Williams, Malawi president discuss church agriculture projects

October 9, 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Oct. 7 discussed the Anglican church's involvement in economic and agriculture projects with Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika.

"I talked about how sustainable agriculture methods should be developed and I am glad our church is involved in this," said Williams, who is visiting Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia from Oct. 5-13.

Williams also is marking the 150th anniversary of the Anglican Church in Malawi, which has a membership of about one million and was the first Protestant church to come to the country, according to Bishop James Tengatenga, chairman of the Anglican Council in Malawi.

In Thyolo, 19 miles south of Malawi's commercial capital of Blantyre, Williams toured church projects such as a Mothers' Union literacy circle. The Mothers' Union also plays a key part in developing sustainable farming methods in rural communities, enabling local women to create agricultural and animal husbandry businesses.

Williams also discussed with Mutharika the need for open and transparent government as a way to end the political turmoil in Malawi. "I am very happy that there is dialogue between government and the civil society organizations on this," he said.

The meeting came two months after police cracked down on anti-government protesters angry with economic and governance policies that they said created shortages in foreign currency and fuel.