The China-Africa Textile Factory in Salima could be the beginning of Malawi’s journey to industrialisation, Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Liu Hongyang has said, further promising that the Asian global power will continue courting investors to come to Malawi.
Ambassador Hongyang was speaking in Salima on Thursday where he accompanied Vice President Saulos Chilima in visiting the yarn production factory.
“As China we are committed to lead development initiatives for Malawi. We will continue to attract investors for Malawi. And it is our hope that this factory is the beginning of Malawi’s industrialisation,” Hongyang said.
On his part, Chilima said he was impressed with what he saw especially that trial production for Yarn has already started.
He said the company was an asset as it would increase the country’s exports through its production.
“This project is in line with the President’s vision of creating one million jobs. It will enhance development as well as job creation.
“It is also creating an opportunity for us to export more goods and have more forex which will help the country to reduce its spending on foreign goods,” he said.
Chilima further said government is ready to provide all the necessary support to the China –Africa Textile Company so that it boosts its capacity.
“Cotton is one strategic crop that must be promoted. As I have repeatedly said elsewhere, the cotton industry could be the country’s game changer to take over from tobacco in the wake of anti-smoking lobbies and become the country’s green gold,” said Chilima.
Writing on his Facebook page after the visit, Chilima wrote: “Once fully operational, the company will employ 1,500 Malawians, give market access to cotton farmers as well as generate USD 35 million in foreign exchange for the country per year”.
He further said Cotton is one strategic crop that must be promoted.
“As I have repeatedly said elsewhere, the cotton industry could be the country’s game changer to take over from tobacco in the wake of anti-smoking lobbies and various other issues affecting the future of the country’s green gold.”
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.
According to the Cotton Council of Malawi, one kilogram of lint can produce 10 branded T-shirts and that 100 MT of cotton produced can create over 20,000 jobs and earn an estimated USD 65 million.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :