India waives pigeon peas quota for Malawi
Expectations are high that Malawi will maximise earnings from pigeon peas exports to India this season as New Delhi has put a waiver on its earlier set 50,000 metric tonnes (mt) quota.
In 2021, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) where India agreed to provide an annual quota of 50,000mt of pigeon peas from Malawi to be imported, through private trade, that will come to an end in the 2025-26 season.
But, according to a letter we have seen from the Indian High Commissioner’s office addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the quota has been waived off until March 31 2024.
This means that Malawi can export an unlimited quantity of pigeon peas to India until March 31 2024.
Ministry of Trade and Industry spokesperson Mayeso Msokera welcomed the development and urged farmers and grower associations to take advantage of the unlimited market.
“We call upon producers to also utilise the available agricultural production and export financing facilities at institutions like the Export Development Fund, Agriculture Commercialisation Project and other local financial institutions to facilitate export financing needs,” Msokera said.
NFAM Projects Officer Henry Chikosa said the waiver signifies increasing demand for the crop by India, hence expectation of better prices both on the domestic and international markets.
He said the opportunity accords Malawi a chance to get the much needed foreign exchange.
“The waiver is a golden opportunity for Malawi, being the largest producer in Africa, but there is a need for strategic planning to ensure that it benefits the nation as a whole,” Chikosa said.
President of Grain Producers and Traders Association Grace Mijiga said the country might not satisfy the market demand as the news comes at the peak of production.
“We have production at a very low level and looking at the waiver window, which closes in March 2024, it means we can only trade with them in the current season. If it is possible, the government should engage India now for next year,” Mijiga said.
Malawi exported about 49,436 tonnes of pigeon peas in 2021 and 69,151 tonnes in 2022. Out of this, 26,000mt (2021) and 20,000mt (2022) went to India under the MoU.
A larger share of Malawi’s pigeon peas is exported to the United Arab Emirates