MCFI in Africa: Going Beyond Classic Trade

MCFI started its pioneering role for the agribusiness in Africa in the mid-nineties with the first export of fertilisers destined for the Kenyan market. A first step that was quickly followed by an expansion of the activities in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe. MCFI has since then continuously broadened its market base in the African continent and set up its first physical structure in Zambia in 1997 in the form of a warehousing and industrial chemicals trading operation in Lusaka. This milestone was soon tailed by the opening of a second warehouse in Ndola (Zambia) and in 2011 by the incorporation of a new office in Tanzania. The opening of these subsidiaries in Zambian and Tanzania allowed a broader product offer to be developed: the trade of chemicals, paints, detergents, specialty lab chemicals, raw materials and consumer goods started alongside the supply of fertilisers to the Zambian and Tanzanian agricultural sector.” explains Beas Cheekhooree, Managing Director of MCFI.

Going beyond classic trade

MCFI is the only fertiliser manufacturing company in the Indian Ocean with the required expertise to tailor-make fertilisers for the agricultural sector. Thanks to its expertise, the company gradually became a key partner to the agribusiness community for the provision of technical support, consultancy in agronomy, recommendations and fertilisation management solutions. In 2016, under a USAID program, MCFI conducted a consultancy with the Ethiopian government to set up the country’s first ever NPK fertiliser blending plants. A similar project is currently underway to build the fertiliser industry in Rwanda.

 “Over the years, we have established key partnerships on the continent with some preeminent actors in the sector, such as ENAS in Rwanda, which produces and trades coffee, maize and rice.” adds Beas Cheekhooree.

"In 2016, under a USAID program, MCFI conducted a consultancy with the Ethiopian government for the set-up of the country's first ever NPK fertiliser blending plants."

The MCFI of the future in Africa

In 2016, 12,000 MT of fertilisers were exported to different countries including Madagascar, Tanzania, Zambia and Reunion, and MCFI expects to increase this volume in the coming years, as Africa’s requirements for fertilisers escalate.

MCFI is already on a path to expand its footprint in Africa and diversified its product portfolio with industrial chemicals, water treatment chemicals, sugar refining chemicals, textile chemicals, detergent raw materials, mining chemicals, specialty laboratory reagents, air conditioners and refrigerant gases. “The setting-up of a physical structure in Dar Es’ Salaam, the main port on the East African coast, in 2011, has enabled us to reach new markets” adds MCFI’s Managing Director, “MCFI is now supplying products to landlocked countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Moreover, various initiatives and discussions are under way for the further development of MCFI in other African countries. Long-term partnerships have been established with experienced local partners and projects such as the setup and management of fertiliser plants or the supply of industrial chemicals are being assessed.”