AHCX public relations officer Maggie Msiska has urged farmers to grow more legumes because there is a huge demand for the produce within and outside the country.
About 5 600 tonnes have passed through the AHCX between 2013 and 2014, but Msiska says there is still room for improvement and more initiatives are needed to make farmers grow more legumes.
Said Msiska: “We have not satisfied demand because more people are looking for legumes. On the global market, the demand for peas, groundnuts, soybeans, pigeon peas, sugar beans and groundnuts is growing and we should take advantage as a nation. With the forward contracts we have launched, we know that farmers are excited to grow more legumes because their returns will also be enormous.”
She said since the forward contracts were launched, there has been excitement among farmers and she was hopeful that it will encourage many to venture into legume farming.
Projects officer at the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship and Legume Development Trust (LTD), Tadala Rambiki, said there is need for more collaboration among several players in the legume sector to encourage farmers to grow more legume crops.
“The legume sector is very big and has the potential to contribute significantly to the GDP in terms of nutrition, income as well as exports. This crop has the potential to take many farmers out of poverty. We want more farmers to be in groups so that they can meet the amounts demanded by buyers. Our trust is currently focusing on four main legumes, groundnuts, beans, pigeon peas as well as soy but our mandate is to cover and develop all legumes in Malawi,” said Rambiki.
She said LDT is grouped into themes which include production, marketing, policy and institutional development as well as processing and value addition.
“We want to look into seed availability and access, production and productivity, research, technology, dissemination and post harvest management issues, among others,” said Rambiki.