Empowering Women Hub Agrodealers: Tiwonge Investments now supplying the Affordable Inputs Program (AIP)
AFAP Malawi has positioned itself as a supporter of gender equality in the development of hub agrodealers in the country. As such, AFAP Malawi has been encouraging women hub agrodealers in their endeavours to grow their businesses successfully. One such woman who has achieved exactly this is Mrs Rose Kalua.
Rose Kalua is the founder and managing director of Tiwonge Investments in the northern part of Malawi. She holds a diploma in agriculture, which she obtained from the Bunda College of Agriculture in 1984. Kalua opened her company 15 years ago, originally starting by selling small quantities of seed on consignment basis. Today Rose has three permanent sales outlets in Mzuzu (her main outlet), Nkhata-Bay Boma and Karonga and opens seasonal outlets in all these districts including Rumphi District depending on demand.
Managing Director, Tiwonge Investment
Over the years Kalua has managed to achieve impressive growth rates for her business. Prior to becoming a hub in the 2018-2019 season, she sold 15mts of fertilizer. However in the 2019/20 season, the tonnage has increased to an impressive 683.7mts. Kalua also sells agrochemicals and vegetable seeds, and she is also involved in output marketing. She buys commodity surplus from farmers and sells it to agro food processors including, among others, the Export Trading Group and Central Poultry Feeds. She also processes some of the maize from her three maize mills and sells it as corn flour. Kalua has warehouses in various districts for storage purposes. Her pick-up truck is another asset as it moves products to and from farmers. As such, Kalua can offer excellent performance in both of her business lines.
Over the years Kalua has created strong and reliable relationships with her customers, which includes cooperatives such as Tasanganapo, Engucwini and Vangalala in Mzimba District. Her management team is committed to growing the business by providing excellent customer service.
Recently Kalua won a bid to supply fertilizer to the Affordable Input Program (AIP), which has replaced the Government Fertilizer Input Subsidy Program (FISP). Previously agro-dealers have complained that participating in the p only allowed them to sell seed. This meant that they were unable to act as a â€œone-stop shopâ€ for farmers, who would also need to buy other inputs. Tiwonge Investmentsâ€™ participation in this yearâ€™s AIP is ground breaking achievement for an agro-dealership in Malawi. Kalua has already begun work on the program by attending several briefing meetings on how to meet the AIPâ€™s standards when conducting business. This yearâ€™s program has modernised and is now making use of an e-system. This means that beneficiaries will not be issued coupons but instead will use their identity cards, which will be scanned using smart phones. Each supplier has been allocated a specific area in which to operate. For example, Tiwonge Investments will supply the inputs for AIP in Mzimba District in the Mbalachanda and Malidade Extension Planning Areas (EPAs).
Reflecting on this achievement, Rose Kalua has offered the following commentary: â€œI would like to thank AFAP for facilitating and encouraging me to apply and indeed I have been picked to be one of the suppliers in the Mzimba District.â€
Well-stocked shops in readiness for the 2020/21 season and AIP