Scores of Malawian SMEs have been certified as knowledgeable of food processing standards in Malawi considered critical for product certification. This follows a second phase of SMEDI/MBS sponsored training in food processing and food hygiene training that have been conducted in all regions of Malawi from 14th June to 22nd June 2021. The training are part of the areas of working cooperation between SMEDI and MBS.
What is in the MBS and SMEDI MOU.
Among many areas of cooperation SMEDI and MBS seek to jointly build capacity among SMEs so that they know what is required to comply with for certification purposes. Secondly under the agreement there is an arrangement where all SMEs being referred to MBS for certification by SMEDI automatically qualify for a 50% discount.
How Many SMEs Have Been Trained So far.
The first phase trainings reached about 68 SMEs with trainings that were conducted in Mzuzu, Blantyre and Lilongwe. The launch of these trainings was presided over by the Minister of Industry, Hon Roy Kachale at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre. The second phase was implemented in Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Karonga and reached about 96 SMEs.
What has been the reaction to the trainings from SMEs?
Chikondi Minjale an SME in peanut butter making based in Lunzu, Blantyre had all but praise for the training “we were operating our small factories without proper knowledge. Now with this training we will manage our factories better and certification should not be a problem here after” On the other hand, Telita Chitsulo of Beuland Enterprise in Mzuzu through a whatsapp text simply said “We appreciate the great work that is being done”. Indeed this is the kind of enthusiasm and excitement that SMEs have welcomed this training. Records from SMEDI indicate that as of the day of this publication based on direct expression of interest from SMEs, cities of Blantyre, Mzuzu and Lilongwe have on waiting list numbers that needs at least two classes for each city
Encouraged by the number of people expressing intrest in the trainings and also increased number of SMEs starting the certification process, plans are underway to make these trainings on going. In his remarks, Speaking in Blantyre, Chief Executive Officer for SMEDI Mr. Rodrick Chattaika encouraged the SMEs to take the training programme seriously as it is a key to unlocking their potential to access formal markets. He said that complying with the Malawi Standard puts the SMEs’ processed food products at par with regional imports and this could be Malawi’s gateway towards import substitution as well as the export markets. He committed to ensure that more and more SMEs benefit from this SMEDI-MBS working relationship