Ighembe Women’s Rice Producers and Marketing Cooperative in Karonga District has bemoaned the delay by the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) to issue them a licence for their rice processing and packaging business.
Last year, Christian Aid donated a rice processing and packaging machine worth K34 million to enable the women to embrace value-addition in their rice business.
However, the women say the bureau’s delay has prevented them from sealing national and international market deals for their commodities.
In an interview yesterday, the cooperative’s chairperson Annie Chiumia said the group has rectified the shortfalls as advised by the bureau.
She said: “The cooperative wants to break through the national and international markets with value-added products to generate more money.
“The bureau told us to install a water tank at the processing facility, which we did.”
Chiumia also said the 86-member group has created jobs for surrounding communities and is paying school fees for orphans in secondary schools as part of its corporate social responsibility.
In a separate interview, Christian Aid operations manager Michael Muhagama said they supported the women to empower them economically.
He said: “We know that women play a critical role in the development of their communities.
“We hope that once MBS certifies this group, they will be able to supply their commodities to supermarkets in the country and outside.”
MBS acting public relations officer Annie Maliha asked for more time before commenting on the matter.
The cooperative produces kilombero rice.