Our inspections together with the Tea Association of Malawi finished today in Mulanje District at the Eastern Produce Malawi Limited. I personally met the Plantation, Agriculture Workers Union (PAWU), Gender Committee and the Women’s Welfare Committee. As a ministry we champion decent work for all as a right in line with standards set by the Malawi government as well as the International Labour Organization. I was particularly happy that the working environment for all employees adheres to the said standards.In addition estates have put in place strict measures to ensure that there is zero tolerance to GBV as well as Child Labour. For instance, estates at Nchima in Thyolo and MiniMini in Mulanje have well set up committees on Gender and Women welfare, Helplines, Organized Workers Union (PAWU) and access to law enforcers and top management.During my discussion with the PAWU, members decried the trouble in negotiating for their pay hikes or promotions due to lack of certificates. As a ministry we have taken it upon ourselves together with TEVETA to decentralize the Recognition to Prior Learning Program so that members who need certification can be assessed at their working place.On the other hand, Estates are doing a great job in their CSR by providing the necessary services in the communities they operate. Estates have built houses, schools, and clinics that service the staff as well as the communities where they are located. This CSR also poses an opportunity within the communities. Skills development in trades that can be necessary for maintenance and development of other infrastructure, is an opportunity that can be explored among the communities. Thus, the community members will be empowered, there would be a reduction in the rate of unemployment, and increase incomes. Issues of vandalism and violence from external communities poses a threat to the growth and expansion of the estates. As such I asked the police to establish a Police Unit to curb any criminal activity that may oppose the developments. On behalf of the Malawi government, my ministry will continue to work with the Tea Association to make sure the industry maintains and upholds the standards that have been set.

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