Demand of organic crops in Europe, Middle East and United States of America is on the increase such that Malawi is failing to supply the required quantities, Business News has learnt.
The crops that are being sought after include macadamia, tea, Moringa, baobab powder, beans, sesame, potatoes, legumes, meat products as well as bananas.
Malawi Organic Association (Moga) executive director Stanley Chidaya said in an interview his organisation is putting in place strategies that will help to meet market requirements by identifying farmers who can ably grow the organic crop.
Chidaya said it is high time Malawian farmers took advantage of the demand to increase production.
“In Germany, there are buyers such as Govinda and Africrops who are looking for 10 tonnes of Moringa every three months but we can only supply them three tonnes. In America, an organisation known as Tree Crops is looking for 20 tonnes of Baobab powder every three months but we are only able to supply 12 tonnes. An Italian organisation Coopi is looking for 600 tonnes of rice every six months but we are only
supplying 20 tonnes.
“This is why we are saying we are missing an opportunity and we need to scale-up our organic farming technologies,” he said.
Chidaya said organic farmers have an opportunity to supply Taiwan with 2 000 tonnes of organic coffee and the United Kindgom with 100 tonnes of beans and potatoes every three months yet the country can only supply 20 tonnes of beans and has not yet started exporting the potatoes.
Taiwan and Netherlands, he said, are some of the countries organic farmers can supply Macadamia.
“We are planning big for organic farmers and by 2018, we want to have in our books 120 000 farmers and we will do this by inculcating into farmers value chain development. Most of the products that have booked through us are under produced and we are putting in place internal control systems and certification processes. As I am talking, agreements with certification bodies have been done and buyers’
contracts sealed,” said Chidaya.
Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) president Alfred Kapichira Banda said there is need to find more crop markets if the country is to benefit from agriculture.
“If there are more markets outside the country for our crops, then at the end of the day it is the famer who benefits. This is what is needed for any country to develop and we encourage farmers to use each
and every means available to maximise gains from their crops,” said Kapichira Banda.