Old Mutual Investment Group says it is committed to making sure that communities around Gala Macadamia Farms in Namitete area in Lilongwe are self-reliant.
The firm made the commitment on Friday when the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs toured the farms in order to appreciate the progress that GalaMacs Company in the farming area is making.
Chief Executive Officer for Old Mutual Investment Group, Mark Mikwamba, said among others, the group is creating businesses that provide employment to the communities around the farms.
“For example, GalaMacs Company employs over 1,500 people in its farms and these people are able to support their families because of the income they get from the farms,” he said.
He added that they are planning to go into other areas such as bee keeping so that communities around the farms get income after harvesting and selling honey to support their families.
Mikwamba has since expressed optimism that the group will help the bee farmers to find good markets for their honey.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer for GalaMacs Company, Christo Bothma, has assured the committee of the company’s commitment towards safety of the workers and improving their living standards.
On plans to introduce bee farming, Bothma said; “We will have community involvement and eventually we will outsource the operation of the hives to our employees and also to women members of the surrounding communities under Gala’s supervision and off-take arrangement “.
Reacting to this, chairperson for social and community affairs committee, Savel Kafwafwa expressed gratitude for the gestures by GalaMacs Company and Old Mutual Investment Group describing them as true reflection of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
“As committee which is responsible for social and community affairs, we are looking at what Old Mutual is doing because for them they totally have a different model of corporate social responsibility. Instead of just giving the money into the community so that it can just be consumed, they are putting it in projects that can generate more money”, said Kafwafwa.
He also said this approach is sustainable as the benefit will still remain there for a long time and encouraged all the stakeholders to continue working hand in hand for Malawi’s developmental progress.
GalaMacs started growing Macadamia in 2007 on a 2,050ha of land within the estate. It has 12 estates within Lilongwe district.
As it is, Malawi is the 7th largest macadamia producer in the world.