President Arthur Peter Mutharika has reiterated his government’s commitment to see to it that the Greenbelt Initiative GBI) becomes the flagship vehicle for food security, job and wealth creation for Malawians.
He was speaking in Salima on Monday when he toured Salima Sugar Factory construction site.
“The Green Belt Initiative is key in our achievement of these goals, and this sugar factory is part of the vision. I have always desired to see the progress of the Green Belt Initiative because this is one of the flagships of my government. More than ever, this government is resolved to transform and develop this country,” said Mutharika.
The Green Belt Initiative is planned to use the available land and water resources to increase agricultural production and productivity. It will play a pivotal role in increasing incomes of the people and improve food security at both household and national levels.
The Malawi leader emphasized the need to boost production in order to turn the country’s economy to a predominantly exporting nation, which is his government’s core goal.
“The sugar project is expected to create more job opportunities for Malawians. Many people will be employed in the sugarcane plantations, the processing factory and transportation activities among others.
“The increasing economic activities in this area will bring rural development to Khombeza area. I see a town one day. Besides, 250 farming households in the medium scale farmers stand to benefit as well as the small scale farming Malawians,” he said.
He added: “Increasing sugar production is also part of the diversification of our sources of revenue. The project will bring the much needed foreign exchange earning into the country. We have relied on tobacco for too long, and we are set to diversify our export commodities through the Greenbelt Initiative.”
There are basically three major players linked to the investment; Smallholder farmers producing sugarcane on 530 hectares; Medium Scale farmers producing sugarcane on 1500 hectares and the Salima Sugar Company.
This is a joint venture between government and private investors. The company will produce sugarcane on over 4000 hectares and manage the sugar factory.
In addition, Mutharika disclosed that government has decided to transform the Green Belt Initiative into a Public Trust and GBI Holdings Limited Company as a way of giving the masses unparalleled service.
This arrangement will streamline operations, enhance efficiency and achieve the desired results.
More than 300 Malawians were employed during the construction of the factory alone. On the same day, the President also toured another of Salima’s major investments, Malawi Mangoes, a food processing company that produces mango and banana beverages.
He commended the company for helping boost mango and banana farming in the area as smallholder farmers have been empowered to enhance crop production to support Malawi Mangoes core business.
Malawi Mangoes is a major international standard fruit processor in the country that supplies fruit pulp or puree to major drink manufacturing companies in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and other parts of Africa.
At both sites, the President assured investors of his government’s unabated support through creation of a conducive environment for businesses.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :