Demand for Malawi’s legumes on the international market has jumped to $275 million (about K190 billion), a week after Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) and AHL Commodities Exchange (AHCX) said they have identified more markets.
Last week, AHCX and Mitc said there is demand for 100 000 tonnes of pigeon peas, 130 000 tonnes of soy beans, 110 000 tonnes of groundnuts comprising Chalimbana and CG7, 30 000 tonnes of sunflower, 10 000 tonnes of kidney beans and 5 000 tonnes of sugar beans.
Mitc chief executive officer Clement Kumbemba, in an interview in Lilongwe yesterday, said there is market for the commodities in Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and other Asian countries, including India.
“This year, with many countries suffering from poor weather and climatic conditions, we can take advantage of that and mobilise enough legumes for export,” he said.
On his part, AHCX general manager Davis Manyenje on Monday said they have received positive feedback from both smallholder and commercial farmers since they announced the availability of international markets for legumes.
He said: “We have not only targeted growers, but even aggregators who have legumes because the market is huge. When we started consolidating the contracts, the figure was at $260 million [K180 billion], but now it has jumped to $275 million and we believe it will keep rising.
“It is our prayer for us to satisfy the market, the supply side must respond as well; hence, calling for more players.”
Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) president Alfred Kapichira Banda said AHCX is ideal for smallholder farmers where they can get better prices for their commodities, especially now when tobacco prices have not been favourable.
“We are happy that alternative markets for crops for farmers are being identified and we need to encourage farmers to take advantage of this opportunity,” he said.
AHCX touts itself as a fully electronic market, which brings in transparency and empowers farmers by disseminating market information in real time to all market players while at the same time providing the market with options for risk management by offering futures trading.