The Ministry of Trade has reiterated the need for diversified agricultural production in the country as it is still exploring export markets for locally produced commodities.
The ministry said, this year, pigeon peas has proven to be one of the key commodities on demand on the international market, saying Malawi would continue making the most of the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian government to have the commodity exported there.
Earlier this year, the two governments signed a pact to see Malawian farmers exporting 50,000 metric tonnes of the crop.
Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said the allocation to export 50,000 metric tonnes has almost been exhausted and signifies Malawi’s ability to meet this demand.
“This is an indication that the country has the volumes and capacity to export to the Indian market. It is important to note that transactions under the MoU will be carried out through private trade and not necessarily government to government. Therefore, we expect prices to follow international market dynamics,” Msokera said.
The agreement provides for an annual review of the quota.
In an interview, Africa Institute for Corporate Citizenship Chief Executive Officer Felix Lombe said output of the commodity has increased this season and that Malawi could make the most of it.
“We have had tremendous strides in the improvement of our varieties; a few that our research centres have released so far are among the best in the continent in terms of productivity,” Lombe said.
He added that Malawi needed to explore more markets and capitalise on value addition so that more is gained in terms of foreign investment.
Grain Traders Association of Malawi Chairperson Grace Mijiga Mhango said the quota is too small compared to the country’s capacity. According to data sourced from Malawi Investment and Trade Centre, Malawi is one of the major producers of pigeon peas in Africa, along with countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.