BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo has hailed The Foods Company Limited (TFCL), a subsidiary of conglomerate Press Corporation Plc (PCL), which markets its products under the brand name of Maldeco for its community transformation initiative dubbed ‘One Village, One Cage’ (OVOC) Initiative.

Speaking in Mangochi during the first fish harvest of the initiative, Tembo said the initiative will transform communities around Maldeco as they will be economically independent.

The initiative is where Maldeco, with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) through its implementing agency the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF), is supporting five beach village committees (BVCs) who have each been allocated a fish cage on the lake where they are operating like the way tobacco tenants operate.

Maldeco supplies fingerlings and coordinates feed supplies to the BVCs and when the fish is harvested, Maldeco procures the fish and the cost of the inputs is deducted and the surplus is what the BVCs take away as their income.

The initiative is within the bigger project where Maldeco is coming up with a modern fish processing facility with funding from PCL amounting to K2.6 billion and an additional fund from UNDP amounting to K650 million which Maldeco won as a matching grant.

“The One Village, One Cage initiative is a good model for development which apart from fostering development and transforming the lives of the communities around Maldeco, will also improve co-existence between the company and the communities,” said Tembo.

“I commend the efforts of Maldeco management and staff and your partners for your fruitful efforts in aquaculture development and urge you to continue to invest in this sub-sector.  I am well satisfied and pleased to note that Maldeco will continue to contribute positively to improved food security, nutrition status as well as providing employment opportunities for many Malawians,” added Tembo.

Maldeco General Manager Andrew Santhe said that with the modern processing plant once deployed, the company will be able to process as much as 15 metric tons of fish per day up from the current level of about 5 tons.

“The UNDP funding required Maldeco to involve the community in this project hence the OVOC Initiative which will benefit these five villages who are expected to harvest about 1.5 metric tons of fish from each cage after harvest and they already have a ready market at Maldeco for their fish,” said Santhe.

Chairman of the Beach Village Committee Jordan Kanyerere Junior hailed Maldeco for the initiative saying members of the community around the company are elated.

“We want to thank Maldeco for considering us to be part of the Maldeco Chambo success story. They have trained us in business, leadership and financial management so that we are responsible when we realize our profits from this initiative, we are very grateful,” said Kanyerere Junior.

MICF official Tambulani Chunga said it is the wish of the fund that companies that are successful and accessing the fund should also involve the communities around them in their projects.

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