In a surprise move, President Arthur Peter Mutharika has stepped in to regulate trading for Pigeon Peas (Nandolo) by directing a farm gate price of K230 through the government’s grain trader, Admarc.
Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism Dr Ken Ndala said in a statement the Presidential directive aims to protect farmers from below the recommended price.
The measure comes into effect immediately.
“The government is urging general publc and all Nandolo farmers to sell at nearest Admarc Market depot and refrain from selling the crop to unscrupulous traders buying below the government’s recommended price,” said Ndala.
The PS said government is committed to continue supporting pigeon pea farmers to boost their income and general welfare.
“Government will also continue to support the growing of Nandolo to enhance the national diversification agenda,” he said.
Local subsistence farmers sell their pigeon peas to Asian traders in Limbe and Lilongwe who in turn export to South Africa and Tanzania where the legume is either re-traded with Europe and Asia for production of animal feed, spiced snacks and fertilizers.
Asian merchants are notorious for distorting the local market value of pigeon peas as they source it through intermediaries who buy from growers in bulk at a lower price.
This is the first time for the president to intervene on farm gate price of a grain commodity that is not essential to both food security and export revenue strengthening measures of government. India is the world’s major producer of the peas. Malawi’s major export commodity is tobacco, while maize is her staple grain.
Production and marketing of tobacco and maize have a huge impact on Malawi economy as they dictate inflation and foreign exchange flows to the land-locked country.