MALAWI. Nkhata bay: Wezzie Mzumara is a young woman from Malawi who would like to make a mark on Africa’s Cocoa market.
Mzumara told Transcontinental Times that she started planting cocoa in 2013 on a family land located in Lwazi, Nkhatabay.
Nkhata bay is a district on the north east of Malawi, along the shores of Lake Malawi.
Cocoa is not a major cash crop in Malawi, and the market is limited. A local newspaper recently reported that most of the crop is smuggled into neighbouring Tanzania.
Information on the growing of the crop is not readily available in Malawi and Mzumara explained that she sourced her information on the internet.
“Lessons on how to take care of cocoa trees are sourced from the internet on sites like YouTube and Google,” says Mzumara.
It takes 6 to 8 years to have a first harvest of the cocoa fruit after planting, but newer varieties take at least 4 years.
Most farmers in her area regard this as a demotivating factor. Many would love to see a harvest within at least the first year of planting a crop.
However, this is a risk Mzumara and other seven members of her family have to take.
Apart from Nekhbet, the cocoa bean is also grown in Karonga, the district which borders Tanzania to the north.
Ivory Coast and Ghana are the leading cocoa producers globally, but with determination, Mzumara and other farmers are ready to put Malawi on the global map, in the aspect of cocoa production.