Air Cargo Malawi (ACM) Limited, a local air freight company, has announced plans to venture into agribusiness in a move aimed at meeting their 103 000 kg capacity for cargo exports.
In an interview on Tuesday, ACM board chairperson Mike Mlombwa said Malawi is losing out by not utilising the Emirates cargo plane which leaves the country empty after offloading cargo despite the country’s capacity to produce goods for the export market, particularly in the agriculture sector.
He said their plans to diversify will be implemented by the end of the year and roll out by next January, and start the ground work once the consultants give them a nod.
“There is a lot of idle land in Malawi, including estates belonging to Press Agriculture Limited. We want to utilise such land and we will discuss with them and the government soon. We are confident they will give us the land.
“I think time is ripe for us to go an extra mile. We want to lead by example and as you know I am also the deputy board chair for the buy Malawian Strategy so it is my duty to see people growing flowers, vegetables as well as other crops for the export market,” he said.
In recent years, Malawi’s trade balance has worsened with National Statistical Office (NSO) figures indicating that imports soared to K116.8 billion last year up from K101.5 billion in 2015 while exports slowed to K64.8 billion from K70 billion in the same period.
International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri) in its August 2017 policy note titled ‘The Case for Structured Markets in Malawi’ said expanding export mandates to cover other commodities such as soya beans, pigeon peas and flowers could help Malawi diversify its foreign exchange earnings in the face of declining demand for tobacco.
Speaking through their head of Public Private Dialogue Hope Chavula, in a presentation at the National Exporter’s Consultative Workshop in July, Malawi Confederations of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) said local taxes and lack of reforms create challenges by making export products uncompetitive.