At a time the Japanese government has, in a thinly veiled ridicule, hailed Malawi for embracing the One Village One Product (OVOP), Economics Association of Malawi (ECAMA) president Henery Kachaje has questioned the project’s benefit to the country.
OVOP originated from Oita Prefecture in Japan and government has been borrowing billions of money from the Export and Import Bank of India just to finance the concept which has seriously failed to produce desirable results.
For example, on 14th May, 2008 Malawi government borrowed $30,000,000 to finance supply of irrigation, storage, tobacco threshing plant and OVOP project. And on 1st February, 2011 $50,000,000
was borrowed for the purpose of Cotton Processing Facilities, Green Belt Initiative, and OVOP.
The failure to bearable desirable and transform poor Malawians’ lives forced Kachaje to question government’s decision and appetite to continue financing projects like OVOP.
“What exactly is OVOP doing with all these loans?” wondered Kachaje through a post on his Facebook page.
“How much did we harvest this year from irrigated land under the GBI? Tobacco threshing plant? Cotton processing facilities? Where can we see these?”
Kachaje has since called on poor Malawians to stand up and hold government accountable for the borrowed loans.
“Can we, as citizens demand an audit of these loans? Surely we must, we are the ones to repay. Unless of course if we don’t care”.
Last week Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Shuichiro Nishioka hailed Malawi for embracing OVOP, saying such concept has contributed to socio-economic empowerment and poverty reduction of local communities.
OVOP concept focuses on mobilizing farmers into cooperatives for value addition of various
products available in a particular area.