Mtalimanja Holdings Limited (MHL) has said the $185 million (K10 billion) rice milling plant in Nkhotakota—which is aimed at reviving and transforming the production of rice—would benefit 10 000 farmers and cooperatives.
In an interview ahead of the commissioning of the plant, MHL managing director David Kamchacha said the company, through the milling plant, aims to promote and empower farmers.
He said the company, whose main focus is agriculture, sees potential in small scale farmers in attaining great strides in agriculture if proper support is rendered to them.
“We have dedicated this milling company as a readily available production instrument for farmers. Currently, we are moving towards having them organised into cooperatives and strengthening the existing cooperatives,” he said, adding that farmers would be given an opportunity to hold shares in the cooperatives.
The company, according to Kamchacha, will offer pre-season contracts to farmers covering an area of 10 000 hectares and the initiative would extend to other districts.
Meanwhile, famers and traditional leaders in Nkhata Bay, Karonga, Kasungu and Dowa have already been engaged for the project.
Kamchacha said the farmers will be trained and provided with new technologies, irrigation systems so that they grow at least two to three crops in a year and increase productivity leading to increased income per household.
“Studies have revealed that despite the significance of the sector to the economy, it is still characterised by low input, low output subsistence farming emanating from lack of serious investments but we intend to scale up efforts to and this,” he said.
The factory, he said, is currently in its final stage as engineers are making their final touches on the machinery.
He said: “Meanwhile, installation of the plant is 95 percent done. Most works have been completed, electric poles and a transformer have been installed. However, we will install a bigger transformer, funds willing.”
In the meantime, the company is also working to find means to finance its sugar milling company due to lack of capacity.