The Malawi oil seeds online platform has now gone live to consolidate efforts aimed at promoting the production and marketing of oil seeds.
The Government of Malawi identified oil seed crops as a key area for potential growth in the National Export Strategy (Nes).
Currently, the running costs for the data base are being covered by African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) and contributions from other stakeholders including Royal Norwegian Embassy, UK Department for International Development and Irish Aid.
It is being envisaged that in the long run, as the platform grows, the private sector will be incorporated into the data base and the platform will be used as to market and advertise products and services.
AICC Chief Executive Officer, Felix Lombe, said the platform provides information on projects that are offering extension services in different districts and extension planning areas within the districts.
“It also provides information for the four main oil seeds; cotton, groundnuts, sunflower and soybeans. “The platform further highlights the key extension services that are offered for all the target crops,” he said.
Extension coverage for the four main oil seeds is essential to the success of the oil seeds component in the NES. But, according to Lombe, a lot of gaps exist in the delivery of extension services for oil seeds.
“Although oil seeds are considered as part of the export drive, four crops, namely cotton, groundnuts, soya and sunflower were selected for particular focus. One of the specific enablers in the NES is affordable access to business development services. Extension has been identified as one of the key business development services,” Lombe said.
AICC is handling the technical aspect of the implementation with support from the Legume Development Trust (LDT).
The platform is expected to be sustained with membership fees realised from the LDT.