Today I was in Nkhatabay conducting an inspection visit to Kawalazi Tea Estate along side the Tea Association of Malawi. The tea industry remains a pivotal sector in as far as job creation and achieving the MW2063 is concerned.During the inspection I visited the factory, held meetings with Management, Plantation Agriculture Worker Unions (PAWU), and the Gender Committee focusing on Occupational Safety and Health, conditions of service, skills gaps, dubious compensations and encroachment.It was encouraging to note the unified efforts by Management, the PAWU and Gender Committee to curb challenges the estate faces. As a result, these efforts have translated into industry best practices as required by the international certification bodies.I also noted that the estate has skilled workers with no certification. Our Recognition to Prior Learning Program can certify them in their respective trades and help them advance in their careers. Having this in mind, I also suggested that an MOU between Teveta Malawi, Kawalazi Estate Company LTD and Ministry of Labour can help identify the skills gaps in the sector to be filled. On the issue of compensations, my Ministry is establishing a compensation fund to help cushion the Estates against exorbitant claims. The tea sector is one of the many sectors bombarded with huge compensation claims each years. As such this fund will help the sector reduce the impact of such claims on their operations. We are also engaging Ministry of Justice to help the sector in dealing with dubious claims among others. Lastly concerning encroachment we are looking into engaging Ministry of Lands as well as Ministry of National Unity to come and resolve some outstanding issues between the community and the estate.

Leave a comment