Catholic Bishops under the banner, Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) have underscored the need for Malawians to utilize the available natural resources by investing in agricultural activities.
This will be achieved through a huge project dubbed Agriculture Initiative Survey (IPS) which will be funded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) through the Pontifical Mission Society (PMS), Malawi office.
Speaking in Lilongwe early this week, during a workshop on Agricultural Initiative organized by the PMS office, ECM Chairman, His Grace Thomas Msusa said the Church has to be serious in implementing agricultural initiatives as a way of helping the country achieve food security and socio-economic development.
Bishop Msusa said the ECM has for several times through Pastoral Letters challenged the government to invest in agricultural initiatives like the green bird initiatives and yet the church was under utilizing the opportunity to attain food security in Malawi adding that, it is against this background that the Catholic Church in Malawi intends to demonstrate and act by practicing serious agricultural initiatives through the support of USCCB.
“You know with issues of lack of adequate food among our Christians, Bishops are normally busy seeking for funds outside the country to support those affected. Our duty is to preach the word of God hence the reason we would like to see dioceses help the Laity to be self-sustainable and food secure.” He said.
USCCB’s National Director Fr. Andrew Small presented to all Catholic Bishops in Malawi, members of stuff ECM’s relief and development arm drawn from all the eight dioceses and, heads of Catholic institutions like formation houses and the Catholic University of Malawi the great idea that would increase food security in the Country.
Fr. Small said that, The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) agricultural Initiatives implemented through PMS national office with the help of USCCB is a success story as it is said to be a shining example of the project for dioceses and institutions that are now producing and exporting various agricultural commodities.
He also mentioned that, some Kenyan Catholic institutions are into livestock production and are producing milk that is supplied in various supper market and some are able to run big farms which are also bringing in a lot of money hence realization of financial stability.
USCCB which facilitates grants to conferences like ECM for purchase of land, farming equipment like pumping machines, planting machines and construction, has challenged dioceses including the Catholic Secretariat of the ECM, and other Church institutions to identify their areas of interest and apply for the loans to start agri-business for financial sustainability.
An entrepreneurship aspect has been incorporated in the initiative to encourage the church in Malawi to attain economic independence while helping the country achieve food security and to have positive social impacts on its people.
The initiative is also set to train implementers of the project in business administration, accounting and consumer behaviors disciplines so that they become equipped with various skills that are necessary for the success of the initiative.
BY: PRINCE HENDERSON