National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Nasme) has revealed plans to penetrate markets in India and other Asian countries with horticulture produces to enhance exports among its members.
This follows revelations that the association will be launching a private company called Nasme Exports and Imports Limited this month to drive the export plans.
In an interview, national chairperson of the association, William Mwale, said there is currently a huge demand for Malawian products in Asia especially pigeon peas and onions.
“In Asia, right now, there is shortage of some horticulture produces such as onions, okra, tomato and others notwithstanding the pigeon peas market available in India.
“We have onions all over in Blantyre, Dowa and Mzimba they have nowhere to sell, we
just needed a mechanism where people would come together, pack them nicely and put them on a plane to those markets hence the export company,” Mwale said.
He further said the major challenge was startup capital which some local banks have promised to provide to have the venture running by this year.
Mwale explained that the company will be run by its members who will deposit their produces and be able to get better prices and returns once the goods are sold.
“For a long time, SME [Small and medium enterprise] farmers have been duped by middle men. This problem is over because this company will be lobbying for prices that will benefit the farmers and this should help them grow in the shortest period possible,” Mwale added.
Last year, a local private agribusiness firm Synthesis Agriculture embarked on the production of high value horticultural crops after it identified 120, 000 metric tonnes of export markets.
It indicated that produces such as chillies, tomatoes, okra, beans, garlic, turnips and egg plants were the crops on high demand in Dubai.