Minister of Industry, Roy Kachale has commended Kamwendo Cooking Oil Cooperative Society Limited in Mchinji for their sense of unity.
He called for other stakeholders to help the cooperative reach its maximum potential.
Kachale made the remarks on Wednesday, after touring of the Cooperative’s refinery machine that was donated by the European Union (EU) under the Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement (MEPE) project with money amounting to K 70 million.
“I am impressed with the kind of machinery that the cooperative was using and as a matter of fact it is one of the best in the country and this can be shown by the high quality ‘Thanzi’ cooking oil that is being produced,” he said.
According to the chairperson of Kamwendo Cooking Oil Cooperative Society Limited, Maximiano Zembeni, the cooperative could have been making a lot of profits if the challenges they face in matters regarding to transportation and capital are resolved.
“Ever since, our cooperative started its cooking oil production in 2010, we have never made a loss, but we could have made more profits if we had a vehicle of our own.
“It is costly to the cooperative as we have to hire vehicles when ferrying raw materials and distributing our products,” he said.
Zembeni said their cooperative operations are being affected by lack of capital that would enable them to utilise the maximum capacity of the machinery which is 200 tonnes per year.
“We do even reach half of that amount in our production. In our estimates, we would need K 50 million to make the machinery reach its maximum potential,” he added.
The Minister told the cooperative members that his Ministry shall engage with several financial institutions that could finance the cooperative in order for it to aggregate more raw materials for their production.
According to Kachale, the empowerment of cooperatives was one way of creating 1 million jobs promised by Tonse Alliance government could be achieved.
The Minister advised the cooperative members to diversify their operations by utilising the sunflower seed cake bi-product, that when further processed can be used as a livestock feed.
The Cooperative was formed in 2004 with only 53 members but now has 105 members of which 84 are women and 21 are men.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :