-intensive than the current methods of farming used in the country, therefore making it a good option for lone farmers and women; it allows farmers to only irrigate where needed, thus using much less water than other systems; it can also be used to distribute fertiliser; and Malawians will be able to have food throughout the year, as they will no longer be beholden to their country’s rainy seasons.Credit: www.agrostudies.com
The drip-irrigation incubators are being implemented as part of a three-year government plan to reduce poverty and hunger through sustainable agricultural practices and water management. But besides being provided with the technology, a few Malawian students are also selected each year to study modern agrostudies in Israel. Two graduates of the course, Kareem Longwe and Peter Chimangeni, went on to develop an organisation, once back home, that offers training in modern farming practices, and are also working on modifying drip irrigation to suit Malawi’s environment.
“I returned home from Israel Agrostudies [in 2014] and have passionately shared the knowledge I gained,” says Kareem. “With my friend, we’re implementing a number of projects to help our country.”