Tell us a few words about the founders and how the idea came
Edwards Dry Foods Co. was founded by two young women and a young man in southern part of Malawi namely Carol Marjorie Chidothe, a Bachelors’ Degree holder in Management Information Systems, Fainess Chidothe, a holder of Diploma in Business Administration and Alexander Matale who holds a Diploma in Financial Accounting respectively. This is a fruit and vegetable processing company that was registered in 2015.
This idea came in when I (Carol) heard on a radio’s news bulletin how diseases such as cancer, blindness, stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure etc., are increasing and killing a lot of people in our country. I shared the news to my friends, and then we began to research on how these diseases can be reduced or prevented in simple ways. In our research, we found out that a continuous consumption of fruits and vegetables can reduce cases of such diseases since they contain nutrients that fight these diseases. A report from Malawi’s ministry of Health in 2013 indicated that 30% of cancer cases can be prevented by living a healthy life style. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin A and C, Calcium, Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium which if consumed consistently can help people live a healthy life, and can also help pregnant women to deliver babies without brain or spinal cord defects.
Malawi is a country that largely depends on agriculture for food availability with almost 80% of agricultural farming depending on rainfall which makes most of the food crops seasonal and scarce in most months of the year. So having this in mind that fruits and vegetables are seasonal, most people do not know how to keep and preserve them when they are in season as a result they get wasted. A local farmer reported that 10 kg of tomatoes is wasted within a week due to rotting which indicates that most fresh food is wasted in a year. We, therefore, embarked on processing these fruits and vegetables for preservation by drying them and packaging so that people can still access them even when they are out of season.
Your products and services
From the dried fruits and vegetables, we have products like bottled spices, fruit crisps, packed dry vegetables called “Mfutso”, Raisins mixed veggies pack (indigenous vegetables). We offer catering and cookery lessons services on dry foods using a subsidiary name called Food House. We also offer nutritional advice in communities basing on fruits and vegetables.
Your success factors
We are so passionate about our work which is to help people live a healthy life. Team work also drives our success where everyone is considered and is active to achieve our goal. We are a very organized group with one purpose and hard work is our driving force.
Your factors differentiating and disruptive compared to the existing
We differ from the existing through our innovative aspect of dry food processing into different products suitable food everyone, and our drying methods are environmental friendly. Our products are packaged in a way that they can easily be stored for a longer period. We are the only ones in town offering catering services and cookery lessons on dry foods.
Your business model (how do you make money?)
We generate revenue from sales of our different dry food products, catering services and also from cookery school lessons we offer on dry foods.
A few words about your competitors
Our competitors are few those who import the same products and some local producers mostly in the urban-rural areas and they do not operate at a national level. We, therefore, have a large market for easy penetration.