Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism is banking hopes on the implementation of the National Rural Industrialisation Strategy, which will create decent and sufficient rural and urban jobs as well as boost the economy.
The strategy is also envisaged to create viable entrepreneurship opportunities for both men and women.
In a statement, the ministry’s Principal Secretary Ken Ndala said the strategy, currently in its draft form, targets small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for growth of big businesses that will bring repo economic benefits and grow the economy.
Ndala said government intends to promote rural industrialisation to benefit other sectors such as education, labour and skills development.
Said Ndala: “The challenge we have before us is that in this liberalised economy, we cannot afford to produce poor quality products and hope that someone somewhere will still buy.
“This is why the models put forward in this draft strategy have taken on board issues of product quality compliance, packaging, pricing and market research.
He explained that private sector input into the strategy bis critical so that it contributes to the economic development aspirations of the country.
On her part, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI)director of business environment and policy advocacy MadalitsoMandiwa Kazembe said the strategy is a welcome development, adding that appropriate and targeted interventions are critical for its success.
“If appropriately implemented, the impact to the rural areas would be signant with multiplier effects. The benefits will not only be to the cooperatives themselves, but the community as a whole.
“The whole economy will benefit through job and wealth creation. As such, introduction of new technologies, new products and new market information to the rural areas is key.”
Among the challenges that affect rural industrialisation include availability of skilled personnel and ability to pay them; utilities such as electricity and water connection; ability to consistently supply raw materials.
The National Rural Industrialisation Strategy seeks to provide a framework for a coordinated approach among government ministries, departments and agencies and non-State actors.
The strategy emphasises the promotion and implementation of processing and value addition efforts targeted at cooperative societies and SMEs.
The ministry admitted that previous interventions on promotion of rural industrialisation have been disjointed and targeted beneficiaries at the lowest level in the value chain.