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Serious reflections on farming as business

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Politics of fertiliser subsidy P4 Examining post harvest losses P36

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Special pullout the nation 29 AUGUST 2013

Serious reflections on farming as business


These are the hot institutions that are raising the bar in the agriculture sector:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Agas Alliance One Blue Zone Cepa Charter Insurance Demeter Agriculture Limited quipment and E Parts ETG FAO

by Levi Zeleza Manda, PhD, managing editor and communication consultant for the Journal of Development and Communication Studies

7. 8. 9.

10. Funwe Farm Limited 11. Mahindra 12. Malawi Mangoes 13. Monsanto 14. Nasfam 15. NRC 16. Pannar Seed 17. Peacock Seeds 18. Promat 19. Safintra 20. Toppers 21. Universal Industries 22. World Vision

ntil about 1994, agriculture was the bedrock of Malawis economic progress, job security and political stability. Despite positive developments in the mining sector, official statistics still indicate that agriculture contributes about 40 percent to Malawis gross domestic product (GDP), is a source of 83 percent of foreign exchange and is responsible for over 30 percent of economic growth. Over 90 percent of the countrys rural population feeds itself from its smallholdings. For the majority of Malawian families, farmland has been passed down through hereditary structures for generations. As the number of families grows, the customary farmland is re-parceled over and over such that as at present, it is estimated that most farming households in rural areas cultivate less than 0.5 hectares using crude Before Christ (BC) implements. Malawis farmland is tired and virtually unproductive. To ensure productivity, Malawis agricultural land needs a lot of chemical and organic fertilisation and other appropriate husbandry practices. This is why the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) has been so expensive. Despite having Fisp, most smallholder farmers harvest barely enough to feed themselves. Understandably, Fisp has been unable to help farmers to engage in agriculture as a business. Logically, a farming family must feed itself before it can sell any of its farm produce and products. But this does not mean that it is impossible for local farmers to engage in farming as business or that agriculture cannot drive an economy. It can be done and it has been recognised by the World Bank and others as a major source of economic growth in Africa and Asia and other developing areas. There are many ways this can be achieved without necessarily looking for more land. Let us just look at three ways.

Mechanising the agriculture sector is the way to go if Malawi is to improve its economic fortunes
The first and obvious one is mechanisation of agriculture. It is surprising that while development policy documents acknowledge that agriculture is the main driver of the countrys economy, little, if anything has been invested in high agricultural production. Attempts have been made to procure farm tractors to ease the tilling of land and wean farmers from the tediousness of hoeing. Media reports indicate that in 2011, India loaned Malawi 177 tractors and 144 maize shellers worth $55 million and $ 40 million for a sugar processing plant under the Greenbelt Initiative. Since then, no further news has been heard about theses national assets. But this is the kind of investment Malawi needs. Farming as business can only work where agriculture is mechanised and commercialised. This does not mean that smallholder farmers will be forsaken and ignored. Already, the sugarcane industry is experimenting with the commercialisation of smallholder sugar producers at Dwangwa, Nchalo and Limphasa. The smallholder sugar producers are supported with machinery, inputs and quality control mechanisms to ensure the cane produced is of good quality. Illovo Sugar (Malawi) Limited buys the sugar cane from the smallholder farmers. This model needs to be scaled up to cover tobacco, cotton, soya, groundnut, sunflower, rubber and other cash crops. The much touted government and private sector agreements should result in the private sector buying processing equipment to ensure that the country exports processed products. Obviously, there is need for training in quality control along each agricultural product value chain from the farm to the processing plant, through the market to the table. Kenya is known more for its tourism sites than its agriculture, but that countrys trade in fresh vegetables and flowers earns it an estimated $ 3 million per day. While the flowers and vegetables are handled, processed and transported by large corporations with links to foreign markets, the PAGE 3

ARCHIVE FAST
Government has put aside K60.1 billion for Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) targeting 1.5 million farmers Agriculture provides employment to 80 percent of Malawis workforce and rakes in 83 percent of its forex

FACTS

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special essay

Making agriculture sector vibrant


PAGE 2 local farmers are at the core of production. The farmers are organised in cooperatives and sell their crops to the corporations as groups. Exporting raw agricultural materials and importing processed products into the country is an unsound economic policy that must be thrown into the trash without any apology to the drafters. Kenyas fresh vegetable and flower business is a leading example of how to turn agriculture into business. History records indicate mechanisation and industrialisation were key to the development of Europe, America, Japan and now mainland Asia. While WW Rostows economic development model has been faulted for being too simplistic, development economists are still grappling with models and case studies of societies that have developed without passing through the agricultural mechanisation, industrialisation and commercialisation stage. Secondly, there is need for Malawi to identify agroecological zones where specific crops and animals would be produced and processed. For instance, the LilongweKasungu-Mzimba area could be a tobacco production and processing zone. Smallholder and large farmers in these areas would concentrate on this crop. The KarongaRumphi-Nkhata-Bay-Nkhota kota zone could be dedicated to rice and cassava production and processing, the ZombaMulanje-Thyolo area would specialise in the production of tea and bananas. The Lower Shire Valley would be dedicated to cotton production. In these areas, relevant industries would be established. This means that value chains, with allied quality control mechanisms, research institutes and other expertise would also have to be established. Transportation and storage infrastructure would also have to be established. Some of these proposals are also contained in Bingu wa Mutharikas The African Dream, a book that many politicians prefer to ignore at their own peril. In that book, Mutharika argues that Malawi does not need a lot of land to produce food for its growing population. Hence, the idea of establishing greenbelts along and around Malawis water bodies where food crops such

Malawi should invest substantially in irrigation farming to beat climate change


as maize would be produced twice or thrice in a year. Maximisation of per unit area of land is the answer. Thirdly, farming as a business entails procuring quality seed. India, China, the USA, Argentina and South Africa, to mention only these countries, have expanded their agricultural production using biotechnology which is grossly misunderstood and associated with genetically modified organisms (GMO) in Malawi. Biotechnological engineering has been influential in producing crops and animals that are disease and pest resistant, high yielding and responsive to climate change. While producing food crops farmed using biotechnologically engineered seed has been a subject of virulent debate and protestation among food puritanists, biotech engineered cash crops have helped many Third World farmers to improve their agribusinesses. India improved its smallholder farmer cotton output because of biotechnology; Argentina improved its soya production because of biotechnology and the US and Chinese are maize production giants because of biotechnology. Egypt, South Africa and Burkina Faso are some of the countries in Africa that allowed full-time biotech propelled agricultural production. Rarely do people talk of hunger and famine in these

Every year, Malawian farmers lose several tonnes of fruits due to lack of relevant technologies to preserve them
countries although Egypt has only the Nile River as a source of fresh water for its 85.5 million inhabitants. Thus now that bio-safety mechanisms, policies and laws are in place, Malawi must start to responsibly use biotechnology to improve its crop and animal production so that the surplus is sold on international markets. In short, Malawis Ulimi ndi Chuma or farming is wealth should graduate from low to high production; from low quality to high quality; from local and village markets to international markets; and from individual farmers selling their raw products along the high street stalls and open weekly markets to farmers selling their crops and animals in groups to government approved organisations that will process and add value before sending the same to international markets. The role of the government is to come up with a coherent, reasonable, and progressive agribusiness policy. That should have been done yesterday, but it is better to do so today rather tomorrow.

PHOTOGRAPHS: Nation Library

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Special pullout the nation 29 AUGUST 2013

Politics of fertiliser subsidy


Christopher Jimu Staff Reporter
t is not yet harvest time at Mitundu in Lilongwe Rural, but village headman Lukwas maize crop looks dry and stunted. The traditional leader fears he may not be able to feed himself and his five children this year. Lukwa, who spent a considerable amount of money on casual labourers to till his land, is worried that the yield will not last until the next harvest season. He says he will have to ask for support from some of his children working abroad or rely on piecework to feed his family. Yet,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Lukwa was among the 1.4 million smallholder farmers who benefitted from the 2011/12 Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp). He, however, states that he is against the subsidy programme because it enhances dependency. Most village heads and local leaders are now worried. If, for example, you tell government officials that 50 people in your village need subsidised fertiliser and at the end of the day, only 20 get the coupons, the rest feel sidelined, he said. Lukwa, who was accompanied by village headman Kalira, proposed that government should revert to the old system where farm inputs were being distributed through farmers clubs. Said Kalira: I was nearly beaten by my subjects last year because the coupons were only enough for few prospective beneficiaries. My own cousin accused me of being corrupt because I didnt give him a coupon. The matter has just been resolved last week. I feel government should revive farmers clubs. The subsidy programme, a brainchild of late former president Bingu wa Mutharika, was first implemented in 2005 after several years of drought and chronic food shortages left nearly a quarter of the population hungry. Most small-scale farmers, who account for about 80 percent of the countrys agricultural production, grow maize, Malawis staple crop. Mutharika thought he could graduate Malawi from food hand-outs to a food secure nation by subsidising maize seed and fertiliser for the poorest 50 percent of farmers.

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A farmer takes his farm inputs home


The government credits the programme as having contributed significantly to the bumper maize harvests that gave the country a surplus and contributed to its strong economic growth. There is little doubt that the subsidies have greatly improved food security and helped reduce the number of Malawians living below the poverty line from 60 percent in 2004 to less than 45 percent in 2009. But a number of smallholder farmers we spoke to in Lilongwe said they either did not qualify for the programme or received less inputs to make a significant difference to their yields. Several others said they received only one 50 kilogramme bag, which they had to share with another farmer. As the programme goes into its eighth year, there are also growing concerns about its sustainability and the extent to which it has diverted attention and resources from other initiatives that could help farmers such as Kalira and Lukwa. The cost of inputs and transporting the same to farmers countrywide has risen steeply in recent years. For instance, by 2008/09, the programme was draining 16 percent of the National Budget and nearly seven percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Recently, Ministry of Agriculture officials announced that they will be using vehicle surveillance systems as one way of fighting theft and diversions of Fisp products. Last year, some bags purported to be containing fertiliser were filled with sand. Despite these and several other challenges, government has this year increased the monetary allocation to the programme to K60 billion. Recently, some opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) accused government of turning the subsidy programme into a breeding ground for corruption. Other programmes are not getting as much attention and funding .Were forgetting all the other problems that affect farmers and putting a band aid on them, said an opposition legislator in Parliament. As if concurring with the legislators, the Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) also accused government of mismanaging Fisp. According to Mejn, the auditors report for the year ending June 30 2011 revealed that 397 metric tonnes of fertiliser valued at K35 038 400 disappeared on the way from Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) to Admarc markets in Ntcheu and Lilongwe districts between October and November 2007. Mejn executive director Dalitso Kubalasa said it was worrisome that despite such malpractices, nobody has been taken to task. What is worrisome is that despite huge sums of money being lost, no penalty or sanction is given or meted to anyone found in the wrong so that the situation is corrected, said Kubalasa. During a national review workshop on the 2011/2012 subsidy programme, former minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Professor Peter Mwanza, admitted that fuel shortages, corruption and overpricing of farm inputs by some market centres were some of the major challenges Fisp encountered last season. About 1.4 million people benefited from Fisp in the 2011/2012 financial last year. So, if what farmers and other officials are saying is anything to go by, there is need for an exit strategy from the subsidy programme and find better sustainable ways of making fertiliser available to all farmers.

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ETG stringing local agricultural economies to the world


FATSANI GUNYA Correspondent
Time has come when one cannot flip through the pages of strides Malawi has made in its agricultural industry without finding the name Export Trading Group (ETG) highlighted somewhere. The group, with its more than three decades experience in building regional agribusiness supply chains in the worlds fastest growing markets, has managed to extend its operations to procurement, processing, warehousing, transport, distribution and merchandising. From agro-processing to exports, ETG registers its presentation in them all. One of the fundamental pieces of the groups success story is its ability to procure commodities at farm gate level and store them close to the point of origin until sufficient mass has been reached to make transportation commercially viable. In this regard, ETC owns 25 warehouse and 47 rented rural depots with a total storage capacity of 275 000 metric Monsanto is an American agro based company. It is operating in almost all the continents in the world. It specialises in biotechnology, herbicides and hybrid seed for maize, cotton, soya beans, canola and vegetables. Monsanto (Malawi) is currently providing hybrid maize seed and herbicides such as Round up and Bullet. It is also putting up a programme to start producing and selling cotton seed in the country. Monsanto offers different seed varieties for farmers. The hybrid seed maize is offered in three maturity categories from early maturing to medium and late maturing varieties. The early maturing varieties are the ones that mature between 90 and 115 days. These include NSCM 41, DK 8031 and DKC 8033. The yield potential for early maturing varieties is in range of seven to nine metric tons per hectare. Medium maturing varieties, on the other hand, are the ones that mature between 120 and 135 days and currently, Monsanto is offering DKC8053, DKC9053 and DKC 9089. For medium maturing varieties, the yield potential ranges from eight to 10 metric tons per hectare. Late maturing varieties mature between 135 and 145 days. DKC 8073 is one example of late maturing seed varieties that the company is offering. For tons. An extensive logistic and infrastructure network enables ETG to efficiently store commodities close to their point of origin, and strategically move them between regions to match global consumption patterns. In this way, the group takes smallholder produce from emerging markets to the supermarket shelves of the world. The groups global footprint extends to India, South East Asia, Europe, North and South America. In all, it is present in 42 countries, 26 of which are in Africa. The group has a workforce of over 7 000. Their commodity portfolio ranges from white maize, soya beans, pigeon peas, groundnuts, rice, beans, sunflower and cow peas. ETG goes a step further by producing other products such as maize flour which it trades under a brand, Super Ufa. The group is also behind the production of corn-soy blend (CSB) which is a processed commodity used by aid organisations as an effective protein source in areas and countries of nutritional deficit. ETG has CSB plants in Malawi. TSP (Tasty Soya Pieces) is one of the major processed snack foods products which are manufactured under the Seba brand at Lilongwe Seba Food Plant. ETG does not only mind the welfare of consumers of its food products, it also minds the health of the soil from which food crops are grown. In 2007, ETG established an in-house fertiliser brand called Falcon. Today, Falcon has become the most recognised fertiliser brand in Malawi because of its high quality, steady supply and affordable pricing. The range of high quality Falcon fertiliser include Urea, NPK, CAN, SA, D-compound and others. All in all, ETG is associated with leading brands such as Golden Goodness TSP , Sebas Tasty Soya pieces, Super UFA, Naturz Pulses, Golden Goodness Oil, Super Puffs and others. Their business philosophy remains to empower smallholders to become active participants in the growth of the African economy. The group is also engaged in contract farming practices with a holistic approach in a number of African countries. Meanwhile, the holding is in the process of establishing a formal foundation, namely EFF (ETG Farmer Foundation) specifically for this purpose. But it is in the agribusiness rural development where ETG seems to score some marks. Its extension services, farming for business and mechanisation aspects of the components can be arguably said to be second to none. But above all, ETG deserves a pat on the back as it takes time off its busy schedule to give back to the community through various initiatives in its tailored corporate social responsibilities. The activities include supporting health and education in communities. Since it subscribes to the United Nations Millennium Goals, the company can be said to aim at: Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, Achieving universal primary education for all children Promoting gender equality and empower women, Reduce child mortality, Improve maternal health, Combat HIV and Aids, malaria and other diseases. ETG has since partnered with government and local communities to help achieve this. For example, ETG contributes towards better health care especially for expectant mothers and this has seen a tremendous reduction of maternal and child mortality. They also recently donated hospital beds for patients at Mponela Hospital. Education is the key to life. Hence, ETG rightly contributes towards its promotion by distributing learning equipment and materials to different schools in the country, including Thawira Primary School. The group helps with tuition fees for a considerable number of bright underprivileged students to realise their dreams. What a business partner ETG has proved to be over the ages; and from the look of things, it may be for life, too!

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Monsanto offering quality hybrid seeds and herbicides


and Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM), Agora, Peoples Trading Centre (PTC and Mac Connell), Chipiku, Agriculture Trading Centre (ATC) and Aisam agro-dealers to mention a few. The seed company has a vibrant field and plant production team that ensures that we are conforming to Monsanto and governments set production quality standards. All production processes are ISO 9001 accredited. The plant site is also accredited with one of the highest safety accreditation standards in the world called OSHAS. The seed is certified by governments Seed Services Unit from the field up to processing. Monsanto also has its own laboratory where quality check is done parallel to the government laboratory in order to be proactive in the quality checks.
PHOTOGRAPH: courtsey of monsanto

Monsanto seed in a warehouse


DKC 8073, the yield potential is between 11 to 14 metric tons per hectare. All the varieties are resistant and tolerant to almost of maize diseases such as grey leaf-spot, northern leaf blight, rust and maize streak virus. The grain quality ranges from hard dent to flint for the Monsanto hybrids and have good drought tolerance and standability attributes. The breeding of the parent lines of the hybrids is done in South Africa where Monsanto has a breeding centre. There is a feedback programme through the companys technical development department on the kind of varieties to be bred according to requirements from farmers where information is collected during field days and other gatherings. The seed multiplication exercise is done in Malawi through a contract growing programme with a number of selected Malawian farmers. The seed is certified by the Seed Services Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. All the seed is processed and packed in Malawi. Monsanto has a state of art processing plant with the capacity of processing over 15 000 metric tonnes per season. The packaging materials are sourced locally, but chemicals are imported within the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries. Locally, Monsanto employs over 150 temporary workers at peak period of processing. The selling system is through contracting out of distributors throughout the country. Monanto is currently dealing with Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc), Smallholder Farmers

Our Contacts
Paul Chimimba-Country Manager +265 999 964 004 Dalitso Gadama- Financial Controller +265 999 950 385 Daniel Dandalo- Supply Manager +265 999 202 011 Denis Kachikho-Sales Officer (South) +265 999 510 463 Jacqueline Juma-Makako-Sales Officer(Central) +265 999 964 087 Samson Munthali Sales Officer(North) +265 999 511 573. Reception numbers:+265 1 710144/106/285 /689 Fax numbers: +265 1 713 547 / +265 1 710334

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Mike Chipalasa Correspondent
A total population of 12 million sheep and goats in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia and 50 million in Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries are at great risk of Peste des Petit Ruminants (PPR), a disease that attacks small ruminants. FAO is currently partnering the three countries to prevent further spread of the disease through the regional Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) of the sub-regional office for southern Africa in Harare. Speaking during the opening ceremony of the regional inception workshop meeting that took place from July 29 to 31 2013 in Mangochi, Malawi, on Capacity Building to Prevent PPR Introduction into Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Dr. James Munthali commended FAO for initiating and supporting the project to prevent the spread of the disease in the three countries. The minister expressed optimism for Malawi and other countries to control and eventually eradicate PPR with the help of development partners such as FAO. The Government of Malawi will also continue to work with

Special pullout the nation 29 AUGUST 2013

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FAO fighting small ruminant plague


Angola and the DRC - to the meeting to share their experiences in dealing with the disease and their expertise on how to prevent and contain it from further spreading down south. The TCP project is based on the collaboration of the three countries together with FAO and will run for a two-year period from 2013 to 2015. The project encapsulates five outputs, namely: improve knowledge and awareness; enhance capacity for rapid diagnosis and control of PPR; national and regional early warning and preparedness; provide reagents, vaccine bank and other diagnostic materials to Sadc countries; conduct socio-economic studies and provide information to all stakeholders for decisionmaking and cross-border disease control mechanisms including operational backstopping. At the end of the meeting, delegates drafted recommendations, resolutions and a road map to ensure a common, efficient and synergised approach to TCP implementation in the three countries.

FAO wants to contain diseases in small ruminants such as these


our neighbouring countries in the region and not only with FAO national and regional offices and other partners to improve and sustain the growth of livestock in the region, Munthali said. Assistant FAO representative Alick Nkhoma described PPR as a major risk to livestock development and assured the minister and delegates that FAO will continue to offer technical support against any threats to food security. Any threat to national and regional food security should be dealt with, said Nkhoma, adding the FAO has been involved in ensuring crossborder disease controls and will continue to live up to its mandate. PPR, also referred to as Small Ruminant Plaque, was first spotted in the Ivory Coast in 1942 and confirmed in Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria while Sudan was hit by the disease in 1972. By 2008, it had spread further south to Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania. Malawi, Mozambique and Zambiaas countries at risksought FAOs technical assistance to prevent its spread and invited neighbouring infected countries Tanzania,

Promats 43 years of dedicated service to MWs economic heart


FATSANI GUNYA Correspondent
As Malawi celebrates 50 years of independence from Britain next year, it is inevitable that the news will generate much excitement. In a country where agriculture forms the backbone of its economy, the sector can never be excluded on the numerous strides Malawi may have made over the years. No wonder it attracts numerous players; and rightly so. For Malawi to achieve selfsufficiency in food and cash crops production, commercial farming under piped irrigation must be promoted by all stakeholders including government. Deliberate policies are slowly being crafted to achieve this. But at the pinnacle of almost every agricultural activity, lies water; as life itself is said to be non-existent without it. With the many developments happening around, so comes the challenge to provide enough for the growing population. And unlike the yester-years, today, a considerable amount of the population drinks potable water; but as health experts say, the figures remain dismal. Holding their head up high among those who have significantly contributed to the green success of this country is Promat. This is the brand that has been associated with the countrys health, sanitation and agricultural areas since almost time immemorial. Even at the very heart of the countrys commercial irrigation farming, though currently at infant stage, the name Promat stands out. Its managing director Elijah Kumwenda says one needs to be cautious during such times as counterfeits are easily mistaken with originals. A locally owned firm headquartered at Kanengo Industrial Area in Lilongwe, Promat was established some 43 years ago and used to trade under the banner of Pipe Extruders Limited before changing it to the current name in 1994. Promat was also the first company in Malawi to partner with Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) in the mid 70s in the promotion of quality control and assurance in Malawi. Hence it was the first company to be awarded an MBS quality permit in any field of endeavour in 1978. According to Kumwenda, the labour demand inflates to around 120 during peak periods. The move provides employment for locals who in turn stand to improve their livelihoods. There are times when the demand in our products is almost overwhelming for our workforce. This is the time when we hire some extra workforce to meet the requirements, he says. The company, boasting of a skilled workforce of 105 full time employees, can now brag to be arguably the leader in PVC pipe manufacturing and supplies in Malawi. Its product lines include: Rigid PVC pipes for potable water pipelines and irrigation systems, borehole casings and screens, PVC Sewer/Drain pipes for the building and construction industry, Conduit pipes for electrical and telephone cable ducting, HDPE pipes for potable water schemes and irrigation systems, Solvent Cement and Cleaning fluid and lubricants. Promat also fabricates PVC pipe fittings which are used to connect pipelines. It also fabricates on special request other PVC articles such as animal feed troughs and fruit juice extractors. Besides the aforementioned products, Promat also imports, on its customers request, other types of pipes and fittings such as GI pipes, etc, from reputable foreign suppliers, mainly South African manufacturers. Other imported products that the company distributes include Marley rainwater guttering systems, sewer and drain nonpressure fittings, injection mounded or compression molded pressure pipe fittings and reinforced hosepipes. Today, Promat continues to make internationally accepted high quality pipes to Malawi standards MS 617 for PVC and MS 374 for HDPE pipes, respectively. We are currently working with MBS towards realising ISO 90012008 QMS certification. But what gives Promat a competitive edge over other PVC goods manufacturers within Malawi and even beyond? There are many factors, says Cuthbert Kampeni, the firms factory manager. One of them being that Promat is now making lead free pipes. This is important because studies carried out in some countries overseas have shown that PVC pipes incorporating certain levels of lead or cadmium based heat stabilisers may contribute to poisoning of drinking water and soils in little quantities over a long time, he says. He adds that in the longterm, such heavy metals may also adversely affect the health of PVC pipe factory employees and their continued use is generally discouraged overseas. Hence in our quest to contribute more positively to human health and protection of the environment, we resorted to quitting the use of leadbased heat stabilisers in our pipe-manufacturing and neither is the chemical used elsewhere along our production line. Apart from being profit-oriented as a business, we feel duty-bound to help our clients make informed decisions and thereby helping in protecting their health, Kampeni affirmed. His managing director Kumwenda snaps: We dont want to mention that we are also using some newly- acquired state-of-the-art machinery; or do we? The company has three ownoperated distribution points across the country; one in each region. Apart from its head office at Kanengo in Lilongwe, customers can easily access Promat products at Magalasi in Blantyre near Chirimba Industrial Estate in the Southern Region while Chitaya Building, located opposite Select and Save in Mzuzu houses the companys retail shop for those in the North.

PHOTOGRAPH: BRIGHT KUMWENDA

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Demeter leaders in legumes production


Demeter Agriculture Limited (DAL) is a Malawian seed producing and processing company. It is a subsidiary of Farmers World Group of Companies. It is one of the fastest growing seed companies and leads in legume seed production and processing. The company was started in 2004 with its corporate head office at Kanengos Central and East African Railway premises in Lilongwe. The core business is production and processing of certified maize and legumes for sale to Malawian farmers through Farmers World and Agora branches which are sister companies. Of late, the company has developed the agro-dealer network all over the country to satisfy the growing demand for its seed products. DAL began nine years ago and what occurred is rather extraordinary growth of the seed business. We were born dedicated to purposeful produce both maize and legume seed through company farms and out-grower schemes. We continuously learn to pay attention to details whether in field production

Key Business Contacts


Dimitri Giannakis Managing Director Mobile: +265999822873 Land: +2651710 126/518 Email: dgiannakis@farmersworld.net Dr. Francis Maideni General Manager Mobile: +265999143880 Land: +2651710941 Email: fmaideni@farmersworld.net Thandize Loti Senior marketing and Operations manager Mobile: +265992962029 Land: +2651710941 Email: tloti@farmerswold.net

Groundnuts have a huge market in Europe


and processing for the market. Nine years later, we continue to evolve and finetune the details, setting the standard for better handling, improved processing, increased brand awareness and strive to be supreme in serving Malawian farmers needs. Mission To strive for a distinguished position in the southern Africa seed industry by being a trendsetter in provision of high quality seeds of export potential to farmers. DAL employs 36 permanent employees and about 300 causal labourers during peak periods of processing. Pipeline projects DAL is now embarking contract farming for export with a special focus on red speckled sugar beans, small white canning beans, large white kidney beans, small Spanish groundnuts, cowpeas and India type pigeon peas.

PHOTOGRAPH: BRIGHT KUMWENDA

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Kapichira Banda farmer extraordinaire


Christopher Jimu Staff Reporter

EPS gets to the base of economic development


FATSANI GUNYA Correspondent
Since their inception in the country, they have been known as Trucks and Car Breakers, now they have added Equipment and Parts Suppliers (EPS) to cater for all the industrial and agricultural machinery spares and attachments; thanks to a new addition in their group of companies which now trades in various commodities apart from the motor vehicle industry. Just as they say that better late than never, EPS is now specialised in new and second hand spares for various industries from mining to road construction. But what is catchy for them is their venturing into the agricultural industry, a move they admit stands to turn around their fortunes for ages to come. Managing director Imran Ghumra said time is ripe for the company to have its own identity and start leaving a mark on the countrys economic field. Look, we have been in business for over 35 years and for sure such experience gives us some a competitive edge over others. But this time around, we have resorted to create a strong foundation in the construction and agricultural industry. Malawi cant grow without these two sectors, hence we would like to bring equipment associated with these two closer to the people, said Ghumra. The company, situated opposite the Department of Mines in Area 4, off Paul Kagame road in Lilongwe, has since started stocking agricultural machinery and parts for other heavy machinery. Original agricultural requirements such water pumps, submersible pumps, vein, mono and many others can now be accessed at their shop; all at competitive prices. Like adding an icing to the PAGE 26

armers Union of Malawi (FUM) president Alfred Kapichira Banda is a farmer through and through. As a young man, he turned down a white-collar job for farming. Today, he runs a farm at Madisi in Dowa. He was born in 1954 in Kasungu. His father, Robert Kapichira Banda was a prominent farmer and politician during the one party era. The young Banda attended Livimbo Primary School where in 1973, he was selected to Likuni Boys Secondary School. He said his inspiration came from his father who used to tell him that there was wealth in the soil. Kamuzu used to tell all his ministers that wealth was in the soil and that they should

concentrate on farming. That is exactly what my father taught me. I have been a lead farmer in my area and I want to use my experience to help other farmers to reach the level I am, says Banda. He says he started farming when he was in Standard Seven and by the time he completed his secondary education, he had mastered the art and was ready to take over from his father who by then had ventured into full time politics. His father was a Cabinet minister during the Kamuzu era and, at one point, he served as regional chairperson for the Centre. My father wanted to send me abroad to study medicine so that I become a doctor, but something kept telling me that I can still do better if I concentrate on farming. I continued to run my fathers

two farmsone at Mtiti and another one at Nkhonde when he was busy with politics, says Banda, who is now based at Nkhonde Farm. On the two farms, Banda grows maize, soya, groundnuts and beans for seed. Recently, he signed a contract with JTI to grow tobacco. He says through farming, he has built several houses; bought four vehicles and plans to expand his farms to grow more crops. My father died in 1989, but by the time he was leaving this world the houses that he left were fetching K2 500 in rentals. Today, they fetch K120 000 each in rentals. In 1989, we had five houses, but now weve got nine houses all of them built with proceeds from farming, says Banda. PAGE 26

Toppers Limited goes green


Toppers Limited is an authorised distributor of CRI Pumps in Malawi. CRI Pumps has five decades of engineering expertise in the pump industry. In keeping with its innovative spirit, CRI Pumps has now introduced solar pumping systems considering the need for water in remote areas with no power distribution and understanding the importance of using green energy. There are a number of factors that have prompted Toppers to promote the uses of alternative energy sources. Among them are the increasing demand of electricity, the high prices of oil as well as the growing concerns of the environment. From a variety of renewable energy sources, solar energy is a sustainable alternative option that can be utilised in various ways and can be used for many applications. A revolution is taking place in how water is being pumped in remote locations beyond the reach of electric power lines. Solar-electric, or photovoltaic power has proven to be an ideal way to lift water for drinking, sanitation, stock tanks and irrigation. Photovoltaic pumps have been on the market since 1980

Toppers deal in equipment such as these


and are in use all over the world. Pumping water with the suns energy is both costeffective and reliable. CRI solar pumps are developed with different materials of construction, both screw and centrifugal type. The pumps are available with different heads and flow range to meet customer requirements. Lower capacity pumps of these systems are supplied with oil filled permanent magnet, brushless DC motors and higher capacity pumps are supplied with water filled rewindable AC motors. High quality polycrystalline solar panel ensures optimum efficiency of the system. Toppers Limited

PHOTOGRAPH: courtesy of toppers

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Special pullout the nation 29 AUGUST 2013

World Visions 31-yr journey in Malawi


World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation, dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race or gender. The organisation works in nearly 100 countries and has a special focus on children. WV started operating in Malawi in 1981. It is currently implementing its programmes in 25 of the 28 districts which are in all the three administrative regions of Malawi. During the first 10 years, implementation was through Community Development Projects (CDPs). During the same period, the Development Assisting Centres (DACs) approach covering larger parts of a district was briefly implemented. From 1992 to date, WV Malawi is implementing activities through the Area Development Programme (ADP) approach in 43 programmes. WV has close and strong relationship with the government, church, interfaith groups and international and local business agencies. There is high leverage of expertise and partnership in implementation of various development interventions. All WV programmes and projects are introduced, initiated and implemented in collaboration with the local government structures from district level to the community level. Funding sources World Vision gets its funding through sponsorship and grants. Grant-funded initiatives include: Malawi Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Mwash) Project five year term (2010-2015) T i g w i r i z a n e Posamalirana Phase II focusing on HIV and Aids treatment and care Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement(Wala) Project European Commissions Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Directorate General (Dipecho)-Disaster Risk Reduction(DRR) Child Health Now Campaign Project Children in need of protection project around Lake Chilwa Mankhambira Sambizga Mwana Project (Tilitonse Fund) Ntchisi Maternal and Child Health Project (Embassy of Japan) DFID funded and Unicef managed Wash Project Child sponsorship Child sponsorship continues to be WV Malawis main approach for facilitating transformational development. It is a process through which children, families and communities identify and overcome obstacles that prevent them from living life in its fullness. Sponsorship enables World Vision to connect with families, communities and sponsors through children that are registered into sponsorship project and thereafter sponsored by donors from different countries. However, the sponsored children are not the sole beneficiaries of the programmes: equity is encouraged among both registered and non-registered children and families to ensure positive changes in the lives of the registered children and families and the broader community. Currently, there are about 133 000 children with sponsors from Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, United Kingdom and the United States. Areas of focus Through its three-year strategy, World Vision Malawi has committed to contribute to improved wellbeing of 1.5 million vulnerable children between 2013 and 2015. The organisations efforts in the next three years will be focused on the nourishment of the child, especially those under two years of age. Cognizant of the cognitive and developmental effects of malnutrition at this age, WVM has been mobilising collective action of staff, government, parents and community to prevent and manage malnutrition among this age group. Secondly, WV Malawi recognises that most of Malawis 8 million children, especially

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girls, do not enjoy the basic right to education. The organisation is also cognizant of the poor quality of education that a few children receive. Through this strategy, WV Malawi is working with strategic partners to provide the changes that will enable the education system create literate graduates at age 11 in selected areas of the country. Building on the foundation that has been laid by the 2010-2012 strategy, WV Malawi is facilitating a new focus on age appropriate literacy, learning and life skills for children, especially girls, orphans, children from extreme poverty and those with disability. The work in nutrition and education will be underpinned by a robust advocacy programme designed to ensure that children in Malawi grow in a safe and friendly environment and realise their full God-given potential.

Kapichira Banda farmer extraordinaire


PAGE 24 As FUM president, Banda says he will encourage farmers to form cooperatives where they can share experiences and speak with one voice. He also proposed the formation of crop groups which entail that farmers with similar interests form one group. For example, if a farmer grows groundnuts, he will be encouraged to be in a groundnut group and those growing maize, will form theirs. Livestock farmers, too, will be encouraged to form their own groups so that there is proper to maximise their advantages. Asked if he has ambitions to join politics, the FUM leader says his main ambition was to get a position in Agriculture Research and Extension Trust (Aret), Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) or FUM. I do not have political ambitions. My father was an accomplished politician having held several ministerial positions and to me that is enough. Having assumed the position of FUM president, I believe I can serve the country better in that capacity, he says. Banda is married with six children.

Kapichira Banda
and easy dissemination of information among them, he said. However, Banda indicated that farmers with more than one area of interest will be advised to join all the groups that appeal to their business

EPS to boost agriculture sector


PAGE 24 cake, EPS have just been appointed the official sole agencies for Lister Petter and Mono pumps in the country. This means we now stock a vast stock range of parts of different machinery and agricultural implements and has the depth equivalent to any other genuine parts distributor in the industry. Affirmed Ghumra. But in an industry almost infested with various players, some of whom may just be unscrupulous traders, Ghumra says it is always important to know the value of goods, especially at a time when it is not easy to get money. Ghumra adds that his company only stocks the best brands, hence guaranteeing current and prospective clients of getting high quality products at competitive prices. We have always believed in honesty, integrity and being loyal to our customers with on time delivery of goods, even in crucial moments. People can always count on us! he said.

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advertorial

Charter champions poultry insurance


Charter Insurance Company Limited has introduced Poultry Insurance Policy to commercial poultry farmers to protect their business when faced with unexpected hardships. The companywhich provides innovative and quality products and offers commendable services to its growing customer baseis now bringing its expertise in insurance to the poultry business. Our policy is a flexible cover tailored to the risks that could threaten the future of your business. The policy provides broad perils coverage for direct physical damage to day old chicks, pullets, layers and broilers during accidents, diseases or illnesses. For added flexibility, the cover has an extension to theft and is affordable, guaranteeing you peace of mind and compensation when faced with such perils. It is commonplace that successful poultry business is a specialised skill that requires sturdy commitment of time, expertise and resources. Farmers have to protect themselves from costly expenses while looking for new profit opportunities. It is for this reason that Charter Insurance has made the process of meeting these needs easy and affordable. Our policy cover can simply be acquired by coming to terms with a provided quotation. However, for a quotation to be issued, one will be required to provide us with their business name, details of the contact person, telephone number, physical address, breed of chicken, age of chicken, number of batches on the farm, date of batch introduction on the farm and the number of chickens per batch. Charter Insurance, based in Blantyre and Lilongwe, has over a decade insurance work experience. As a non-life insurance company, it has been operating in Malawi since 1996 and today, it is counted among the most preferred insurance companies in the country. Charter Insurance offers quality insurance products and exceptional service. We offer our products at reasonable premium rates with excellent customer care. This is why you can trust your poultry business to be in safer hands. C harter I nsurance C ompany L imited

Let Charter Insurance protect your birds

PHOTOGRAPH: nation library

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Special pullout the nation 29 AUGUST 2013

Special pullout the nation 29 AUGUST 2013

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editorial
Peacock Seeds is a seed business unit that has emerged through evolution from a poultry farm that started in 1997 at Kamphatenga in Salima to a dairy breeding and now in certified seed production, processing, marketing and distribution of Malawi Government Certified seed under Peacock Enterprises. It is a story of success talked about by one resilient Malawian who struggled for over 16 years with pride of a peacock and determination in belief that Malawi is not poor but we need to create a platform for wealth creation. Use of certified seed is key to creating wealth from the soil, water; good climate and our labour force for a food, income and export secure Malawi. The question is why use certified seeds? According to Peacock Seeds, there is a difference between a seed and a grain. What makes the difference is the process of special selection of planting materials. When grown in a controlled environment it will always produce or show desired attributes of the crop variety. The process that makes sure that happens is called certification. Certification is very

Peacock creating wealth through certified seeds


important in ensuring compliance to parameters of quality seed like generic purity, physical purity and germination ability. Using certified seeds is the only way to utilise our soils and God given climate and waters to produce wealth through agriculture. As a pre-requisite in the seed industry, you need to come up with a variety and the variety should be distinct, uniform and should be stable - in other words it should pass the DUS (Distinct, Uniform and Stable) test. Large companies are able to come up with their own varieties through research but for small companies like Peacock Seeds, we use varieties that have already been released by government or other companies under licence. The role of a seed company under certification programme and through this approach is to produce, process, and distribute the certified seeds. In our case, Peacock Seeds gets basic seeds from Chitedze

This is how Peacock seed performs


Research Station or other breeders and then multiplies it using a recommended certification process before packaging and distributing it under our brand name, Peacock Seeds, and take responsibility on quality of the seed. The keys to successful seed business like Peacock Seeds are: - first to instil confidence of the farmers in your seed. When they plant a certain seed it should have the attributes of the variety or type and this makes farmers choose your seed. The other thing is communication and marketing of the seed variety to the farmers so that they should know the attributes of the seed for them to be able to match your seed with what they are looking for, for example, high yield. There is also need for distribution to make the seed available to the farmers and the last thing is to keep records of the farmers planting your seed for reference sake.

The beauty of working in farmers clubs


Katelera is one of Salima Districts Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) with 10 major irrigation schemes and 200 farmers clubs. Mgwilizano Irrigation scheme in Ziwara Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kambwiri is one of the irrigation schemes benefiting from group work by buying certified hybrid seed at discount prices from Pannar Seed Malawi Limited. They also benefit by saving on transport costs because after buying in large quantities, Pannar Seed delivers the seed to their door step. The farming success in this area has emanated from dedicated and hard-working farmers who choose and use technologies with optimum performance. There are 15 192 active farmers in the EPA and 5 783 of them are women. These farmers are encouraged to form clubs and are facilitated and supported by the EPA office. The choice of PAN 67 came after members of Mgwilizano Irrigation Scheme unanimously selected it from Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (Aswap) demonstrations as their preferred hybrid maize seed variety. Agricultural extension development officer (Aedo) for Katelera Central Section, Martha Nkhonjera, said farmers benefit a lot from irrigation schemes like this one because they are able to farm throughout the year and it has proven to be a good way of improving food security in the country. With this arrangement, farmers access hybrid maize seed varieties of their choice on time and are able to plant with the first rains. This is beneficial to farmers who are not supported by the subsidy programme. Even those who get the subsidised maize seed are able to top up through the club, she said. While selling green maize at the irrigation scheme in Ziwara Village, chairperson of Mgwilizano Irrigation Scheme, Margaret Mgabiza, confirmed that PAN 67 is their preferred variety. She further pointed out that this variety matures earlier than other varieties; it is flint, poundable, and easy to store without any problems with weevils. Apart from what l have said above, its cob droops (hangs downwards) when dry preventing the cob from rotting in case of excessive rainfall, the chairperson of Mgwilizano scheme explained. Chipiliro Juziewelo, sales and marketing officer for Pannar Seed, commented that a lot of farmers who bought Pannar Seed this year are proud to have planted Pannar Seed, as they too have been successful and enjoyed good harvests. He said this pride that farmers feel can be attributed to the many fine features of Pannar Seed products such as PAN 67 which is drought tolerant, disease tolerant, has hard flint grain that pounds well and resists weevils thus reducing post-harvest losses. PAN 67 also performs well in low fertility soils compared to other varieties local, OPV and hybrid. This seed variety also responds very well to small amounts of fertiliser or manure and is the ideal maize seed to use in conservation farming due to its efficient use of nutrients and disease resistance ensuring that farmers enjoy the full benefits of conservation agriculture. The agricultural extension development coordinator, Florence Kanjo, concurred on the need for other EPAs and farmers clubs to emulate what farmers in Katelera are doing to ensure food security at household level and generate income for improvement of their livelihoods.

PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF PEACOCK

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features

Examining post harvest losses


BRENDA TWEA Staff Reporter
ost harvest losses (PHL) are crop or produce specific losses that take place at different stages in the supply chain from harvesting, handling, storage, marketing and transporting. In sub-Saharan Africa countries, PHL are estimated at over 40 percent; up to 30 percent in cereals and up to 70 percent in some fruits and vegetables. This is according to a 2007 United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) report. Apart from the physical losses, the PHL also include loss of quality and market opportunity, on top of lost resources (waste of land, labour, inputs and soil fertility) which are not normally considered when evaluating the impact of PHL. Farmers Organisation

A farmer putting maize in a granary

Limited business development manager Ronald Chilumpha stated that insect pests are the major cause of storage losses in the country. In most cases, infestation begins in the field as the crop matures or dries. The insects are then brought over into the store with the produce. A loss assessment study conducted in Malawi during 2000/2001 season by Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security showed that weight losses in stored grain after the advent of Larger Grain Borer (LGB) in the country had increased to 16 percent from five percent in 1994, said Chilumpha, adding that the loss is currently at 17.5 percent according to a survey conducted in 2011 Post harvest losses could be managed though. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach is the best way of minimising PHL, according to Chilumpha.

He says IPM is an approach where the best mix of practices, from cultural, biological, regulatory, breeding, chemical application are employed to deal with PHL. For instance, maize breeders must come up with varieties that are flint and whose cob sheaths close at the tip. This will reduce susceptibility of the maize grain to LGB attack. Secondly, farmers should desist from storing unshelled maize. Maize should be shelled and dried to the recommended moisture content before treating it with pesticides, says Chilumpha. He goes further to say high moisture content in the grain results in deterioration of the pesticides and consequently, a shorter period of grain protection. Chilumpha advises that storage hygiene is also an

important factor to ensure that there is no carry over infestation in the storage facility. Storage facilities including bags should be treated accordingly before storage of the harvested grain. Regulation of the pesticides trade also plays a role in ensuring that farmers access products that comply with the standards, he says. He also notes the importance of farmers buying pesticides from authorised dealers only and applying the products at correct dosage. From the surveys that have been conducted in past, it is clear that PHL worsened after the advent of the LGB. But Chilumpha believes that as a result of concerted efforts from government and other stakeholders, PHL have stabilised. The subsidised grain storage

pesticides that government provides to smallholder farmers is one of strategies that are helping to minimise PHL, hence food insecurity at household level. Of course, there is room for improvement in reduction of PHL if adoption and proper use of proven advanced technologies was promoted and supported by stakeholders, says Chilumpha. Significant amounts of the food produced in developing countries are lost after harvest thereby aggravating hunger. Food losses contribute to high food prices by removing part of the supply from the market. They also have an impact on environmental degradation and climate change as land, water, human labour and nonrenewable resources such as fertiliser and energy are used to produce, process, handle and transport food that no one consumes.

PHOTOGRAPH: nation library