Civil Society Agriculture Network (CisaNet) has faulted policy and structural weaknesses, including poor enforcement of minimum farm-gate prices, for the stalled pigeon peas market in the country.
In its July position paper titled Pigeon Pea Marketing Trends in Malawi: What Does the Future Holds for Malawian Pigeon Peas Farmers, CisaNet says overdependence on the export market has demonstrated the weaknesses in the value chain.
Reads the paper in part: “Following the closure of the export market in India, Malawi has been left with little to no market outlets for marketing her pigeon peas.
“Under pressure and out of desperation, smallholder farmers disposed of their commodity at much lower prices than the government recommended price of K320 per kilogramme [kg].
Figures from CisaNet indicate that currently, India remains the largest producer of pigeon peas accounting for around 70 percent of the total global production, followed by Myanmar, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania.
In the past two seasons, India has allowed imports of pigeon peas in the region of 200 metric tonnes (MT) per year upon signing of a trade agreement with exporting countries. Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Salim Bagus said in an interview on Friday that government recognises the challenges with marketing of pigeon peas over the last few years, which it is currently looking into.