Legumes for strong business and nutrition

A value chain analysis conducted in Malawi by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) identified legumes to have strong business case with greatest potential for nutrition and gender benefits with best opportunity for innovation.

Mphande (right), LDT official (Centre) and Mpaluko (3rd from right). Pic by Daniel Namwini-Mana

Chairperson for value chain, Vincent Amon Mpaluku made the remarks on Monday during a media briefing in Lilongwe.

He said legumes such as groundnuts, soy beans, pigeon peas and common beans offer strong market potential based on their market share and average annual growth rate in the country.

“The legume sub sector has about 2,011,817 smallholder farmers, 60 percent being women, covering 27 percent of cultivated area.

“The total area under groundnuts, soy beans, pigeon peas and common beans is approximately 804,727 hectares with an average per capita land holding size of 0.4 hectares,” he said.

The chairperson added that the national export strategy and agriculture investment plan allocated legumes as having potential for export as the country seeks to diversify away from the traditional export crops.

Legume Development Trust (LDT) through the Uniterra Program and several government technical working groups collaborates with developing partners such as Royal Norwegian Embassy and World University Services of Canada (WUSC) among others.

Country Director for WUSC, Godfrey Mphande said legume development trust mandated to respond to the national legumes initiatives and facilitate strengthening and improvement of the legumes value chain in Malawi.

“LDT has established Technical Working Groups (TWGs) that work to support institutional development, improve production, enhance marketing, and processing and value addition,” Mphande said.

Therefore, he said capacity building of the value chain players, including smallholder farmers has remained key.

“The Trust has a five-year strategic plan 2016 to 2021, a roadmap that is meant to enhance collaboration amongst value chain players, improve interaction and knowledge sharing, lobbying government on key policy issues, and finding solutions to common challenges,” he pointed out.

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