Buying Malawian, to build MalawiApr 23, 2018
Held under the theme “promoting Malawians Products for National Identity and Sustainable Economic Development”, Malawi celebrated its Annual Buy Malawi Day on the 13th April 2018 at the Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe.
Speaking during the celebrations as the Guest of Honor, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Hon. Henry Mussa urged Malawians to walk the talk and move from a predominantly consuming and importing nation to a producing and exporting country. He stressed that the Buy Malawi Initiative should go beyond dedicating fridays for Malawian-made outfits in the workplaces and bring out buyers from big corporations to opt for locally made products.
“We need to conduct regional awareness campaigns to meet the decisions makers of different companies for them to endorse this campaign and reduce importation and procure domestic products. Why are we as a country, still importing products like vegetables and fruits?”, Mussa said.
In her remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Maria Jose Torres, said that Malawian products are just as good as imported products and have in many cases, surpassed the quality of products that are imported into the country. She commended the role that the Buy Malawi Strategy has played in increasing the consumers’ awareness of this element.
“Through the Buy Malawi Campaign, we are all contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals 8 for Decent work and Economic Growth; SDG 9 for Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and SDG 12 for Responsible Consumption,” said Ms. Torres. She further added that “As responsible consumers, we all have a tremendous role to play in helping to build a better Malawi. Let’s all critically reflect on our consumer habits so we can help Malawi reap larger development dividends one kwacha at a time.”
Since its official launch by His Excellency, Arthur Peter Mutharika, the President of Malawi in March 2016, the Buy Malawi Strategy has helped enhance existing employment opportunities, economic growth, and the creation of more quality employment opportunities in the country. The initiative continues to stimulate local production and growth by inspiring consumers to embrace locally produced goods and services instead of imported products.
Elizabeth Chikoya is a member of the Lilongwe Textile and Tailoring Cooperative Society, a grouping of 31 women who have put their resources together to provide locally produced tailoring products on the domestic market. She testifies on the benefits of the Buy Malawi campaign to have stirred the interests of buyers to now source their needs from locally made products.
“Through this campaign, we now have big organizations giving us significant procurement orders for their institutions which is helping boost our businesses. This is unlike in the past, where we used to only get individual orders, which would be in small quantities”, said Elizabeth.
“The Buy Malawi Initiative has also given us opportunities in capacity building initiatives like how to set up cooperatives to help increase the quantity of our products and through that we were also supported with modern tailoring equipment that has helped increase the quality of our tailoring products. Our plea however is for more institutions that prefer imported products to switch that mindset and procure their materials from the domestic market instead”, she said.
Another outstanding entrepreneur working in the local horticulture sector, Ngabangila Chitata of Dairy Fresh Farming group said that the Buy Malawi Initiative has enabled their farming group to increase their production as demand for local products is gradually increasing in the country.
She stated that their farming group is now training other small holder farmers to boost their productions and adopt modern farming methods in their bid to substitute the importation of fresh agricultural products in Malawi. The group has also provided employment opportunities to over 25 people which has helped improve the livelihoods of those people living around the area.
“We have also come to realize the importance of partnerships to boost the consistency in supplying our products. We are now ready to explore the international market and we have identified India as our first point to export our products to, but our aim is to go further than that.
The Buy Malawi Strategy is one of the interventions being championed by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, supported under UNDP Malawi’s Private Sector Development Project.