By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
The Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union Limited has said it is installing new machines for roasting, grinding and packaging coffee to penetrate regional market.
Mzuzu Coffee Chief Executive Officer, Bernard Kaunda, said the company has been exploring various markets that prompted a gradual shift from international markets where they were selling green beans to regional market where they are exporting Fair Trade certified roast and ground coffee.
“This was after a thorough market research was done in order for us to position ourselves properly for the regional market we needed extra capacity on roasting, grinding and packaging machines and a new factory shell.
“We got a grant from the Malawi Innovative Challenge Fund (MICF) and we have ordered a complete automated roast, grinding and packaging machine,” Kaunda said.
He added that the construction of the factory shell is underway and has been designed to meet the ISO 22,000 which is a Food Safety Management System that can be applied to any organisation in the food chain, farm to fork.
“Of course using the current roaster, we started exports to Zambia in December 2018, we have so far exported 1500 metric tonnes of roast and ground coffee to the distributor in Zambia.
“The plan is to export at least 5,000 metric tonnes a month. We are also going into the South African market and we have an order of 2,000 metric tonnes which we haven’t delivered yet,” Kaunda added.
Coffee is one of Malawi’s cash crops. A recent study indicates that Malawi exports 1,000 metric tonnes of coffee a year which is grown on 1,500 hectares, earning the country around $3 million (K2.1 billion) annually.