Malawi legumes on high demand in RSA, ZIM

Whilst Malawian local farmers strive to search for potential markets for their hard earned farm produce, South Africa has pressed for ‘huge supplies’ of legumes effective 2016 harvesting season, Malawi’s High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Anne Kumwenda has said.

This is an opportunity happening at a time when most farmers have just harvested crops with many not having ready markets for their produce, a development that offers unscrupulous buyers an opportunity with uncertified scales to get hold of the market, which is a major factor that has ruined farmers due to stumpy prices offered.

In an interview with Mana on Tuesday, Kumwenda said that, “I am happy to confirm that we have big and stable markets for legumes in South African and Zimbabwe starting from this year’s harvesting season”.

She told Mana that, on the onset Malawi is demanded to supply a minimum of 5, 000 metric tonnes of ground nuts, soya beans, pigeon peas and beans each.

“But, the demand can be met if we collectively put our efforts, ” she said, specifying that Eviss Company is prepared to enter into contract farming with Malawi farmers to ensure that the demand is actually hit satisfactorily.

“These companies will scale up the demand as a result contract farming will be a remedy to spur production. It is agreed in the terms of the bond that provision of quality seeds, technical advice, shelling, grading machines and fertilizers will be prioritized, “Kumwenda adds.

According to the High Commissioner, Zimbabwe through the Harare Mission will hand over the deal to Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development once the company has fulfilled all the requirements as guided by the Malawi Investments and Trade Centre.

She then thanked Malawian farmers for being hard-working, but she said poor market prices demoralize farmers’ efforts to scale up production.

“Contract farming with good prices as being negotiated could be one way of resolving lack of markets and exploitive prices,” the High Commissioner explained.

Kumwenda, then immediately appeals for strong coordination among all partners engaged in agriculture sector like farmers’ cooperatives, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and companies which should be harmonized through the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development to have an improved and collective marketing strategy.

“There is great need for this demand to be nursed; this message must reach all farmers. Sometimes we might lose this extraordinary opportunity due to under supply while we have the commodities with our farmers,” she enlightened.

Kumwenda noted that, farmers would still be lagging behind if timely delivery of goods, customer care, courtesy and honesty were not considered as cardinal components as regards gaining market, maintaining and instilling confidence in our potential buyers.

The High Commissioner thinks that farmers must be helped more as Malawi is agrarian economy.

“If contracting farming is taken seriously it would improve on the mindset change that agriculture is lucrative business,” adding that printable farming would confidently reduce urbanization in the process.

She then urged Malawians to think about irrigation as the only complementary measure in combating food shortages that is hitting many countries in the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) region which is being originated by climate change.”

This opportunity comes into the limelight at a time some Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) recently participated in the Trade Fare in Bulawayo-Zimbabwe as one way of exploring potential markets while Malawi hosted International Trade Fair on 20th May 2016 in Blantyre.

She said locally produced goods of Malawi origin had hit the 2016 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo,something that vindicated government its firmly touted agenda, ‘Buy Malawi Strategy’ to promote Malawian producers through buying locally made goods to among other reasons boosting the country’s economy.

“I must confirm that our products were hot cakes at ZITF just because they are being locally produced and originated by us Malawians. We have a very big opportunity for us to expand more than this, and win international markets,” narrated Kumwenda.

Coffee, Juices made from (Malambe) baobab fruits and processed sexual and healthy boosting roots, legumes and fish were among the products which were tousled for at ZITF

However, she bemoaned with some companies and NGOs which do not show much interest to participate in the Trade Fair saying doing so is retrogressive towards the growth of Malawi’s exposure on the international market.

“Only Arkay Plastics participated in the ZITF of all other big companies. Some could be because they are not ready to spend,” she observed, adding that countries like Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and DRC comparatively increased in their participation than Malawi.

“The fair benefited me a lot because it exposed my products to the international market, sweet potato flour called Ruo Body Cleaner which is a detoxification product,” Chrispin Andrew Njendengwa who exhibited under FPP General Dealers told Mana.

Source: Malawi News Agency