22 Mar, 2018

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President Mutharika shakes hands with a PhD graduand during the ceremony
His Excellency, the State President of the Republic of Malawi and Chancellor of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, has urged university graduates to use skills acquired during their studies to create jobs.

Professor Mutharika was speaking during the first session of the 2nd congregation for the LUANAR at Bingu International Convention Centre-BICC in Lilongwe.

The Chancellor urged the graduates to strive to be employers as opposed to being employees. He said his government will ensure that the youth with skills are given loans to start up their own businesses.

“I urge you to use the knowledge and skills that you have acquired to start your own businesses and create jobs for others. Strive to employ yourselfand others more than wishing to be employed by someone. Remember, there is always a first time for doing anything,” said the President.

He said through Jobs for the Youth Program (J4Y) funded by the African Development Bank, the government, through the Ministry Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, is arranging to provide loans for the skilled young people to start their own businesses citing agro processing as one of the business they can venture into.

President Mutharika also spoke of the need to change the country into a producing and exporting country from its current state of being a predominant importing and consuming country.

For this to happen, President Mutharika said there is need to make Malawi a productive, competitive and resilient nation through the recently launched Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III.

He said the first step to achieving this is through proper management of agriculture, water development and climate change.

Professor Mutharika then said LUANAR has a critical role to play in this agenda. The Chancellor also reminded the graduates to take farming as a business, saying there is need for a mindset change for this to happen.

“One of the problems we have in this country is that most people think farming is not for educated people. We think farming is for those who cannot get jobs in the office. This is a completely wrong mindset. Let us recognise the dignity of farming. We must promote the dignity of farming. He further said that as a nation we must change our mindset to recognise the prestige of being a farmer. We must be proud to take up farming as a profession. We don’t train farmers to be in the office. We must train farmers to be on the farm,” said the Malawi leader.

The Malawi leader advised the graduates about industry life and what the society expects from them. He said an educated person must find the purpose of life, and live purposefully. He told the graduates that society will now always expect them to live as educated people, that is, they are expected to be a people who listen attentively and critically; learn to question, digest with evidence and to make independent decisions.

“As an educated Malawian, we will always expect you to have strong moral principles and to stand by your convictions at all times. That is the hallmark of being a person with integrity. In addition, your country expects you to be patriotic and hardworking. These should be the principles of every Malawian,” advised the President.

President Mutharika also commended the LUANAR for being innovative and exemplary. The University is recognised by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and is also an Africa Centre of Excellence in Aquaculture and Fisheries (ACE-Aquafish). He said it is a mark of national pride that the whole Africa should come to Malawi to learn on how to raise fish.

And in his remarks, Chair of University Council of LUANAR, Prof. James Seyani assured the congregation that the graduands have been well schooled and they are fully equipped.

“These students have been well trained and they will succeed in their endeavors.” He said.

Professor Seyani said LUANAR is proud of its contribution to the nation. He therefore expressed gratitude to LUANAR staff and students for their commitment and hard work.

The graduation saw 608 students receiving their diplomas and degrees from various programmes being offered at LUANAR’s Bunda, NRC and City campuses.