Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA) says the coming of new weaving equipment at Bangwe Weaving Factory in Blantyre is expected to revive operations of the factory and increase production of materials by people with physical disabilities.
The weaving factory is a manufacturing unit of MACOHA that was established in 1975 to provide on job training and serve as a source of income for persons with disabilities in the country.
But over the years, its productivity has stagnated due to lack of investment in equipment for production and lack of cotton as a raw material.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Friday, the factory’s centre manager Henderson Nyondo said MACOHA wants to reinstate the factory because it now has an automatic machinery relevant to the modern weaving industry.
“The old and worn equipment could not sustain the making of products such as traditional wear and mats at the highest level,” Nyondo said.
Apart from using the old worn out weaving loom, Nyondo also cited low cotton production in the country as another factor that affected operations.
MACOHA Public Relations Officer Sylvia Thawani said the revamping of Bangwe Weaving Factory would be done in phases and with the first phase already in progress.
The rehabilitation of the facility is being done with support from the Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement (MEPE).
MEPE is a project which is part of the COMESA Regional Integration Support Mechanism programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
MEPE is supporting small medium enterprises (SMEs) in a number of sectors including the textile and garment industry to scale up local production in both quality and quantity to replace imported products.
For the weaving initiative at Bangwe factory, MEPE is also supporting the training of people with disabilities on how to use the modern equipment, according to Thawani.
“The project intends to enhance skills weaving and designing new and branded products,” she said.