By Stephano Nkhata
Missio PMS America’s newly appointed Investment Manager for Malawi and Zambia, Mulenga Bwalya, recently visited Malawi as part of her familiarization tour of Missio’s financed projects and other non-funded projects.
Missio PMS America is a Catholic organization based in the United States of America. It is responsible for giving investment loans to dioceses in the world with the aim of making them self-sustainable.
Many dioceses in Africa have acquired loans from this loan facility and invested in income generating activities. The Diocese of Karonga is one of the beneficiary dioceses in Malawi. Through this loan, the Diocese of Karonga purchased Chipunga Farm Limited in Nkhatabay District for macadamia nuts and coffee production.
To ensure that these loans are invested in viable income generating activities and to ensure that the Missio financed projects are managed by well qualified technical people who are conversant with agribusiness, Missio America has employed Mulenga Bwalya.
During her first familiarization visit, Mulenga visited some of the funded and non-funded projects. She spelt out clearly that her mandate is to corrdinate, formulate strategies to make sure that these projects respond to the needs of the dioceses in the two countries.
On her visit to Chipunga Farm, Mulenga was accompanied by Episcopal Conference of Malawi’s agriculture experts, Duncan Magwira. She interacted with the Diocesan Resource Mobilisation Officer, Stephano Nkhata; Farm Manager, James Kasambara; and Development Desk Officer, Franklin Msiska who took her around the main fields where major operations are taking place.
Her main objective was to know more about Chipunga Farm project and appreciate the activities on the ground. Mulenga first inspected the macadamia nursery where most of her questions about the crop were answered by Daniel, in charge of the nursery. The supervisor explained the major activities involved in raising seedlings to the point of transplanting. In his explanation, Daniel said it takes 12-18 months for the seedlings to be ready for transplanting in the main field.
Mulenga was then taken to the coffee nursery, where Alex is the supervisor. In his explanation, Alex said the seedlings they are raising seedlings in preparation for the December-January 2019/2020 growing season.
The visitors were then taken to the main field where coffee and macadamia were planted during the last planting season. They were also briefed on the types of coffee present and how the fields are taken care of.
As an agribusiness expert, Mulenga expressed her satisfaction on the progress of the activities happening on the ground. She has assured the team that Missio will never leave them alone and will make sure that technical expertise in all fields is well provided.