The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has decried beans per capita consumption currently at six kilogrammes (kg) per person per year against the internationally recommended 15 kg per person per year.
Speaking at the launch of the Technology for African Agriculture Transformation (Taat)-Bean Compact on Monday in Lilongwe, the minister responsible Joseph Mwanamvekha said such low consumption partly contributes to malnutrition and stunting.
“With the challenge in accessing proteins and other nutrients from meat and meat products, legumes such as beans are the main and easiest source of such nutrients which can reduce malnutrition and stunting,” he said.
Mwanamvekha attributed this low consumption to technology transfer breakdown from researchers to farmers which results in use of unimproved low-yielding varieties.
The Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance director Robin Buruchara said beans with a high iron content are desirable in African countries such as Malawi.
He said apart from health benefits, the varieties are high-yielding and have huge demand on the international market, thereby assuring farmers of a reliable market and high returns.
Figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development show that bean yield in Malawi is estimated at 600 kg per hectare, representing 25 percent of the potential yield of the improved varieties whose seed output is below six percent of the national annual requirement.