Govt moves in to revive idle factory shells run by cooperatives

By Chisomo Phiri

Minister of industry Roy Kachale Banda says his ministry is going to take deliberate steps to ensure that all factory shells provided to communities under cooperative initiative are operating to fulfill objectives the facilities were established for.

Kachale said the Tonse government administration is concerned that some factory shells provided to cooperatives under programs One Village One Product remain idle, years after they were constructed hence the decision to push for their operationalization.

He made the remarks in Blantyre on Wednesday when he toured Mankhamba Bee Keeping and Kunthembwe Producers and Marketing Limited Cooperatives to appreciate the progress of activities at the two institutions which despite having the facilities to enable them add value to agricultural products before selling, they are yet to start using the facilities due to absence of electricity and reliable water sources among other challenges.
” We will invite Ministry of responsible for energy and ESCOM to a roundtable discussion on what we can do to expedite the process to bring electricity to the facilities”, said Kachale.

The minister has also disclosed that soon, his ministry will identify experts to train cooperatives on how best they can process their products to meet the desired quality as well as imparting them with business business management skills which seem to be a common challenge among cooperatives.
Mankhamba Bee Keeping has a warehouse but need machinery and electricity to start processing and add value to honey they produce while Kunthembwe despite having a warehouse and equipment for processing groundnuts into cooking oil and groundnuts flour, processing is not taking place due to absence of electricity at the facility years after applying to ESCOM.

Value Addition has been put as one of key areas of focus for the attainment of the country’s long-term objective of ” an inclusively wealthy nation” under the Malawi 2063 agenda.