Synthesis Agriculture, a local agricultural firm promoting production of high-value crops, has challenged farmers to produce watermelons of the desired quantity and quality to penetrate the export market.
The firm’s operations manager Aaron Chitimbe said during a watermelon production training in Lilongwe on Monday that supermarkets locally and internationally want high-value products.
He said many of the watermelons found in supermarkets are imported, which is an indication that local producers have a ready lucrative market if they produce to meet required standards; hence, the training to equip farmers with knowledge.
He said a farmer can make up to K15 million per hectare by implementing best practices in production, adding that neighbouring Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique as well as some European countries are also demanding watermelons.
“As Synthesis Agriculture, we promote the production of high-value crops which include watermelons. We have invited existing watermelon producers and prospective ones to build their production capacity to enhance production for their economic empowerment and job creation.
“We need to diversify sources of income from agriculture, the watermelons you see along our roads and other local markets are of low value and do not meet market standards for high-value markets such as supermarkets and high-end markets,” said Chitimbe.
One of the participants, Patricia Siyamanda, a teacher at Bangwe Day Secondary School in Blantyre, said the training has equipped her with information on available markets for watermelons.
Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) has recently been challenging farmers to seize existing farm produce export markets, observing that Malawi has better organic crops that are on high demand globally.