Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Francis Kasaila says the commissioning of dry mangoes factory at Malawi Mangoes company in Salima District is set to boost mango exports that will help the country realise foreign exchange and create jobs.
The minister said this when he commissioned the dry mangoes processing factory yesterday in Salima.
He applauded the company for considering value-addition approach to mangoes for export which he said is in line with government’s export strategy.
Said Kasaila: “The breakthrough in the Indian market, which is one of the worlds largest markets for mangoes, will significantly contribute to the fulfilment of the Malawian export diversification strategy and an immediate opportunity to address the current trade deficit Malawi is experiencing with India. More importantly, it will help to create jobs and wealth thereby reducing poverty”.
Malawi is yet to exploit her significant untapped export potential across diverse products, estimated at $333.5 million (about K246 billion), a development that is contributing towards the country’s worsening trade performance, according to the International Trade Centre (ITC).
Figures from the National Statistical Office (NSO) show that the country’s trade deficit has been running at roughly K300 billion, on average, over a seven-year period, which is about 8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Malawi Mangoes general manager Charlie Leaper appealed for government to consider discussing with the Indian government to apply standard duty charged on mango exports saying as per trade agreement, products from least developed countries such as Malawi pay reasonable duty.
“Duty into the Indian market was anticipated to be 16 percent as producers from least developed country in Africa but we are subjected to around 28 to 30 percent of duty on our products into India which is why we engaged the minister to intervene,” he said.
In reaction,Kasaila pledged to follow relevant channels to engage the Indian government on the matter.
Leaper said this is his company’s first commercial year where it will be exporting about 150 metric tonnes of mangoes to India ,adding that 50 percent is coming from smallholder farmers and 50 percent from the company’s fields.
In an earlier interview with Business News, MCCCI chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira said introducing incentives into the no gone areas for industries and consulting concerned stakeholder before implementing government policies would help encourage economic diversification by industries.
Established in 2011, the company, according to Leaper, employs about 300 people working at the factory and farms and plans to employ 300 more to enhance harvesting and processing of mangoes for export. n