Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) says local exporters in agribusiness have an opportunity to export their products to the European Union (EU) market.
In a statement issued on Friday, Mitc, the country’s one-stop service centre, said it has received trade inquiries from a potential Dutch firm which has expressed interest to buy edible nuts, dried fruits, seeds, pulses and grains from Malawi provided the exporters meet the requirements for the EU market.
The prospective buyer, according to Mitc, is interested to buy dried fruits such as mangoes, apples, ginger, pineapples, bananas, seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, grains, including beans, corn and oats, and nuts, including almonds, cashews, macadamia and groundnuts.
In a written response yesterday, Mitc chief executive officer Paul Kwengwere said export-ready farmers and companies need to take advantage of the explored market opportunities.
He said: “We are encouraging those that are interested in exploring this opportunity to first of all know and understand the EU market requirements because we know for one to export to Europe they have to meet certain market requirements that are established by law and of course consumer requirements.”
Kwengwere said for example, exporters need to know issues of quality and standards, understand labelling and packaging, intellectual property and the General Data Protection Regulation.
“They also have to make sure that they have enough production capacity for the product.” he said.
But Farmers Union of Malawi chief executive officer Jacob Nyirongo while applauding the development, said it is doubtful that the country has individuals and firms that have the demanded commodities at the required quality and volumes.
He said: “This is the case because as a country we are not taking a pro-active role in positioning our agriculture system to take advantage of opportunities like these. Our production is still subsistence, rudimentary and less commercialised.
“As a result, we get overwhelmed when opportunities like these arise. It is, therefore, not surprising to note that the country is failing to exploit opportunities that are under Africa Growth Opportunity Act and the recent South Sudan deal.”
Nyirongo said the country needs more pro-active agricultural production systems that should be able to take advantage of opportunities like these ones through the development and strengthening of public producer and private partnerships.
Mitc has since identified a financing opportunity that Malawian firms can access through the AgriFI Facility under the European Development Financing Institutions.