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Legume prices likely to tumble

Prices of legumes especially pigeon peas and soya beans are likely to fall this year following good weather conditions in most parts of the world.

Malawi banks its hopes on the Indian market for pigeon peas and soya beans exports.

However, the good weather pattern experienced during the last farming season, which saw farmers realising a bumper harvest, has also played to the advantage of countries like India.

India High Commissioner to Malawi, Maresh Kumar Menon, said India also received favourable conditions that have seen a good yield in pigeon peas.

“India is one of the major pigeon pea consumers, but last year we had good rains and the country has produced a good harvest in pigeon peas,” Menon said.

This likely dashes the hope of Malawians to export pigeon peas to the Indian market at a better price.

In an earlier interview, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) Chief Operating Officer, Chimwemwe Luhanga, said legume prices are likely to be affected this year following the good weather in most countries.

He however said legume production which currently the government is lobbying to diversify the economy from tobacco, is the way to go.

“Tobacco is the country’s major foreign exchange earner and the anti-smoking lobby has affected the tobacco market hence the need to explore other alternatives.

“Legumes do respond to the demands of the international market and in recent years we have been exporting a lot of pigeon peas and pulses to India, but because those areas have a better produce this year, then the prices being fetched on the international market will also be affected,” Luhanga said.

Lennies Enterprise Managing Director, Patrick Maseko, who is one of the local exporters, said while countries like India have received a bumper harvest, some countries are still looking for pigeon peas and soya beans.

“Countries like Zambia and South Africa are looking for pigeon peas, so the market is still there this year,” he said.

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