South African company commits US$20m towards establishment of a rice mega farm in Malawi

* Targets production of up to 100,000 tons of rice on 10,000 hectares of land

* This will make Malawi the champion of rice production — not only in South Africa, but also the whole SADC region

By Manasse Nyirenda, MANA in Johannesburg

Natal East India, a South Africa company which deals in rice farming, milling and distribution, has committed about US$20 million towards establishment of a rice mega farm in Malawi.

This was announced after the company and other South African investors met President Lazarus Chakwera on Tuesday at Davinci Hotel where he assured the potential investors of Malawi Government’s support in clearing all bottlenecks that stifle investment opportunities in order to accelerate economic growth in the country.

In an interview after the meeting, the company’s representative, Thami Shande said they target production of up to 100,000 tons of rice on 10,000 hectares of land.

He added that the meeting was very important as they were able to inform President Chakwera and his team about the rice specifications their clients want in South Africa.

“This will make Malawi the champion of rice production — not only in South Africa, but also the whole SADC region,” he said. “The president has assured us that in terms of licensing it will be completed within this quarter and we will be able to start implementing before the end of the year.”


Another investor representing Blue Energy, Marcel Steinberg said he was encouraged by the government of Malawi’s commitment to economic growth and industrialization and identifying the link between energy security and economic growth.

He said his team will be in Malawi from September 5 for site visits to, at least, 10 areas and also to do feasibility study, adding that his company has already identified customers in Malawi and a lot of ground work has already been done.

Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe said the introduction of more energy investors in Malawi would lessen the pressure on the grid and create a conducive environment for economic development.

He further said investment in rice mega farms will give an opportunity to local farmers in districts such as Nkhotakota and Salima, among others, to benefit from the available South African market.


He said the President — who also met other investors interested in investing in hospitality and tourism, among others — has urged his team to clear all investment blocks in order for Malawi to develop.

The Malawi leader is in South Africa to attend the 15th BRICS summit currently underway at the invitation by the host nation’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Meanwhile, President Chakwera also met Malawian professionals and investors in diaspora, impressing on them to invest back home and contribute to its development.

Minister Gwengwe said the investors showcased their investment interests to the President, saying: “These investors are making it big in number of sectors including telecommunications and construction in South Africa among others.

“The good thing is that a number of them are already active in a number of investments back home. The president has just emphasised that Malawi will only develop if Malawians take the lead in championing development.”

Representative of Malawian investors and professionals in South Africa, Fumu Msiska said they had a very fruitful meeting and the team is ready to invest back home.