The Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement (Mepe) project which is part of the Comesa Regional Integration Support Mechanism programme being funded by the European Union will save the country about US$9 million in import substitution annually.
The project addresses key productive capacity constraints among Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and cooperatives as identified in the National Export Strategy (NES).
Mepe Project Manager, Nelson Nsiku, said the project has the capacity to support SMEs to scale up local production in both quality and quantity to replace what is being imported.
“Cooperatives producing edible oils should be able to produce about 10,000 litres of crude oil per day. We believe through our participation at the trade fair, we should be able to connect the producers to bigger markets hence the capacity is likely to double. Based on the doubled capacity, we should be able to replace about US$9 million per annum of edible oil imports,” said Nsiku.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Cliff Chiunda, said the project was created to empower cooperatives in value addition and job creation.
“This means some of the products that were being imported will be produced locally thereby creating job opportunities for Malawians and also generating forex for the country once the cooperatives start exporting.
As a ministry, we are linking the cooperatives to various markets and we are making sure that the products are of high quality and standards,” said Chiunda.
He further said with the launch of the Buy Malawi Strategy, the industry has seen edible oil imports going down.
“We are not banning imported products but rather making our local products to be more competitive on the market. It is obvious now that this is being achieved as most edible oils in our super markets are made locally unlike in the past when foreign oils flooded our shops. This means our producers have now become competitive and are able to substitute the imported edible oils,” he said.