Castel Malawi facing huge challenges in its productions due to scarcity of forex; As the historical trademark Carlsberg Green is off the market

* Ingredients of its beer products — not just for Carlsberg Green but all of them, include hops and malt

* Which are not produced in Malawi but need to be imported

* Other products affected include Kuche Kuche as well as Castel, Doppel and Chill and Booster ciders

By Duncan Mlanjira

The country’s historical trademark beer, Carlsberg Green — produced by Castel Malawi Limited — is currently off the market in what the company attributes being due to scarcity of forex which the country is still grappling with.


In an interview, the company’s Corporate Affairs Director, Gloria Zimba said the ingredients of their beer products — not just for Carlsberg Green but all of them, include hops and malt — which are not produced in Malawi but need to be imported.

Castel Malawi, which bought the Carlsberg franchise from Malawi Government to produce and market the Denmark brand, produces Carlsberg Green, Carlsberg Special, Carlsberg Chill, Kuche Kuche as well as the brands the French company brought on the market of Castel, Doppel and Chill and Booster ciders.

In acquiring Carsberg Malawi, Castel also bought SOBO subsidiary, Malawi Distillers Limited, which produces famous spirits such as Malawi Gin, Premier Brandy, Malawi Vodka, Powers No.1 — which also had been scarce in the past couple of months due to the same scarcity of forex.

“We are still struggling with forex availability,” Zimba said. “This is making it so difficult and almost impossible to pay suppliers so that we continue supplying all our products.

“We can’t import without forex. We have plenty of Malawi kwacha in our banks, but for us to operate smoothly and give our customer satisfaction, we continue to plead with the Reserve Bank of Malawi and the Treasury to come to our rescue.”

Asked when the product would be available on the market, Zimba said it would be as soon as they have access to the forex to pay their suppliers “so that they can continue supplying us with the required raw materials in time for sustainable production”.

She added that they are still engaging government: “We have been meeting the relevant ministries — we have been to Ministry of Trade & Industry as our mother Ministry.


“We have met the Minister of Finance and his technical team. We have written to the Reserve Bank. We engage our commercial banks every week to try and work together with them to find a solution.

“But as long as forex scarcity does not improve, it is so difficult to promise stable product availability.”

She also emphasized that it is not only most favoured Carlsberg Green whose production is affected, saying: “If you have followed our product availability pattern, you will notice that there was a time consumers could not get Kuche Kuche some weeks — almost a month.

“So we are suffering — we need forex support to sustain our operations and make the consumers happy. The situation is getting dire by the day. As said earlier, we have plenty of Malawi kwacha, but we need forex.”

The company, which distinctly contributes to the country’s economy through tax remitted to Malawi Revenue Authority, also produces sodas such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Cocopina, Cherry Plum as well as squashes of SOBO Squash.

Reliable sources indicate that one of the huge cheques that Blantyre Water Board receives a money is that from Castel Malawi, whose products require massive amount of water.