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Malawi SME’s Benefit from APPSA SUB-Project (Enhancing quality management systems in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s ) involved in cereal and legume processing)

Posted by: | Posted on: December 5, 2018

Malawi has more than 30 SME’s that are involved in food production. Unfortunately, most SMEs cannot compete favourably on the global market due to poor standards of the products, consequently there is an influx of imports from other regions.

Ministry of Agriculture, irrigation and water development with support from World Bank is implementing APPSA. The present APPSA subproject aims at enhancing competitiveness of the SMEs in the region by assisting the SMEs implement Quality Management System (QMS) and obtain national and international quality certification. A total of 18 SMEs involved in cereal and legume processing were identified. Its management trained on QMS issues and Memorandum of Understanding signed. In Malawi, Food Technology degree graduates from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources were recruited onto the project as QMS facilitators, intensively trained (3 weeks) and deployed.

Kamwendo Cooking Oil Cooperative (Kamwendo, Mchinji), Jescal Peanut Butter Enterprise (Area 25, Lilongwe) and bwanje valley rice cooperative are among the 18 participating SME’s which were identified. Kamwendo Cooking Oil Cooperative is a typical rural small enterprise which produces cooking oil from sunflower seeds. The cooperative is located at Kamwendo Trading Centre in Mchinji district about 100 meters along Mchinji-Kasungu road. The 43-member cooperative (8 men and 35 women)was registered in 2009 with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and started production in 2010. At that time, the Cooperative was operating in rented premises within Kamwendo area. With the help of One Village One Product (OVOP), the Kamwendo Cooperative obtained Malawi Bureau of Standard certification and was able to produce oil at a micro level and sell it within Kamwendo and OVOP shop in Lilongwe.

Thanks to MEPE project which generously built a new big factory for the cooperative to boost its production and earnings. However, the relocation made the cooperative lose the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS)certification as is the MBS requirement. They needed to install MQS system and apply for new MBS certification again. This was not an easy task for the cooperative as its members did not have the QMS skills. Fortunately, this was the time when the APPSA sub-project made connection with the Cooperative.   During the physical verification process by the APPSA quality team, the cooperative did not meet several requirements as stated in Malawi Standard # 21,among other non-compliances, the roadways were not hard paved and dust proof, daily cleaning records were not available, safe closing doors were not available, inadequate changing facilities(change rooms) as required by Malawi Standard(MS 21), hand drier, soap and towels were not provided as required by MS 21, notices were not posted directing personnel to wash hands, proper places for storage of cleaning gears were not available, containers for inedible materials and waste were not identifiable, doors weren’t rat proofed, fence around the establishment which limits the entrance was not there.

The APPSA quality facilitators helped the cooperative address all these, trained all the cooperative members total QMS requirement as outlined by MBS in MS21 and MS19. The APPSA quality facilitators helped the cooperative address all shortfalls, trained all the cooperative members total QMS requirement as outlined by MBS in MS21 and MS19. The cooperative was also provided with advanced Food safety training.

The APPSA quality facilitators helped the cooperative apply for new certification and its not surprising that easily Kamwendo Cooperative got the pre-certification as it surpasses the demands of the MS21.The cooperative got the pre certification because they started from the start at their new factory as its mandatory.

Hence if they comply to the requirements of the Mbs they will be given the full certification very soon.

Jescal Enterprise is a family owned small peanut butter processing business located in Area 25 Lilongwe District. Jescal Enterprise has 8 workers (3 men and 5 women) involved in production. It was registered with the Ministry of Industry and Trade in 2008, it started the production of Peanut butter in 2014 at their home premises then moved to the factory and was pre-certified with Malawi Bureau Standards in 2017.

During the physical verification exercise, the cooperative did not meet several of the requirements as stated in MS21 which include the following:Daily cleaning records not available, safe closing doors not available, inadequate of changing facilities as required by MS21;hand drier, and towels were not provided as required by MS 21; notices were not posted directing personnel to wash hands, inadequate bathrooms, improper places for storage of cleaning gears, unavailability of hygiene control programme as required by MS21. The quality facilitators managed the workers as needed by MBS in MS21 and MS19. The quality facilitators managed training the workers as needed by MBS in MS21 and MS19. Just like with Kamwendo, JESCAL was also provided with advanced Food safety training. Most importantly, facilitators have managed to fix all outstanding problems and the business is ready for full certification anticipated before the end of the year.

Bwanje valley rice cooperative is also one of the SMEs which was identified and signed the Memorandum of Understanding. The cooperative produces Kilombero rice in four grades, it is located at Mtakataka in Dedza District. The cooperative has 2067 members, it was registered with the Ministry of Industry and Trade in 2004 and were pre-certified with Malawi Bureau Standard in 2016.

During the physical verification exercise, the cooperative did not meet several of the requirements as stated in MS21,among other non compliances, Quick drying ink and Flexible Stamp for batch number were not available, manufacturing and Expiry Dates to be marked on the packaging material were not indicated on their packaging material( MS19),the roadways were not hard paved and dust proof, daily cleaning records were not available, safe closing doors were not available, inadequate changing facilities(change rooms) as required by Malawi Standard(MS 21), hand drier, soap and towels were not provided as required by MS 21, notices were not posted directing personnel to wash hands, proper places for storage of cleaning gears were not available, containers for inedible materials and waste were not identifiable.

 

The quality facilitators managed training the workers as needed by MBS in MS21 and MS19. Just like with Kamwendo and jescal it was also provided with advanced Food safety training. Most importantly, facilitators have managed to fix all outstanding problems and the business is ready for full certification anticipated before the end of this year.

 

 

 

 





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