The newly established Lilongwe agro-based company Pyxus Agriculture Limited (PAL) says about 10 000 smallholder farmers from across the country have gone into contract with the company to grow different legume crops which it will be purchasing from them at the end of every harvesting season.
Pyxus Agriculture Limited Malawi Managing Director Ron Ngwira disclosed this during an open field day which the company organized with an aim of sensitizing various stakeholders in the agriculture sector about the new firm’s activities and objectives in the country.
According to Ngwira, Pyxus has already set aside various value addition mechanisms to the legumes which the farmers will be producing with aim of making sure that the farmers should be getting enough profit at the end of their farming agreement with his company.
He further explained that the value addition drive which his company has embarked on would also greatly improve marketability of the locally produced legumes crops such as beans, groundnuts and soya beans on the international market.
“As a new company which is just six months old, we are seriously aiming at empowering our local smallholder farmers by supporting them to grow various improved varieties of legumes such as groundnuts, soya beans, pigeon peans and sugar beans among others through provision of an already vibrant market and technical support in order to maximize profit from both parties,” said Ngwira.
Ngwira explained that despite having a great marketing potential, most legume crops that are produced by local smallholder farmers fail to attract international markets due to lack of a value addition aspect and mechanisms.
According to Ngwira, most legume crops such as groundnuts need to be well graded as well as ensure that they are toxins free, so that they can easily attract market both locally and internationally.
He added that apart from working with some contracted smallholder farmers under this legumes production program, his company has also embarked on winter cropping by using overhead irrigation program where 25 hectares of sugar-beans and eight hectares of pigeon peans respectively have been cultivated in some of the company’s commercial farms based in Mchinji, Dowa and Kasungu among others.
In his remarks one of the company’s contracted legume farmers Lameck Amoni commended Pyxus Agriculture Limited for coming up with the program of contracting smallholder farmers, saying the initiative has given them hope due to the availability of a ready viable market for their crops as well the availability of both technical financial support.
He explained that since he joined the company’s contract program earlier this year, he has so far been provided with a solar powered drip irrigation pumping machine which he is currently using for winter cropping at his farm in Dowa. According to Amoni, using the solar powered irrigation machine has so far enabled him to grow two hectares of maize and sugar-beans respectively which he said would improve food security in his family.
“Let me commend Pyxus for coming up with this program of engaging us the small-scale farmers through provision of both financial and technical support which is enabling us to grow crops that can give us high yields as well as a good profit,” said Amoni.
Apart from the legumes production program, the company has also embarked on a reforestation program where it has so far planted different species of trees covering over 6000 hectares of land on its leased farms in Mchinji, Kasungu and Dowa with an aim of improving environmental conservation in the country. Furthermore, this reforestation program will provide a better alternative to flue-cured tobacco farmers to source firewood for curing.
Before its establishment earlier this year, Pyxus used to be part of Alliance One Tobacco Malawi Limited which is part of Alliance One Tobacco International Inc of United States of America (USA).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :