A Japanese company, Only One Ehime, has expressed interest to invest in the agro-processing industry sector where it intends to start making machinery for producing agricultural products such as peanut butter, which is said to have ready market in Japan.
Speaking when a delegation from his company held talks with the Minister of Industry Roy Kachale Banda at his office in Lilongwe today, the company's manager Kenji Inoue said they are interested in producing efficient food processing machines as one of the means to enhance the collaboration between Malawi and Japan in the promotion of industrialization.
The Ministry of Industry is implementing the industrialization drive in line with Malawi 2063 agenda, which has put industrialization as one of its three pillars.
Hence, among others, the Ministry of Industry and the company have agreed to work together in ensuring that Malawi should be locally producing quality machines that can be used in making products such as peanut butter, which is said to be on high demand in Japan.
The company has since partnered with the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS), formerly the Malawi Polytechnic, where the machines, including those used in making cooking oil, will be produced.
In addition to creating jobs, the project, which is being funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is envisaged to help Malawi Malawi increase exportation of finished products as opposed to exporting unprocessed commodities such as soya beans.
"Malawi is losing job opportunities and a lot of money through exporting of raw materials. So, this project, where we will be producing machines used in making products, is coming at the right time," said Kachale.
Only One Ehime manager Kenji Inoue said a recent study by the company has established that Malawi has quality agriculture products which if well processed can help to boost Malawi's economy through export trading.
The two sides have since agreed to continue engaging for the project to achieve intended purposes that include helping more local entrepreneurs have access to machinery for quality products that can compete on international market.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry Peter Simbani, who also attended the meeting, will lead the technical team from the ministry in making sure that all suggestions and recommendations are implemented.