SMEDI building capacity for beekeeping small holders entrepreneurs in Nkhata Bay

Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (SMEDI), the parastatal organization under the Ministry of Industry & Trade, is building capacity for beekeeping smallholder entrepreneurs in Nkhata Bay rural of the Northern Region.

The smallholder beekeepers are being trained in business plan development under the Transforming Agriculture through Diversification and Entrepreneurship (TRADE) programme.

The TRADE project is through capacity building activities such as stakeholders mapping exercise; entrepreneurship & business management training; business plan development training; sustainable forestry management & smart agriculture training and the modern beekeeping & harvesting techniques.

SMEDI’s Northern Regional Manager, Mwawi John Makwakwa

SMEDI’s Northern Regional Manager, Mwawi John Makwakwa said the training implementation under TRADE project started in January 2023, and the first phase will be completed by the of February 2023 — with not less than 1,000 beekeepers trained.

He added that the target group for beekeeping smallholder farmers are 55% female, 45% male with an emphasis of 50% of the target group to be youths.

“SMEDI will continue to work with different stakeholders by facilitating the formation of Malawi entrepreneurship ecosystem that ensures that all key players work with a consolidated approach in promoting MSMEs in the country,” Makwakwa said.

Business planning training

SMEDI was established by an Act of Parliament (Cap. 5:03 of the laws of Malawi) for the promotion, growth and development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Malawi.

In the execution of it’s mandate, SMEDI undertakes several interventions, including the provision of business management training, facilitation of market and financial linkages and facilitation of business formalization, amongst others in line with its strategic objective of #enterprisedevelopment.

It is mandated to promote the development and growth of MSMEs in Malawi  by creating an enabling environment for business growth; facilitate access to finance; provide information on markets for MSMEs and provide business skills training.

It also offers training in three different modes where individuals approach SMEDI for specific training and in certain circumstances, a designated organization brings their beneficiaries for training at SMEDI.

The third mode is where SMEDI approaches a district office to identify a group of individuals who can benefit from their training, whose programs take a week to complete.

It also organizes two main events — the Best SME Awards and the SMEDI Trade Fair. The Best SME Awards recognises businesses that are following the requirements of a business that include business registration, keeping financial records, tax compliant, consistent production, job creation, and Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) certification.

The SMEDI Trade Fair is the first of its kind, whose inaugural was organized in April 2019, through which SMEs are supported in displaying their products.

As a matter of facilitating access to markets, SMEDI exhibited SMEs products at the Corporate Governance Workshop at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi last week.

A statement posted on its Facebook page said since this workshop was for government parastatals, SMEDI took “strides in the formulation and effective implementation of policy reforms in various fields including access to markets with the aim of promoting local industries”.

“SMEDI will continue to work with all stakeholders (parastatals and SMEs) to improve on total factor productivity, improve on quality and standards and ultimately raise awareness and competitiveness for local produced products.

“With this in mind, SMEDI exhibited the SMEs products so that the parastatals can open their doors and start buying from our own produced products.”

Also last week, Minister of Trade & Industry, Simplex Chithyoka Banda urged government departments and agencies to promote use of local leather for the production of boots and shoes for state security agencies to save forex.

He specifically targeted the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) and other security agencies during a meeting with MDF and SMEDI on the implementation of MSMEs ‘Order and Buy Malawi Strategy’.

Chithyola Banda said during budget statement delivered in the National Assembly, it was emphasised that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) should procure goods and services from local enterprises as part of the Buy Malawi Strategy.

”Being the policy holder on SMEs we are coordinating MSMEs’ access to institutional markets such as MDAs,” he told the media. “The focus is on maximum utilisation of the Leather Design Studio in Blantyre to produce quality boots and shoes for the MDF and other government institutions.

Present was MDF Commander, General Vincent Nundwe who said maximum utilisation of the Leather Design Studio at Chatha in Blantyre would benefit all players involved, adding that the Malawi military procures a lot of uniforms, boots, shoes, food rations and other infrastructure projects within its establishments.

“Implementing of the MSME Order would go a long way in creating jobs and wealth for the people and saving our foreign exchange,” he said.

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