Chilima says cotton can replace tobacco

Vice-President, Dr. Saulos Chilima says cotton is a strategic crop that must be promoted because of its potential to replace tobacco as Malawi’s main export.

The Vice-President made the remarks on Thursday during his tour to China-Africa Textile Company in Salima.

He said the company is an asset as it would increase the country’s exports through its production hence increasing Malawi’s forex earnings.

“Cotton is one strategic crop that must be promoted. As I have repeatedly said elsewhere, the cotton industry could be the country’s game changer to take over from tobacco in the wake of anti-smoking lobbies and become the country’s green gold,” said Chilima.

He also noted that the company has potential to create job opportunities.

“This project is in line with the President’s vision of creating one million jobs. It will enhance development as well as job creation,” he said.

Chilima added that government is ready to provide all the necessary support to the China –Africa Textile Company so that it boosts its capacity.

In his sentiments, Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, His Excellency Liu Hongyang said his country has great confidence Malawi will soon be on the right track of fast development, which will also help improve the livelihoods of Malawians.

“We are hoping that China-Malawi relations to be based on market, investment and trade.

“So besides assistance, China focuses on helping Malawi to realise independent development through investment, trade and market,” said Hongyang.

The Chinese Envoy to Malawi further said that China’s commitment to Malawi’s development will never change, saying they would encourage more Chinese companies to seek business opportunities and push for increase in trade between the two countries.

Once fully operational, the cotton mill company will provide 1,500 jobs for local people and generate 35 million US Dollars of foreign exchange for Malawi annually.

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