Kilombero rice earmarked major forex earner – Capital Radio Malawi
21 April, 2024

Kilombero rice earmarked major forex earner

Unprocessed rice in a field

Trade authorities are touting the Kilombero rice brand as a crop that could be levelled or possibly replace tobacco as a cash crop basing on the current demand.

The observation comes as the rice brand is said to be fast gaining high demand on the international market namely South Africa and neighbouring Zambia and Mozambique.

Minister of trade and industry Sosten Gwengwe challenges that government is currently exploring a number of options on how they can expand local rice production to satisfy cross boarder demand for the grain

“The production of Kilombero rice has improved or increased and a lot of people are now packaging our own rice both for domestic market but also for the external market. I agree with colleagues that have been pushing for diversification,” Gwengwe explained.

He also said: “Let me assure the nation that the government has put a lot of effort in terms of diversifying from tobacco, thus now talking of new cash crops on the market.”

Meanwhile, an agriculture expert Tamani Nkhono Mvula has suggested that the government must create solutions that can counter supply side constraints affecting the Kilombero rice market.

Mvula argues that the grain does not have the capacity to overthrow the tobacco crop it cannot meet the huge cross-border markets.

“One of the biggest issues is the production cost over this kind of rice. If compared to products from China and other countries, you will find out that it is very expensive to produce. The prices on the market are very high, so, if we deal with some of these supply side constraints, I think we should be able to make it a huge headway,” he stressed.

He however quashed the idea that the rice crop can surpass tobacco as a national income earner.

He said: “I think it is an overstatement considering that Kilombero rice requires specific type of soils to grow and even the conditions under which these cops are grown.”

Kilombero rice is currently being sold at almost K2,500 per kilogram on the local market.

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