Kanengo Tobacco Processing Ltd (KTPL) has opened its doors in Lilongwe, Malawi with an investment of K4bn, becoming the country's third largest tobacco processing company after Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company and Alliance One Tobacco.
The company owned by the Tobacco Association of Malawi (TAMA), which owns 49% in shares, and Premium Tobacco Holdings Ltd, which holds 51%, has since created 200 jobs and has increased Malawi's tobacco processing capacity to 200 million kilogrammes from 140 million kilogrammes.
The company's managing director, Tom Malata, described the company as unique because it is wholly owned by Malawians "from top to bottom."
With the arrival of the new player in the processing market, the country will only export 24 million kilogrammes of unprocessed tobacco from the 224 million kilogrammes produced.
TAMA director of finance, Lemi Chitawo, said they decided to venture into the tobacco processing business in order to allow its members to enjoy Malawi's higher tobacco value chain so that they earn more from the leaf.
The company expects to be contributing towards the country's export earnings an estimated US$120m annually.
Gregory Gondwe is a Malawian journalist who started writing in 1993. He is also a media consultant assisting several international journalists pursuing assignments in Malawi. He holds a Diploma and an Intermediate Certificate in Journalism among other media-related certificates. He can be contacted on . Follow him on Twitter at @Kalipochi.