Hundreds of tons of produce from Inosselia Agro and Greenbelt Authority (GBA) greenhouse-based vegetable farm near Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe, have been supplied to Malawi’s major supermarkets since harvesting began in October, 2020.
The farm has become “the biggest” supplier of high quality tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and watermelons to Shoprite, Spar, Chipiku Plus, Sana and major hotels and lodges—enabling Inosselia and GBA to make hundreds of millions of kwacha.
The supply has reportedly “significantly reduced the importation of horticultural produce from South Africa, enabling Malawi to save huge amounts of forex.”
This was disclosed on Friday when the new board of GBA, led by Chairperson, Wester Peter Kosamu, toured the farm, which has 16 big greenhouses sitting on 30 hectares of land at Lumbadzi near KIA.
Kosamu expressed satisfaction with the work going on at the farm, saying the skills people are learning while working there must be shared with many others in order to improve horticulture production across Malawi.
“There is the need to engage more especially the rural masses, where cultivation is mostly the source of livelihood. Villagers need to learn these initiatives to be able to produce high quality products. This will lead to better sales and even exports, hence more money for the farmers,” said Kosamu.
The project was established with the aim of securing exports and substituting the importation of horticultural produce from South Africa, which made Malawi lose a lot of forex.
Inosselia Agro, a global investment company, partnered with the Government of Malawi through GBA in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, which has resulted in this joint venture agreement that is financing and now developing one of the biggest greenhouse vegetable farms in southern Africa, employing about 200 people—most of them being Malawians living around the airport.
On exports, which the greenhouse farm has not yet started, Kosamu and GBA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Amon Mluwira, echoed for instance, that there is a huge demand for Malawian horticultural produce in Dubai, one of the markets that must be explored.
Mluwira said it depends upon “the necessary things” Inosselia and GBA must do from now onwards in order to secure that market.
“We will be engaging ministries of trade and industry and the department of Civil Aviation to make that a reality. We need to start exporting as soon as possible because our horticultural produce is highly sought-after in Dubai,” Mluwira said.
Country Director for Inosselia Agro, Michael Gorelick, concurred with Kosamu and Mluwira on finding foreign markets but cautioned that such moves must make sense, especially when factoring in logistical arrangements, some of which are expensive.
“Actually, on our part, we are even looking at exploring exports to Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa because the quality of our produce is higher than that which was being imported from South Africa. So, we need to export. The production capacity is very good here,” Gorelick said.
Inosselia has 51 percent shares, bringing into the partnership its intensive international experience and expertise in planning, funding, establishing, operating and managing exactly these types of high value-added agricultural enterprises.
On the other hand, GBA has 49 percent shares in the project, which utilizes state of the art technology and advanced irrigation farming management systems in order to provide a wide range of high quality horticultural produce to Malawi and international markets.
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