The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism has admitted that Malawi is still lagging behind in producing quality products to compete on the global market and that most exporters lack knowledge in export pricing.
The ministry’s Principal Secretary Ken Ndala said this on Tuesday in Lilongwe at an Annual Exporters’ Seminar organised by the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc).
He said many exporters are not conversant with pricing issues of their commodities; hence, their products face stiff competition on the international market.
Said Ndala: “We are not producing high-quality products for the export market and at the same time we have not accessed the markets as a result of not knowing procedures that are supposed to be followed as regards exports.
“I believe that our exporters are able to produce relatively quality products, but they might not be aware of the pricing processes and some of them do not take chances in trying to export.”
He said export pricing is important because it would aid manufacturers to know the profit margin against what they are producing.
Ndala said Malawi may not reach the level it wants in exporting goods and services to other countries, but said there are initiatives to ensure that a reasonable amount of goods and services are exported.
Mitc chief executive officer Clement Kumbemba said government has many export policies to ensure that the country penetrates the export market.
He said: “Government has secured preferential export markets in the region and beyond. What is important is to work around the clock to prepare our exporters because exporting requires a number of things.
“Some of the issues are to ensure that our exporters have the right skills and knowledge so that when they are meeting competing products from other countries, our products should be made strong.”
An official from Cross-border Traders Association Rhoda Njikho, who exports to South Africa and other countries in region, said there is need for dialogue between the Malawi government and other countries on issues of documentation and transport regulations.
She said: “Apart from lack of pricing skills and export procedures, we face many of challenges at the borders. There is too much documentation which sometimes delays us. This leads to loss of business,” he said.
The seminar was aimed at helping exporters negotiate deals and how best they can price their products for the export market.