Mablem calls for protection of legume produce in Malawi from unscrupulous foreign traders

Movement for  Black Economic Empowerment Movement (MaBLEM) have advocated for the protection of legumes produce in Malawi so that the crop fully benefits Malawians because no local farmers are involved at export level since the industry is saturated by foreign traders especially from India, Asia and Burundi.

Legumes sorting by smallholder farmers

“Observations on legumes market show that  presently, at production level, the local farmers only realize about 10% profit while the remaining op90% profit is realized at the value addition and export level,” MaBLEM says in a statement released in Lilongwe signed by MaBLEM chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba and Fryson Chodzi.

The organisation accuses foreign traders for milking Malawian farmers since the foreign nationals are reaping off from the local farmers by conniving with local traders to buy the produces at prices as low as MK50/kg for pigeon peas (Nandolo), or MK80/per kg for soya and MK130/kg for groundnuts and they export the same non-regulated.

According the MABLEM analysis, it is estimated that in  India, Europe and the Far East these produces fetch a minimum of US$5 for Nandolo, US$4 for Soya  and US$3 for Groundnuts.

“What is shocking is that most of these foreign nationals are involved in price transfers and also make fraud declarations to the Reserve Bank of Malawi as regards to their returns,” reads the statement.

MaBLEM has since recommended to government on the need to do away with archaic policies and help Malawi redeem tself from the pangs of the current state of despair and economic turmoil by adopting policies which benefit the majority of Malawi and its people — not foreigners.

“There is a need to reverse the current situation where foreigners especially from India, Asia and Burundi who are never farmers earn 90% of the profit from produce yet Malawians make a meagre 10% from their sweat.”

MABLEM also called upon farmers to wake up from their slumber and embrace the changes on how their producee are been sold and demand justice in ensuring that they benefit from their sweat and toil.

The organisation also urges government to do more than just setting up the nandolo price.

“Compelled by the circular from the Government of Malawi on the sale of pigeon peas released on 12th September 2018, we would like to urge on the authorities to do more beyond setting prices and assigning ADMARC to buy Nandolo and other legumes.

“The circular, though long overdue, is a welcome development towards the Black Economic  Empowerment and protection of the local farmers and the agricultural sector.

“However, we feel that the press release falls short of what is needed to be done in order not only to protect local farmers, but also for the country to economically empower its people through a properly regulated legumes structured market,” says the statement.

MaBLEM strongly believes that instead of just encouraging local farmers to be selling their Nandolo to  ADMARC at an agreed minimum price, the best way forward for Government of Malawi is to enact a  mandate that would control and regulate the trading of not only Nandolo but also the other legumes as well.

The leaders have also accused some companies working under Grain Traders Association for reaping off Malawians.

“We are asking Government to regulate export of the listed five legumes (Nandolo, Mtedza, Nanyati, Soya and Sesame) so that just like protected products like timber, be exported under the control of Reserve Bank of Malawi that any company or individuals exporting these products must register with the Central Bank.”

The organisation say legumes have a potential to turn the economic welfare of Malawian and there are evidence and pointers that if a mandate was acted, Malawi would benefit a lot on the sale of legumes as compared to the  current status.

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3 years ago

I agree with MaBLEM, why is the government not controlling the export of these legumes, through ADMARC for example, so that farmers sell at reasonable prices and contribute to economic growth of the country. Really, legumes are fetching very high prices on the foreign market.

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