By Greshum chikoti
The Minister of Industry Honourable Roy Kachale Banda has challenged local producers to add value to their products to maximise gains, create employment and reduce import bills.
Speaking when he visited Vizara Rubber Plantation in Nkhatabay and Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union Limited, yesterday on Tuesday 01st September 2020 the Minister observed that the country can benefit more if more materials were processed and sold as finished products.
“We need to make sure that we are also producing other materials such as bicycle tyres from the rubber that is being produced at Vizara” said the minister.
“As government we are urging Vizara to set up a factory to produce other materials from Rubber” added the minister.
The minister also suggested the need to have a structured market where Coffee growers will be able to sell their commodity and get paid cash unlike in the present situation where Cooperatives such as Mzuzu Coffee Planters Union obtain the commodity from farmers and sell it on their behalf and pay them after.
Meanwhile the Minister has assured Vizara Rubber Plantation and Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union of government’s commitment to support the institutions to continue producing.
Vizara,established in 1895, is the largest Rubber Plantation in Sub Saharan Africa and exports 85 percent of rubber to countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Mzuzu Coffee is produced by small holder farmers working as Cooperatives and the product is loved by many World Wide.
Honourable Roy Kachale Banda is also expected to Visit Misuku coffee growers in Chitipa, Raiply Malawi Limited and Consolidated Timber Limited in Mzuzu.