Norwegian Ambassador hails NASFAM Commercial for value addition, import substitution

Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Ingrid Marie Mikelsen, has hailed NASFAM Commercial—a business subsidiary of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM)—for producing value added rice and maize and legumes products which she says help Malawi in import substitution and trade balance.

Mikelsen made the remarks on Friday at NASFAM Commercial’s factory and warehouse in Lilongwe when she inspected state of the art machines that process maize flour and grits, clean and grade groundnuts, roast and blanch and package groundnuts, process and package rice. There is also a food safety laboratory.

Norway has, for 20 years now, supported NASFAM and its commercial subsidiary, with “approximately US$28 million going towards the core running of the association in various programs targeting better market accessibility for smallholder farmers towards improving the business model of NASFAM”.

Mikelsen expressed her commendations for NASFAM Commercial’s high-tech machines and produce, saying the standards they meet are of top quality.

“We are proud to be sidelining with NASFAM to help the smallholders in developing better produce in climate smart practices to securing better access to markets and to add value to the produce.

“There is also the transferring of knowledge and skills in better quality of the produce they have. We see that the NASFAM products are ready for export markets, which will help Malawi in the trade balance,” Mikelsen said.

NASFAM Commercial helps production and productivity of smallholder farmers. It aims to generate income that should support in the long-term the operations of NASFAM, viewed as the leading smallholder farmer organization in Malawi.

NASFAM Chief Executive Officer, Betty Chinyamunyamu, said NASFAM Commercial has, among other things, helped Malawi reduce the importation of maize flour from South Africa and Zambia.

She added they are exporting rice to Scotland and legumes to a few countries within the SADC region.

“However, our focus has been mostly on the domestic market. And when we expand our production, we will flood the regional markets with our products even more.

“Our products are already of export quality. It is just a matter of increasing the scale in order to meet the demand for local and international markets.

“Our initial strategy is to satisfy the local market because we are a brand that is growing and we want to be really established on the domestic market before going fully fledged elsewhere,” Chinyamunyamu said.

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