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Malawi mangoes on demand in Singapore and Hong Kong

Written by  Aston Gondwe

Malawi mangoes are on high demand in Singapore and Hong Kong, heightening Malawi's prospects for increased foreign exchange generation.

The Mangoe field The Mangoe field

The development has come to light following Minister of Irrigation and Water Development Charles Mchacha' s twin visit to Malawi Mangoes and Salima Sugar companies in Salima.

Under government's  Greenbelt Authority, the two companies have put over 2200 hectares under active  irrigation, with Salima Sugar company irritating it's approximated 2000 hectare sugarcane field with water tapped over a 15 kilometre distance from Lake Malawi.

"This is a flagship programme. A concept that started like a dream is bearing fruit, said Mchacha.  

He was speaking when authorities from the two companies shared detailed  production records trends, with General Manager for Malawi Mangoes Charlie Leaper disclosing of a growing international market for his company's products.

"We are already exporting to Italy, India and the United Kingdom. There is also high demand for our products in Singapore and Hong Kong," he said.

The company which started it's operations in 2015 has over 200 permanent employees. During peak period, it engages up to 1000 workers.  Malawi Mangoes has so far generated about $ 5 million in foreign revenue through its fresh and dried products. The amount is equivalent to about MK 3.7 billion.

During the Minister's earlier visit to Salima Sugar, authorities projected sugar production for the 2020 - 2021 to double to 26, 000 from 13, 000 metric tonnes last year.

"We cannot continue to rely on rain - fed agriculture in the face of the damaging impact of climate change.

"The decision by President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika to make the ministry of Irrigation and Water Development a standalone ministry demonstrates his resolve to turn Malawi into Africa's food basket. This is a flagship programme. We are on course, added Mchacha.

Salima Sugar which started it's operations in 2016 has a permanent workforce of up to 800 people. At its seasonal peak period, it employs up to 3,500 workers.

"The mounting production is from 2000 hectares of our total 6000 hectares in the district. They have put that stretch under active irrigation and the output is encouraging,” pointed out Acting Chief Executive Officer for the Greenbelt Authority Amon Mluwira.

Malawi Mangoes falls under Senior Chief Khombeza and Traditional Authorities Bibi and  Makanjira, while Salima Sugar is within the area of Traditional Authorities Mwanza, Makanjira and Senior Chief Khombeza in the lakeshore district

The Greenbelt Authority GBA is a parastatal establishment tasked to champion use of available land and water resources for commercial agriculture. The Authority places particular emphasis on value addition.  Apart from championing a 3000 hectare Nchalo GBI Cotton project where farmers have a 60 percent shareholding in Chikwacha, the Authority is also working towards the establishment of a multi - billion Kwacha 1000 hectare Nthora - Illora - Ngosi Irrigation scheme in Karonga.

"Feasibility studies for construction of the scheme are already through. Party to the project are issues of top notch milling and packaging of the cereal.  Once completed, the initiative will significantly improve Malawi's efforts on wealth creation through enhanced rice production," said Maganizo Mazeze, Publicist for the Greenbelt Authority.

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