The government and traditional leaders have backed an initiative by business magnate Napoleon Dzombe to set up a factory that will be processing agricultural produce at Santhe Trading Centre in Kasungu District.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima toured the factory on Thursday last week before joining an interface that saw stakeholders speaking in support of the initiative.
Kambauwa Wirima said she was impressed with Dzombe’s plan for the factory and warehouses, which that are under construction.
“Our role as government is to create a conducive environment for such projects to flourish in the country. We consider agriculture as a business that needs transformation if it is to continue driving the country’s economy,” she said.
Kambauwa Wirima said the initiative had potential to boost the country’s economy through the creation of jobs and increasing exports.
“This initiative is in line with the government’s Malawi 2063 agenda. Our target is to see as many Malawians as possible earning a good living from agriculture. It used to happen in the past and we should be asking ourselves what we can do to go back to those days of glory. So, I will personally be following up on the progress of this initiative,” she said.
Senior Chief Kaomba of Kasungu said he was ready to support the initiative by asking farmers in his area to bring their produce to the factory for processing.
“It is sad that farming is no longer as profitable as it used to be. I therefore commend Dr Dzombe for coming up with such a brilliant idea. This is one way of helping farmers earn more from their investment,” Kaomba said.
Development expert James Zinyama Phiri commended Dzombe for inviting fellow Malawians to benefit from his investment.
“Our biggest problem as Malawians is that we waste a lot of time discussing ideas, with little or no implementation on the ground. Dzombe has taken a different approach by inviting us to appreciate how he is implementing his ideas. This is very admirable,” Zinyama Phiri said.
Dzombe said his plan was to help turn Malawi into a country whose people are empowered financially.
He said farmers get low prices for their produce because they do not have the capacity for value addition.
“This is one way of putting Malawians in control of their own economy.
The current situation is not good at all because they do not get returns for their investment in agriculture.
The best way to turn things around is to bring our produce to one place, process it and then send it to the market.We must stop selling agricultural produce in its raw form,” Dzombe said.
The day-long interface had traditional leaders from Kasungu, Dowa, Lilongwe and Nkhotakota districts. Also in attendance were businessmen, farmers and academicians.