Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe has commended Lilongwe based Pyxus Agriculture Limited for its efforts in promoting production of legumes such as groundnuts and Soya bean among others, saying the initiative will help to improve the social economic status of many smallholder farmers in the country.
Lowe made the remarks on Monday this week after touring Pyxus’s Mpale Farm as well as some groundnuts fields of some smallholder farmers at Madisi in Dowa who are growing different improved varieties of groundnuts using modern technologies under contract farming agreement with the company.
“I would like to commend Pyxus Agriculture for their initiative to venture into legumes production as well as value addition of such crops so that they can be sold on international markets especially in Europe and even in other countries globally. This is a commendable initiative and as government we are very much impressed with this development,” said Lowe.
The Agriculture Minister also said that he was particularly impressed with the company’s decision to engage various smallholder farmers to grow some improved varieties of groundnuts and other legumes on contract agreement, saying the initiave will greatly improve the social-economic potentials of the farmers due to the availability of markets for their crop.
According to Lowe, majority of farmers in the country fail to realize enough profits from their legumes farming due to lack of better markets as well as continuous dependency of growing some old varieties of groundnuts which do not give high yields per hector.
“I’m particularly impressed with Pyxus’s resolve to engage our local smallholder farmers here in Dowa to grow groundnuts on contract agreement with the company, something which government is also interested with as it helps the farmers to have a ready market for their crops even before cultivation,” said Lowe.
In his remarks, Pyxus Agriculture Limited Managing Director Ron Ngwira said his company has put in place various mechanisms that would help the locally produced legumes such as groundnuts and Soya bean among others to attract some international markets around the globe through value addition.
Ngwira said currently most locally produced legumes particularly groundnuts fail to attract international markets due to lack of some needed value addition mechanisms. He added that most locally produced groundnuts need to be value added before it can be exported to other countries as that would eliminate any availability of afflotoxins that may be found in it.
“So far we are working with over 6,000 contracted smallholder farmers who are growing different improved varieties of legumes especially groundnuts across the country and our aim is to do value addition here in Malawi and be able to sell final products to other countries through exports,” said Ngwira.
He disclosed that so far his company has invested about $1.2 Million dollars for a legumes processing plant which will go a long way in the value addition mechanism drive for most produced legumes in the country.
He further disclosed that his company has been working hand in hand with the department of research in the Ministry of Agriculture to come up a new groundnut variety called CG-15 which is believed to be giving high yields when cultivated across the country.
Ngwira said so far, his company through its Agricultural Field Technicians is teaching the local smallholder farmers to embrace some new technologies of cultivating groundnuts in order for them to get high yields per hector during harvesting season.
“Through our Field Technicians who are deployed across the country, we are teaching these smallholder farmers some farming methods of growing legumes such as applying fertilizer among many others,” said Ngwira.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :