Malawi: British investor is pumping Okay800mn into oil manufacturing in Nkhotakota

A British investor has pumped K800 million into the oil industry, most of which will benefit a rural area in Nkhotakota.

On Monday, Deputy Agriculture Minister Madalitso Kambauwa commissioned the essential oil company called Tickbird, which is an K800 million investment in Senior Chief Mwadzama’s territory in Nkhotakota District.

The company is founded by British citizen Luke Dolby.

Kambauwa described the company as unique as all heavy machinery is powered by 15KV solar power and essential oil is extracted from local vetiver glass sourced from nearly 800 local farmers.

During the event, Kambauwa said that such an investment will provide Malawi with a source of foreign exchange as well as job opportunities.

Kambauwa encouraged more companies to invest in more agricultural products.

Kambauwa said the opening of the company is a clear indication that the country is on track to achieve the Malawi 2063 agenda.

He commended Tickbird officials for flying all the way from the UK and said they showed their full commitment.

“Your presence today at the official opening of the Tickbird essential oils factory here in the Nkhotakota district is a clear testament to your total commitment to the strategic alignment of the country’s Vision 2063.”

She said the country was caught off guard because nobody expected vetiver to be used to extract oil.

“All along, as a country, we were unaware that there was anything more we could get from vetiver glass, aside from its usual purpose of controlling soil erosion and being used to roof houses.

“This is an eye-opener for many farmers who are unaware of the benefits of vetiver glass, and I am so optimistic that your coming will help farmers seize this opportunity,” Kambauwa said.

The deputy minister then spoke about the need to add value to the products in order to achieve higher prices.

“Adding value helps farmers command higher prices in both the local and international markets, so the entry of this company is a boon to our nation and a good example of adding value,” he said.

Kambauwa said farmers will be empowered financially, particularly with the win-win approach the company has taken.

Tickbird Essential Oils chief executive Dolby said the company will encourage transparency between farmers and management. He said the company will ensure its 800 farmers are well taken care of, saying they have already given each farmer a tablet phone for easy communication.

According to Dolby, apart from changing the soil, vetiver can transform people’s lives because it is in high demand internationally.

The establishment of this company is in line with the government’s job creation agenda. For starters Vetiver is a perennial grass and its name derives from the Tamil name “Vetiver”.

Vetiver has wonderful health benefits and medicinal uses and is used extensively in hair and skin care as well as home remedies.

Vetiver root is the most commonly used part of the plant, and vetiver root water, made by infusing the root in water, reduces anxiety, inflammation, and also helps treat and prevent acne.

Vetiver oil from the roots also has wonderful medicinal uses.

Vetiver is native to India and both its leaves and roots have wonderful uses. It is grown in states such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and to a lesser extent in Uttar Pradesh.

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The mentioned investment is in line with what President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera said during his address to Parliament where he said his priority in developing trade and industry is to encourage more companies to come to Malawi and invest through various interventions including the completion of the development of the National Export Strategy (2021-2026) to increase exports as a percentage of GDP from 14.6 percent to 18 percent, as well as the ratification of the African Cantinental Free Trade Agreement, which will allow the country access to the continental free trade zone Africano with its products and finally the conclusion the construction of a one-stop border crossing on the Mchinji/Mwami-Zambia border that will reduce delays and congestion.

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