Farmers across the country are all smiles following President Dr. Joyce Banda’s drive to commercialize the agricultural sector by encouraging farmers to grow cash crops.
Soon after taking oath of office the Malawi leader announced a series of reforms aimed at improving the country’s production sector by promoting legume crops that have a readily available international market ideal for exports.
The President therefore established the Presidential Initiative on Poverty and Hunger Reduction (PIPaHR) as an implementing unit of the agricultural commercialization drive.
Among the projects which the initiative is implementing aimed at arresting worsening poverty levels include, “One Cow Per Family,” “Legume seed distribution,” “Two Crops Per Year Through Irrigation,” and Mudzi Transformation Trust.
Meanwhile, the Malawi government through the initiative has rolled out legume produce buying campaign, a gesture that has brought hope to local farmers who were usually being reaped off by unscrupulous traders.
Currently, the initiative which is under the Office of President and Cabinet has opened market points of Soybean produce across the country at a competitive price of K170 per kilogram beating the official government price which has been pegged at K160 per kilogram.
PIPaHR National Coordinator Flora Kaluwile told Nyasa Times the exercise, currently underway, is overwhelming as Malawi has registered a record high of legume production this year.
She disclosed that estimations put production of groundnuts, Soybean, Pigeon peas and Beans at over 700 000 metric tonnes this year.
“As government we believe such a success story has come about courtesy of legume seeds we distributed to farmers across the country. In our calculations we are expecting to realize an additional 50 million dollars from legume exports,” said a visibly excited Kaluwile.
Kaluwile further said the exercise will run for a period of one month adding, “the legumes are very strategic in the sense that not only will farmers will reap fruits of their labor but also Malawi as a country has the potential of generating foreign currency through exporting the crops, this is what we call empowerment from bottom to the top.”
On storage, Kaluwile also stated that the initiative has joined forces with Auction Holdings Limited which is providing warehouse facilities in all the three regions of the country.
Meanwhile, it’s been observed that decision by the presidential initiative to join the produce market has sent jitters among traditional traders as majority of farmers are flocking to the designated government markets to sell their Soybean due to the better prices on the table.
Apparently, in previous years farmers have suffered heavily at the hands of commodity traders who have been offering very meager prices.
Our investigations have since revealed that among the districts that have registered huge volumes of Soybean include Kasungu, Lilongwe, Dowa, Ntchisi, Mzimba, Blantyre, Thyolo and Zomba.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :