Malawi: Entrepreneurs cashing in on agribusiness opportunities

Peggy Joy Ngwira is the co-founder of meat processing company Mothers Choice.

Peggy Joy Ngwira is the co-founder of meat processing company Mothers Choice.

From establishing a dairy business to producing meat products for the local and international market, we highlight four entrepreneurs carving their niche in Malawi’s agribusiness and food industry.

1. Meat processing company grows from five pigs to the shelves of Shoprite

Starting with just five pigs in 2012, Peggy Joy Ngwira co-founded the meat processing company, Mothers Choice, alongside Coenie Bezuidenhout. The business began adding value to the meat in 2016, with customers initially collecting their orders from Ngwira’s home. Today, Mothers Choice produces an array of products including bacon, cured meats, sausages and steak. Having concluded discussions with two major retail chains in Malawi, Mothers Choice seeks to replace imported South African meat in supermarkets with its locally produced substitutes. The company also sells directly to the public from a shop at the front of the processing facility, via its online store, and also delivers to larger clients such as lodges and restaurants. Read the full article

2. From humble beginnings to dairy success in Malawi

Mdingase Tewete has successfully steered dairy processing company Kombeza Foods in Malawi since its inception in 2017. Overcoming a lack of information in the tightly-held industry, she has grown the business from producing 30 litres of yoghurt per day to over 2,000 litres. Today, Kombeza Foods sources from over 200 farmers, employs more than 25 people, and its products are widely available, including at Shoprite supermarkets. Challenging conventional wisdom, Tewete believes that starting a business doesn’t require substantial funds or a fully mapped-out business plan. Instead, she suggests that a business plan should only be drawn up a year or two into operations. Read the full article

3. Entrepreneur capitalises on agro-processing opportunities

Following a redundancy from a uranium mining company in Malawi, Victoria Msowoya Mwafulirwa started a catering business. While running this venture, she identified a gap in the market for quality, healthy ingredients and established Homes Industries in 2015 in Karonga. The company processes locally grown crops such as sunflower seeds, groundnuts, and rice. The processing facility was set up in a building owned by her husband and has been continuously upgraded as revenue permits. Mwafulirwa’s customer base includes local supermarkets, and the company is in discussions with larger retailers in Lilongwe and Blantyre. Currently working with over 2,000 smallholder farmers, Homes Industries has started exporting rice to the US and groundnuts and groundnut flour to South Africa. Read the full article

4. Building a meat empire in Malawi

Nyama World, founded by Hussein A. Jakhura and his son in 2009, initially started as a local meat processor in Malawi. The company has since expanded to control the complete livestock value chain, from breeding to marketing, catering to both local and export markets. To improve meat quality, Nyama World brought in the South African Bonsmara breed after careful research. The company kick-started a breeding programme in 2013, supported by a $300,000 grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Later, in 2016, they secured a substantial debt funding of $2.75 million from Norfund, the Norwegian investment fund for developing countries. At full capacity, Nyama World has the potential to process 240,000 goats and 15,000 cattle annually. Read the full article