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EU programme uplifts local manufacturers

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Fortune Gardens Investments which deals in processing groundnuts to finished products for exports and local consumption has the chance to obtain a soft loan of a minimum of K100 million from Ecobank or First Capital Bank after emerging winner of Boosting Women in Agriculture pitch night.

Boosting Women in Agriculture pitch night, whose Blantyre edition took place last weekend, is a European Union and European Investment Bank facility aimed at uplifting women in agriculture.

In the programme, five companies owned by women and operating in the agriculture sector were selected from a pool of others after pitching their ideas and a panel of five judges selected Fortune Gardens Investments as winner.

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Fortune Gardens Investments Chief Executive Officer Ellen Gunda said the money will be used into the primary processing of groundnuts to meet required standards.

She added that, aside from helping them as a company, the loan will greatly help the country because the company works with smallholder farmers and since their target is also the export market, it will help the country with foreign exchange mobilisation.

“We are so happy that it feels like a dream because we have always wanted to grow this business further and, aside from that, we work with over 4,000 farmers who will also benefit and we will add more groundnuts farmers who will have a ready market for their produce,” she said.

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Kulima Programme Coordinator Agness Nkhoma said the programme had nice pitches.

Nkhoma further encouraged the corporate world and other financiers to take interest in other pitches that have not won.

“This event also aims at marketing the businesses to other financiers so that they come in and promote the agriculture value chain where the biggest challenge is to access finance,” she said.

The Blantyre edition of Boosting Women in Agriculture pitch night event follows a successful inaugural event in Lilongwe earlier this year.

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