By Eutychus Yamikani
Citrefine plantations limited Malawi is planting citridora type of bluegum on a 40 hectares of land with farmers for extraction of essential oils from the leaves after harvest.
The aim of this initiative is to help the communities surrounding the area and conserve the environment on Kawandama hills in Inkosi Mzikubola in Mzimba district.
According to the managing director for Citrefine Malawi Tanya Clarke says that her organization “received funding from USAID amounting to $309,000 which is approximately MK185, 400,000 to work with Kawandama farmers cooperative for the next three years in addition to the trees they already have.
While the project is expected to uplift the lives of farmers in the area at the same time bring forex in the country as it is struggling with deforestation and economic instability.
There is total lack of government regulations and laws to check companies who only export the raw materials from Malawi, and reselling their wearing products back to the elite Malawians at a high price like Citrifine.
Echoing Colonel Robert Mugabe’s statement that ‘Africans should stop exporting raw materials and start manufacturing chocolate instead of exporting cocoa.’
However this comes in contradiction when the government of Malawi is promoting the buy Malawi strategy, when it’s not empowering them to start producing international branded goods and services.
For now the people of Kawandama will continue to reap peanuts without their knowledge when such cooperatives were supposed to own the end products of their labour.
And who can blame Tanya, when she agrees that what ‘citrifine found in the desolate hills of the once mighty Viphya plateau was lack of taking advantage of the natural resources.’
Meanwhile with over 75% of Malawians who rely on farming, this idea of putting them in cooperatives is a top grade to move out of the poverty lines.