By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has revealed plans to establish a market for fresh quality produce, value-added products, and crafts to increase the visibility of SMEs to customers and potential partners and improve their access to markets and business linkages.
MCCCI Head of Communications, Millie Kasunda, said that initiative will be conducted on the last Saturday of every month.
“We want to create a platform for businesses to sell their products directly to consumers and increase consumer opportunities to buy local products directly from businesses and establish business contact.
“We believe that this will bring together families, neighbours, visitors and local producers to create a sense of community and social gathering while providing a vehicle to educate the community on the nutritional, environmental, and economic value of buying sustainably locally produced products,” Kasunda said.
She added that the initiative also aims at increasing the bloc’s small and medium enterprises membership, especially after establishing the Star Category of membership which attracts a subscription rate of K90, 000 per year.
The first farmers’ market is expected to be unveiled on January 26 at the Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds in Blantyre.
The development comes at a time many smallholder farmers have been raising complaints of lacking access to formal markets to sell their produces which makes them earn little from their labour.
African Honey and Food Products Managing Director, Fredrick Mattress, welcomed the development, stressing that it would go a long way to increase the visibility of their products and sales in general.
“This is a good development because most of the times we fail to sell our products as few people know our products but with such markets we will be seen by the buyers who will come to these markets and we hope to increase sells and grow our businesses,” Mattress said.
During a recent meeting of horticulture farmers in Lilongwe, the farmers cited continued importation of fruits and vegetables in major supermarkets and chain stores as a major stumbling block in growing their businesses.
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