Locak agribusiness firm, Synthesis Agriculture, has secured markets for watermelons in South Africa and Zambia which would earn local farmers over K600 million weekly.
Synthesis Agriculture Managing Director, Dickson Kilowe, said the two countries are looking for supplies of more the 30 metric tonnes of the fruit every week during the lean season.
The firm has since embarked on an initiative to recruit 200 farmers to enter a partnership and train them to produce the required demand this year.
Kilowe said the firm got the orders last year and trained 100 farmers, out of which only 35 produced the fruits but were unable to meet the demand hence the move.
“Watermelons are cash fruits because they are on high demand both on the local and international markets. Currently in Malawi, we are importing because this is our lean season but we were able to sell and realise over K110 million through the farmers that grew the fruits with us last year.
“All we need is enhance production by engaging farmers that would use the right scientific methods of producing high quality fruits because one fruit is fetching between K4,000 and K5,000 and if we increase production per hector we could be able to get more that what one can get by producing other crops such as maize and tobacco on the same piece of land,” Kilowe said.
Last year, the firm engaged other 200 farmers in production of banana and paprika for the export market after securing deals in Dubai.
Kilowe indicated that the programme is on course and the first harvest is expected later this year.
The firm is advancing a diversification agenda that focuses on horticulture crops.