Malawi research into groundnuts’ viability as forex earner underway

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) says it is currently conducting a research on groundnuts to appreciate the dynamics of agricultural commercialisation as the crop is not among the leading farm commodities which Malawi exports.

Groundnuts

University of Malawi’s Professor Blessings Chinsinga said Saturday during a media workshop in Lilongwe that the study solely focuses on groundnuts because market information shows that it is no longer among leading forex earners.

“The study will give us impetus to engage with policy makers to put in place strategies and create enabling environment that would facilitate revitalisation of groundnuts to reclaim its lost glory on the international market,” Chisinga said.

He expressed hoped that the study will produce the desired results since it was designed to be conducted in two phases.

He said the first phase employed a quantitative approach and that from October this year, the second phase of the study will commence with a qualitative approach to generate data.

Chinsinga said during the second phase, APRA will follow up households that were interviewed in Ntchisi and Mchinji districts during the first phase of the research.

“We are aware that some of these family members have moved across the country and we would want to assess if their movement is related to their experiences in the agricultural sector.

“We believe by following them up, we will understanding and appreciate their stories and be in a better position to explain the dynamics of agricultural commercialization,” Chinsinga explained.

He acknowledged government’s efforts to create an enabling environment for agricultural commercialisation but said the country is still facing challenges to implement some of the formulated policies.

“If we look at the policies that government has come up with, they are beautiful ones; but implementation has been the major setback.

But through this study, we will bring new insights that will help us create an implementation framework that government would use to ensure that policy prescriptions are practically translated into action,” Chinsinga said.

APRA is a consortium of researchers across Africa, the United States and Western Europe, working on African agriculture.

Its aim is to ensure that agriculture becomes the leading sector to spur economic development and reduce poverty especially among women and the youth.

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