The Ntalimanja Rice Milling Factory to be built at Mpamatha in Nkhotakota is set to be operational in December, managing director of Ntalimanja Holdings, the firm’s parent company, David Kamchacha has said.
He said the company has so far spent about $2million (K690 million) to get the project up and running and that the machines to be used to mill the rice are currently in transit and will be in Malawi between September and October.
“We could have commissioned the machine in June, but we could not get financing locally and we had to borrow money from banks outside Malawi. Now that the machine is on its way, we are optimistic that by December production would start,” said Kamchacha.
He said due to the little time remaining to construct the factory, they have engaged Chinese contractors who have promised to build the factory within two months.
“We will be having a follow-up meeting with the Chinese shortly and our expectations are that they will give us good terms to construct the factory.
“During our first meeting, they hinted that they can construct the factory within two months and we hope nothing will change in the next meeting,” said Kamchacha.
He said over 7 000 farmers are already on site and the company started buying rice from them two months ago.
Kamchacha said the farmers have already sold to Ntalimanja 100 tonnes of rice and planting for this season is also underway.
According to Ntalimanja Holdings, Malawi has 600 000 hectares of potential land for planting rice and yet only 30 000 is being utilised.
“We have the capacity to supply the rest of southern Africa with rice because we have the best rice in the world, but we are failing due to underproduction. As a company, we have already secured our markets and once we start production we will even sustain the demand of rice in the country as well,” he said.
The machines that have been loaded in six 40-foot containers have the capacity to mill 240 000 tonnes of rice per day, according to Kamchacha.
So far, the company has secured markets in Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU).
Chairperson of the Ntalimanja Holdings Napoleon Dzombe is on record to have said that they are ready to revolutionise the agriculture sector by setting up factories that will give farmers a direct market for their produce.
“The project we have started in Mpamatha is unstoppable and after that we are going to set up factories in other districts such as Dedza, Ntchisi, Dowa as well as Mchinji,” he said.