Malawi Investment Trade Centre (Mitc), with a $1 million (about K735 million) grant from African Development Bank (AfDB), has set aside a project which will enable stakeholders maximise the use of Nacala Corridor by local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country’s 13 districts of the corridor.
The project, named Malawi Nacala Rail and Port Value Addition and Inclusive Private Sector Development Project, targets 17 SMEs which will be supplied various agri-products by 25 farmer groups consisting of thousands of members.
Mitc chief executive officer Clement Kumbemba, speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a capacity building workshop for SME’s targeted for the project on Wednesday in Blantyre, said the project has been designed to help SMEs with markets, link them with farmer groups to boost supply and impart business management skills to the SMEs.
He said: “SMEs in the country face a number of challenges ranging from access to finance and markets, high cost of transporting goods, compliance to product quality and standards, marketing, business management and poor linkages.
Team leader for the project Dick Maganga said through the project, SMEs will have agri-products such as groundnuts, sunflower, cassava, rice, paprika and others supplied to them by farmer groups, a situation which is expected to boost productivity for smallholder farmers thereby improving their incomes.