Oxfam has challenged Women operating in extractive mining sector should view value addition to their products as a means of securing better price value.
Oxfam Malawi, Deputy Country Director, Elias Khozombwe made the remarks Friday during the closing of a two week training on Gemstone cutting and polishing at Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) in Mponela, Dowa facilitated by Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (SMEDI).
He said extractive mining sector could empower women economically if value addition concept was taken into another level where by their products could easily fetch better prices locally and internationally.
Khozombwe explained that women in the sector were faced with a lot of challenge where they don’t have proper equipment to improve their products within their locality.
The Deputy Country Detector said the training was meant to accord the women to appreciate on the importance of making value additional go the stones they mine.
“ We believe that what we are doing with the women in the sector was to training on how to capitalize their available natural resources for their own goo, In the long run we will complement Government efforts of improve and enhance the mining sector in the country,” he pointed out.
Khozombwe said mining sector has potential to create more employment opportunities to many people including women and youth in the country.
He thanked SMEDI for proving the training in which they helped the women to understand the importance of the extractive mining sector to their livelihoods.
SMEDI Human Resources Manager, Boardingtone Msulira noted that extractive sector has taken a new direction where there is stiff competition among various stakeholders.
He said if one wants to attract competitive prices of their products there need to be keen in upholding value addition to their products and one of doing that was to be trained on how to do it
“ we have a lot of mineral resources within the country but the only challenge we have was to make use of the resources by providing value addition for it to gain the accepted market value,” Msulira observed.
One of the participants, Margaret Nkhoma hailed Oxfam for organizing the training session which has acted like an eye opener to them on how to improve the value of the Gemstone they are mining in their areas.
She said many women have been in the sector years but they were earning less due to lack of basic knowledge on how to add value to their mineral resources.
“We will now be keen to create local markets for our products and at the same time we need to acquire machines on how we should polish our stones to make them ready for markets,” Nkhoma added.
The two week training had attracted 15 women miners from Mzimba and was being funded by Oxfam Malawi. – (By Tione Andsen)