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Fresh push for export reforms

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Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have underscored the need for the country to have sound policies that would help in maximising export gains from commodities such as groundnuts and maize.

A research paper by the Malawi Priorities Project through National Planning Commission (NPC) released on Thursday shows that lifting the maize export ban would allow the country to earn K61 billion while improving regulation for groundnuts would earn the country export gains of K6.3 billion annually.

During a panel discussion organised by NPC, AHL Group Head of Operations Davis Manyenje said there was a need to create formal export channels for the commodities.

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Manyenje said a study that was done four years ago indicated that the country loses about $490 million in informal exports of legumes, such

as groundnuts, soya, cow peas and pigeon peas.

“We lost the market of groundnuts because of quality issues and afro-toxin. The moment these issues are addressed, we can go back. We need to structure the export of the product formally,” he said

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Agri-commodity exchange Africa Chief Executive Officer Kristian Moller recommended drawing of trade policies that would support the entire supply chain.

“We are optimistic that

the pieces of the puzzle are coming together and we will see more investments in the value chain,” he said

Ministry of Trade Principal Secretary Christian Chatima said there was a need to take advantage of regional markets while appealing to the private sector to support the government’s intervention.

NPC Director General Thomas Munthali said diversification of the agriculture sector through maize and groundnuts would lead to inclusive wealth as envisioned by agenda 2063.

Agriculture productivity and commercialisation are among the three pillars of the Malawi 2063 development agenda.

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