alawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) says the country received $122 million (about K126.64 billion) through export deals to various regional and overseas markets in the 2021/22 financial year.
The deals clinched by local businesses through Mitc were mostly agricultural products to countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, China, Japan, India and Indonesia, according to Mitc.
In terms of specific products, the Mitc data shows that Malawian businesses mostly exported soya beans, groundnuts, rice, tea, coffee, macadamia, sunflower, pigeon peas, sesame, chickpeas and tomatoes, among others.
Soya beans is on high demand on the local and international markets
In a written response yesterday, Mitc public relations manager Deliby Chimbalu said Malawian companies, individuals and small-scale businesses have shown interest in export opportunities floated by the Mitc.
She said: “We have lately been receiving inquiries from local businesses, requesting for more information on the export opportunities that we do advertise from time to time.
“Some companies that have been attending some of our trade missions and international trade fairs where most of these export opportunities are identified, have managed to get supply contracts of various commodities and some are still in the process of negotiating possible supply contracts.”
Chimbalu said the Mitc is currently receiving expressions of interest from the business community regarding existing opportunities.
“Recently, we floated an export market opportunity for dried fruits, edible nuts and grains that Mitc through our mission in Brussels found and we had over 100 expressions of interest from companies, individuals and small-scale businesses.
“Out of these, at least 11 have been linked to the potential buyer—the Dutch company and we are optimistic that this will turn out to be a potential export deal,” she said.
Commenting on the development, Catholic University economics lecturer Hopkins Kawaye said sustaining these export deals could improve revenues for the country, thereby easing pressure on the country’s pressure on foreign exchange.
“Such a development could ease pressure on the local kwacha which is currently weakening on foreign exchange supply shortages. Exporters on the other hand would benefit from this on the weak kwacha,” he said.
Chamber for Small and Medium Businesses Association executive secretary James Chiutsi has since called for more coordination, saying this would be very key to benefiting from the available opportunity.
He said: “We realise that the orders generated from such fairs are huge, requiring total coordination on the ground which will require us to be organised to fulfil the demand.”
Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) chief executive officer Jacob Nyirongo said country needs more pro-active agricultural production systems that should be able to continue taking advantage of export opportunities.