MALAWI – Pyxus Agriculture Limited, Malawian processor focusing on value addition of groundnuts and sunflower, has opened a new ground nut processing plant with a daily processing capacity of 50,000 metric tonnes.

President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, while officially opening the facility, lauded the investment indicating it’s in line with key pillars of the country’s long-term vision – Malawi2063 i.e., Agricultural Productivity, Commercialization and Industrialization.

“My administration remains committed to ensuring that we open opportunities to all serious investors who will support the mechanization of our Agriculture sector and help us to achieve increased exports, job creation and more forex into the economy,” said Chakwera.

Malawi has prioritized industrialization to promote value addition for agricultural products, with focus on key crops such as groundnut, which will boost export trade and ensure foreign exchange earnings.

The plant, touted as the largest groundnut shelling plant on the African continent outside South Africa, is expected to create close to 2,000 jobs and engage over 30,000 farmers.

In readiness for fruitification of the venture, Pyxus has made upfront investment in irrigation, mechanization and multiplication of the new varieties to give farmers better yields.

The company has also set up strategies to help the contracted smallholder farmers with access to loans from some local commercial banks as well as providing extension services which also forms part of the value addition mechanism.

Pyxus managing director Ronald Ngwira said, “We have over 150 well trained extension officers training farmers on a daily basis to get better yields and better quality.

“We have installed traceability systems, loan management system and distribution systems with the intention of expanding our farmer base to 30,000 farmers in the near future.”

Ngwira, however, urged government to create a groundnut council, engage with other countries to unlock marketing opportunities and collaborate with the private sector on reviewing regulations that impede investors.

The Malawian subsidiary of United Kingdom-based company Pyxus Agriculture Holding Limited, commenced operations in the Southern African country April in 2019 with a base investment of US$11 million.

By the end of that year, the company had announced that it will invest US$50 million (about K37 billion) in Malawi’s agriculture sector in the next five years.

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