National Association of Smallholder Farmers in Malawi (Nasfam) has said it has secured a stable market for local rice in Zimbabwe while it explores other regional markets.
This comes as media reports suggest that Malawi is losing K360 billion [about $490 million] annually in foreign exchange earnings for failing to make the most of export opportunities of over 800,000 metric tonnes of rice demand globally.
Nasfam General Manager (Commercial), Alexander Chikapula, said the demand for local rice remains high on the global market.
Currently, Nasfam exports rice to Scotland among its reliable export markets.
He said the firm is producing and processing rice for both local and international markets.
“We do export to Scotland and lately we have started exporting to Zimbabwe,” Chikapula said.
He said Nasfam’s Lilongwe plant has a capacity to process over 30 tonnes of rice a day and an estimated 150 to 180 tons a week.
He, however, expressed worry over the prevalent power outages, which, he said, has had a negative impact on the business.
Recently, Chairperson of the National Rice Development Platform, David Kamchacha, called on stakeholders in the rice value chain to hold hands to satisfy the demand for Malawi rice on the international market.
He indicated that the demand for Malawi rice is in excess of 800,000 metric tonnes on the international market despite the country being able to export only 20,000 metric tonnes of rice.
In Malawi, rice is largely produced by small and medium subsistence farmers.