Tithokoze Lime Makers Cooperative Society which manufactures lime in Blantyre on Monday said the lack of support for local products in the country threatens its survival on the market
Chairperson for the cooperative which is found in the area of Traditional Authority Chigaru, Tifa Kamwendo logged the complaint on Monday when Blantyre district trade officials inspected the lime factory in a supervision exercise to see how cooperatives are functioning in the district.
Kamwendo said that they are struggling to sell their lime products because Malawians are flocking to foreign products which are of the same quality as local products.
“We produce Agriculture lime, hydrated lime, and limestone. From 2011 to somewhere around 2017 we were producing 200 bags per day; and selling 30 tons per day but now we are selling only 100 bags the whole year.
“People are buying Ndola lime from Zambia which is not different from ours, government and other relevant bodies should find ways of supporting the production and consumption of local products produced by small and medium enterprises like our cooperative,” said Kamwendo.
She added that the cooperative has 12 women and 8 men saying in the past they were able to take care of their household needs through the proceeds from the cooperative but now they cannot even afford to pay school fees for their children.
Blantyre District Council Trade Officer, Pilirani Nyangulu said there is a need to link the cooperatives with potential markets.
She said: “It is worrisome that local products like these are not doing well on the market. There are many cooperatives and Small medium enterprises (SME’svc ) in the district who are facing similar challenges and the Trade office is yet to link them with potential markets and funding opportunities”.
Tithokoze Lime Makers Cooperative Society was founded in 1997 and the factory was constructed by National Association for Business Women with support from the European Union.