China-Africa Textile Company says its $80 million (K61 billion) textile project in Salima needs government intervention to start production.
The firm’s general manager Shi Jingran said in an interview on Tuesday they are ready to roll out textile production, but lack of electricity is a setback.
He said machinery installation on one of the five lines of production, requiring 800 kilowatts (kW) of power is almost completed and ready to start production end August.
“The machinery will require 3 100kW for the five production lines producing 30 to 40 metric tonnes (MT) of yarn.
“We urge government to speedily introduce ‘zoning’ system of cotton production whereby companies will be given zones to invest inputs and buy from rather than indiscriminate buying which promotes side-buying at the expense of investing in farmers,” said Shi.
He said zoning will enhance cotton output from the less than 10 000MT to satisfy the China-Africa Textile Company’s capacity at 40 000MT a year.
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Principal Secretary Grey Nyandule said low cotton output is the challenge Malawi faces and not necessarily zoning.
“China-Africa Textile should engage Cotton Council and other stakeholders with suggestions on how to enhance cotton production of which zoning maybe one solution. “This is a collective responsibility to enhance production to meet the demand,” he said.