United States African Development Foundation (USADF) has given Kwithu Kitchen cooperative Society a grant of US$80,000 (approximately K58 Million) to enhance the cooperative’s business and farming activities.
Kwithu Kitchen is a Mzuzu women owned food processing co-operative focused on value adding to agricultural products.
The group process fresh tomatoes and puts them in cans and sells them in various outlets in Mzuzu.
Speaking during the agreement signing ceremony between Kwithu Kitchen Producers and Marketing Cooperative Society and USADF which took place at Kwithu Community Based Organisation Friday, Country Programmes Coordinator for USADF Linda Ndovie Jere said the aim of the grant is to assist Kwithu Kitchen CBO to advance its business of canning tomatoes.
She said USADF supports agri-business groups in the country to take agriculture as business, hence the signing of the two year agreement which will ends on June 30, 2018.
“In Malawi as you know a lot of our produce gets wasted because they all mature at the same time and we are not able to preserve it and if you go to Jenda you will see a lot of tomatoes being wasted,” she said adding that this is the reason USADF is supporting Kwithu initiative of value addition.
The programmes coordinator said they have supported Kwithu so that the cooperative can go beyond the borders.
She said since inception, USADF has supported 37 groups in Malawi in areas of coffee, dairy, rice and sunflower oil production with economic development investment which is a capacity building grant and also expansion grants.
Ndovie-Jere added that most of the cooperatives that USADF has supported have grown and have been able to employ people from their profits besides increasing their production.
Kwithu Kitchen Executive Director, Anna Msowoya Keys said the grant will help Kwithu Kitchen to expand and diversify its activities.
She said the concept of Kwithu kitchen began in 2010 after noting the high rates of tomato spoilage in Mzuzu and the group learned how to process and preserve tomatoes.
Keys said the group is owned by a group of 17 women who hold equal shares and their goal is to increase income and improve their wellbeing.
The Executive Director said with the grant, the group will diversify to fruits processing and are eyeing expanding outside Malawi.
USADF is an independent agency of the United States Government established to support Africa-driven solutions that address grassroots economic and social problems in African communities.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :