Minister of Trade, Sosten Gwengwe says he is impressed with the contribution cotton investment companies are making to boost the cotton industry in the country.
Gwengwe said this on Saturday when he visited the China-Africa Textile Company in Salima to appreciate the work the company is doing and the challenges it is currently facing.
In an interview, Gwengwe said companies such as China-Africa Textile Company have huge potential to boost the country’s economy.
“The availability of markets and good prices motivate farmers to grow more cotton, therefore, the presence of this company will encourage more farmers to venture into growing cotton as they will know that there is readily available market in the country,” said Gwengwe.
China-Africa Textile Company general manager Huang Hai said the company is facing a lot of challenges such as power blackouts and shortage of cotton lint in the country.
Hai said the company demands 20 000 metric tonnes of cotton lint per year, of which farmers provide only 10 000 metric tonnes, thereby affecting production.
He also complained that besides affecting economic trends, COVID-19 pandemic has affected the company’s production and the purchase of the cash crop from local farmers this year.
To avert shortage of cotton, Gwengwe earlier advised Malawians to prioritise on feeding the local industries with raw materials so that they should be able to add value to the products before exporting them.
Cotton is one of the country’s lucrative crops along its value chain and contributes about three percent to the country’s economy.
The crop is also critical in government’s diversification efforts away from tobacco, which is facing pressure from anti-smocking lobbyists.