Malawians employed to work at the greenhouse vegetable farm at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe, are building their professional capacities and acquiring high-technological skills of modern farm operations and management.
They are expected to share with scores of smallholder farmers in order to generate interest for large scale and more profitable horticultural farming in the country.
Michael Gorelik, the Country Director for Inosselia Agro–a global investment company with 51 percent shares in the greenhouse vegetable farm–has said, adding that a training centre is also being built at the farm to enable more local people and agricultural entrepreneurs acquire the skills.
Inosselia Agro has partnered with the Government of Malawi through Green Belt Authority in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement which has resulted in a 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.
According to Gorelik, Inosselia Agro brings 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.
He told Nyasa Times that the training of local employees, smallholder farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs is one of the many objectives of this enterprise and falls within the immediate benefits of the project to Malawi.
“Each individual will have a chance to upgrade themselves professionally from unskilled or semiskilled to skilled workers and this will give them a profession that they can continue upgrading themselves on the farm or work elsewhere with the skills obtained from the farm itself.
“The community around and the smallholder farmers will benefit from our consulting, our instructions and our systems on the farm. This will show other agricultural entrepreneurs in Malawi the types of technology and management practices that they can utilize in order to succeed in this sector,” said Gorelik.
The Country Director added that such beehive of capacity building, training activities and skills transfers demonstrate a strong corporate social responsibility which Inosselia Agro has and contributes to the success of the company’s partnership with government.
“Our intention is not just to get a fast profit and then leave. We are here for the long term; generating returns to Greenbelt and the Government, saving and generating foreign currency and bringing tax to the country. We want to associate ourselves with the country and assist it to develop,” he said.
As an example, Gorelik pointed to the fact that at this time of Covid-19 crisis, when most expatriates and foreigners have left Malawi to their home countries, all of the expatriate Inosselia professionals and directors have stayed here to push this project and others forward.
“Malawi is our home and home is where you come back to during difficult times,” according to him.
Gorelik highlighted that Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) of this kind are crucial to the economic development of Malawi.
And he emphasized that these arrangements require commitments from both the private investment company as well as all relevant government agencies.
He then commended the government of Malawi, the Ministry of Finance, Greenbelt Authority, as well as Malawi Revenue Authority, Malawi Investment and Trade Centre and Airport Development Limited for their tireless and ongoing assistance in fulfilling their obligations in the partnership, adding that if each party continues to stick to its roles, the project will really succeed above expectations.
According to Gorelik, Inosselia is currently exploring additional projects within this business model and that it can and should be a model and blueprint for other potential investors in other economic sectors in Malawi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :