LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Centre for Agriculture Transformation (CAT) on Thursday, December 16, 2021 awarded grants to second cohort of 13 businesses on value added chain products.

With funding from Foundation for a Smoke Free World (FSFW) through Agriculture Transformation Initiative (ATI), CAT disbursed US$ 1 million to value added businesses.

CAT Executive Director Macleod Nkhoma told The Maravi Post after awards ceremony in the capital Lilongwe that individual business grants range from US$30,000 to US$100, 000.

Nkhoma disclosed that grants provision are based on business levels, stage and how local farmers are going to benefit during implementation.

“The grants are meant to incubate business proposals on value added chain products where local farmers are going to benefit greatly while diversifying to other crops as an alternative to tobacco farming,” says Nkhoma.

Echoing on the same, CAT Advisory Committee Chairperson Dr. Albert Changaya expects serious implementation of the incubated businesses for local farmers’ economic transformation.

ATI Program manager Riz Khani appealed to Malawian farmers to desist from depending on single crop including tobacco as a sole income earner.

“Malawian economy which heavily depends on the same crop. time has come for crop diversification. This is the reason Foundation for a Smoke Free World through its affiliate, the Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI) is in Malawi.

The organisation sets to support identification of alternative value chains and economic opportunities; enhancing productivity and production through investments in science, technology and innovation; facilitating commercialization through innovative financing solutions; focusing on the creation and application of new markets; supporting sustainable business models to improve economic opportunities; direct investments into human capacity development; and also supporting targeted agricultural policy reforms,” says Khani.

One of the Cohort awardees, Sphiwe Mauwa of Shami investment assured proper usage of US$30,000 grants on sun flour oil production and cakes.,

Mauwa disclosed with the grants her firm will be able to engage additional farmers from 50 to 3000 in Mzimba and Mangochi districts.

She said farmers will be give seed for sunflour through contract farming as produces are to key raw materials for cooking oil production.

CAT received 120 applications that went into vigorous assessment till pinching processes.

Business proposals for grants are on value-added, impact on farmers including making flour out of cassava, processing milk products and among others.

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