Malawi’s greenhouse-based horticultural farm exports bell peppers to South Africa
Malawi’s only large-scale greenhouse-based vegetable farm, which is near Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe, dispatched a consignment of 1.2 tones of bell peppers to South Africa (SA), effectively enabling the country to export for the first time such produce to the rainbow nation.
Until 2020, it was the other way round: SA supplying Malawi with high quality and nicely packaged fresh farm produce. The latter lost a lot of forex in the process.
The GGL Greenhouse farm, therefore, established to substitute the importation of horticultural produce from SA, which it achieved in the past three years, is now exporting some of its produce. It began exporting to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), then Mozambique and now SA.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times, the farm’s Manager Ofer Kahani said the 1.2 tones of bell peppers, demanded specifically by Shoprite in South Africa, is an “export trial”.
He said, if SA Shoprite confirms the quality of the consignment, the farm will then be supplying to its client between 10 to 20 tones of bell peppers every week, which will sum up to 1000 tones per year.
“This can bring quite a huge amount of forex into Malawi. It is also a signal to other farmers to start engaging in exports.
“Since the establishment of this farm, we have always understood that we need to export because we do not want to compete with local farmers. We want to be a leader for the local market where we must create a bridge for other farmers to export as well.
“We believe from the beginning that the main product for export can be bell peppers for these fetch high prices”.
Sales and Procurement Manager, Tamandani Chanza, expressed her happiness that the farm is making progress with its exportation drive, more especially with the securing of a client in SA.
“We are happy that we will be contributing to bringing of forex into Malawi and opening doors for other suppliers coming behind us to export vegetables as well.
“We have made progress. We are expanding our customer base. And we will find more export business opportunities,” she said.
The GGL Greenhouse farm, comprising 16 large greenhouses standing on 30 hectares of land, is a joint venture between Inosselia Commercial and state-owned Greenbelt Authority (GBA) through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. The farm seeks to produce high quality tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, water melons, cucumbers, among other fresh farm produce.
Inosselia Commercial Country Director, Michael Gorelik, described the 1.2 tone bell peppers exportation to SA as game changer for Malawi, considering the high standards of the rainbow nation in terms of packaging of such produce.
“The importance of this exportation is that it shows to every Malawian that it is possible. You can be a producer, industrious person, a farmer. If you do things correctly and you do not compromise quality, you can even export to SA,” he said.
Since 2020, the farm has been a main supplier of fresh vegetable produce to all major supermarkets and upmarket off-takers in Malawi, including Shoprite, Food Lovers, Sana and many others. This led to the realization of import substitution of such produce, which was the initial business concept of the farm.
The second phase, which is export, commenced with the exportation of cherry tomatoes to DRC in early 2022. Later, the farm started exporting to Mozambique cherry tomatoes and bell peppers, among other produce.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :