Despite having a ready export market, Malawi is failing to meet global demand for chillies due to low production, a development that is hampering the country’s potential to enhance its revenue generation.
Deputy director of crop development responsible for horticulture in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Eviness Nyalugwe, said this on Tuesday during a clinic for chillies production that targeted representatives of farmer cooperatives drawn from districts of the country.
The Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) is organising such clinics to empower growers to value add and produce more chillies to suffice the existing export demand.
The initiative is part of the Economic Integrated Framework (EIF) that has strategic support in the agricultural sector to enhance value chain addition and increased productivity to create competitiveness of products on external markets.
Said Nyalugwe: “Despite Malawi’s potential to enhance its revenues through the chillies sector, the reality is that the current levels of production are not progressive and cannot sustain the global demand.
“As of 2017, Malawi’s chillies and paprika production were at 141 216 and 471 317 metric tonnes against the global demand of 3 million metric tonnes. What is critical at this stage is for Malawi to boost its production levels and match quality standards to the international preferences.”
Mitc chief executive officer Clement Kumbemba expressed worry over the development, saying more investments are needed into chillies production to suffice demand and maximise revenue from the crop.
“Mitc believes that the chillies sector has competencies for Malawi. Malawi is known for producing unique chillies. We should revisit our strategies and take advantage of available value chains. Let’s face it, we have not been aggressive enough. This is why we are engaging the farmers to produce and meet the demand”, he said.
A recent study commissioned by Total Land Care shows that Paprika and Bird’s Eye Chillies have comparative advantage in the readily available markets in Africa and Europe such as South Africa, United States of America, Spain and other European countries.