Malawi Agro-industry Suffering in Abundance

Zodiak understands that increased negligence has cost the country huge economic fortunes after government has kept idle industrial agro-processing equipment bought in India some 14 years ago.

The machinery which are in government warehouses in all the regions of the country were bought in 2008 to be used for small- and large-scale industry in processing products such as, daras, soap, candles, honey and cooking oil.

Speaking to Zodiak, Minister of Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga, while expressing displeasure over the development, says government is currently engaging technical institutions of higher learning such as Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) and Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) on how best the equipment can be put under utilization for productivity.

"We are yet to establish how much was spent I don't have the figures now but it is equipment for both small- and large-scale industry. Why it has been lying idle, to me its simple negligence by the people responsible.

"But I felt we cannot continue to keep that equipment lying idle we have to put into productivity by whatever way possible," he said.

Last Friday, Minister of Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga also lamented that the country's chain stores have been flooded with over 80 percent of imported products since the country's manufacturing industry has been dormant.

Meanwhile, University of Malawi economist, Professor Ben Kalua says this reveals gross incompetence and negligence in public service which is affecting the country's zeal for value addition and industrialization drive.

"The financing that we want for small medium enterprises is to buy equipment for use. So, this equipment is already in the country, but is lying idle. We have a very serious problem in many fronts of negligence and incompetence," Kalua said.

Malawi desires and resolves to be an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant industrialized upper-middle-income country by the year 2063.

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