Cotton Council of Malawi (CCM) has disclosed that a textile manufacturing plant will be constructed in the lakeshore District of Salima as one way of promoting the dwelling cotton industry in the country.
The Chief Executive (CEO) for CCM, Cosmas Lwanda broke the news when his organization and African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICCC) had an interface meeting with members of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture of the National Assembly at Sunbird Capital Hotel Lilongwe recently.
He said Malawi Cotton Company, a Chinese Company has expressed its desire to set up a textile manufacturing plant in Salima which is going to use the locally produced cotton.
“I wish to inform members of the Parliamentary Committee that the plant is currently on its way from China and installation is expected to take place in 2018,” Lwanda told the committee.
The CEO said the company is running a number of initiatives which include supporting farmers to produce more quality cotton in order to match with the increased demand on the world market.
He explained that the installation of the plant would help to increase demand for cotton, and farmers need to take up the challenge in order to supply adequate raw materials for production purposes.
“We view this as an opportunity for cotton farmers throughout the country that they have ready market for the cotton produce and they need to increase their capacity for value addition [other] than exportation of raw cotton.
“It has the benefit of employment creation and skills transfers to many Malawians,” Lwanda pointed out.
Member of the Parliamentary committee, John Chikalimba welcomed the initiative to have a cotton plant in Salima but wanted to know the criteria used to choose the district.
He observed that from the records that were made available to the committee, it was indicating that Chikwawa has more cotton farmers as compared to Salima.
“Look at Chikwawa District which has 22,553 cotton farmers from 2,159 cotton framers clubs covering 23,841 hectares of land from six Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) while Salima has 1,484 cotton farmers from 147 farmers clubs covering 1,484 hectares in seven EPAs,” Chikalimba noted.
He said maybe it was the choice of the company but hinted that such development needed wider consultations in order to come up with firm decision for the benefit of all Malawians at large.
Chikalimba said unless the current data has some short falls that Salima has more farmers than Chikwawa, then that would be in order for development of the cotton sector.
Malawi Cotton Company is based in Balaka District with sub offices in Salima and Ngabu in Chikwawa District.
Cotton Council of Malawi has indicated that the following have been identified as cotton growing districts in the country: Karonga, Nkhotakota, Salima, Dedza, Ntcheu, Mangochi, Machinga, Balaka, Zomba Phalombe, Mwanza, Neno, Blantyre, Chikwawa and Nsanje.