[Startup Interview] Dumisanie Mambiya, CEO, FADC, Malawi
Malawi-based Food & Agribusiness Development Company, FADC, is an agriculture startup that is working with horticulture and groundnut farmers to boost their earnings through offering an array of services including competitive prices, supplying improved agri-inputs and offering trainings and other advisory services.
The founder Dumisanie Mambiya tells us more.
Briefly describe your company
Food & Agribusiness Development Company (FADC) Limited is a Malawi- based social enterprise that has since its inception in 2015 been developing smallholder farmers into food sufficient and profitable agribusiness entities. We do this by buying farmers' produce at fair prices, supplying improved agri-inputs and training. We also help medium- and other large-scale farmers become more profitable through agribusiness advisory services. FADC was first a sole proprietorship, but has this year been incorporated as a company limited guarantee.
Who are the founders and what are their professional backgrounds?
The startup was founded by Dumisanie Mambiya and Samuel Kapota.
Dumisanie, the founder, holds a bachelor's degree in Agribusiness Management and has worked in the NGO sector, government as well as private consultancy for 7 years, while forming FADC. Samuel, the co-founder, has been working in the agribusiness private sector for 5 years.
How is your company financed?
We are currently financing the company from our personal income.
Why did you start FADC? What opportunities did you see?
I saw the opportunity of a growing demand for food and non-food products of agriculture, and decided to set up FADC in order to make a contribution in meeting my country’s and the continent's food and non-food basket requirements. Besides, I have always had a passion for farming, and while working elsewhere, I decided that forming a company around my passion was the way to go.
What problem or problems does FADC solve?
We solve the problem of low productivity for smallholder farmers’ production by supplying them quality certified inputs so that we can ably meet the world's demand for quality food. We are currently focusing on groundnut production and horticultural crops like onions. We also solve the lack of a reliable market for farmers' produce by buying their produce.
What gives FADC the competitive edge?
We buy farmers' produce at the best prices, and that's our uniqueness. Our heart is on the ultimate good welfare of the millions of smallholder farmers who play a critical role in the food supply chain.
Who are your customers?
Our clients include individual consumers of groundnuts to whom we exist to package and sell good groundnuts. In addition, we sell to hotels, supermarkets and other local markets.
What would you say are the dynamics shaping the agriculture sector?
Our industry is a highly rewarding one, with a lot of returns that come in when an investment is managed properly. However, it is also a risky one where climatic change, change in consumer tastes and price volatility can pose a huge barrier to profitability and continuity. We are affected by government regulations, but we also have a voice through our various associations and platforms. Overall, we produce what every human on earth needs, and that is food, so overall it is a good industry.
What does your company need in order to grow?
FADC needs the right partnerships and financing to expand its base to more farmers and purchase farms for scaling production of what our market is increasingly demanding.
What is your growth strategy?
We intend to employ market expansion, production expansion and diversification in order to grow as a company. We will explore new markets across Africa and beyond using the AfCFTA, we will improve our groundnuts by processing and repackaging nicely and we will diversify to other viable products in the legumes and grain as well as livestock sector.
In which markets are you looking to establish your presence?
We want reach the Zambian, Mozambican, Zimbabwean, Kenyan, Congolose, Tanzanian, and even European markets with our groundnuts and other products.
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
In the coming 12 months, we intend to mobilize a minimum of 200 new farmers to join our agricultural value chains, and we are in the process of mobilizing funding for that.
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