Malawi Minister of Trade and Industry, Sosten Gwengwe, says Government is committed to reducing poverty levels in the country by encouraging projects like those ran by One Village One product (OVOP).
The minister was speaking at the commissioning of K8 million OVOP funded Soya Processing Plant at Kampini Agro Processing Corporative Limited in Traditional Authority (T/A) Chiseka in Lilongwe. The plant will be processing milk from soya beans.
He said the Government was concerned that the gap between the rich and the poor was widening and it was the duty of the government to correct that.
“As you know OVOP activities have been ignored recently and it was only in the 2013 to 2014 financial year when K150 million was allocated for OVOP activities in the budget.
“Our aim is to reduce poverty levels so that people in the rural areas should also live bearable lives through initiatives such as OVOP which emphasises adding value to farm produce to in order for the production earn more money as well as jobs for people in our communities,” he said.
He advised the corporative to work on winning their local market first which he said was huge and would earn them a lot of money.
“As you can see the population around Kampini and Mitundu is huge and as such the cooperatives wouldn’t even have the capacity to satisfy it. We are, therefore, advising them to focus on getting the community interested in their products which would be of great benefit to them,” said Gwengwe.
OVOP national coordinator, Kamia Kalumba Sulumba, was optimistic that the community would benefit from adding value to their produce.
“This is an area that produces a lot of soya beans and we thought that they would benefit from adding value to their soya. One of the products we thought they could produce is soya milk, but as time goes by they could diversify and have a few other products from soya,” said Sulumba.
She, however, bemoaned the poor membership of the corporative and urged more members to join the corporative and help it become a success in their community.
It is estimated that the corporative will be able to produce about 350 litres of milk from a 50 kilogramme bag of soya beans which will be sold at K100 per litre. Kampini Agro Processing Corporative was founded in April 2010 and has 29 members.