USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is currently developing an Agricultural Storage Investment Facilities (ASIF) in Malawi with subsequent replication into Zambia. After a stakeholder consultation in 2013 revealed a severe shortage of agri-warehousing in Malawi, the Trade Hub worked to convene relevant organizations to facilitate financing and investment into warehousing and to address investment bottlenecks.
As part of the ASIF strategy in Malawi, the Trade Hub is using its engagement with the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) to investigate two potential storage investments: rural warehouses operated by NASFAM farmer associations and an agro-industrial complex in Lilongwe operated by NASCOMEX for purposes of expanding processing capability.
The two investments are highly synergistic and address different points on the value chain: from farm gate to processing and distribution on to the domestic consumer and export markets. Developing storage infrastructure will boost efficiency, reduce losses, create inclusivity, and support livelihoods while greatly strengthening the value chain overall.
The recent Trade Hub activity has focused on developing bankable business plans and financial modeling for each investment, with work now at an advanced stage. The results of this activity are anticipated to be a multi-million dollar investment opportunity under ASIF with a highly inclusive profile. The Trade Hub is concurrently engaged with a number of financiers to realize these investments and best address NASFAM’s needs.
Photo: Visitors tour an ACE-integrated rural warehouse operated by NASFAM