The governments of Malawi and India Wednesday sealed a pigeon pea export deal which would see Malawi exporting 50,000 metric tonnes of the crop to the populous Asian nation each year for the next five years.
The deal was signed in Lilongwe between Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe and India High Commissioner to Malawi Shri Gopalakrishnan.
Gwengwe said the pact provides for an annual review of the tonnage, adding that if Malawi performs better, there would be on opportunity for an increase of the tonnage.
He said the agreement paves way for an increase in production quantities of pigeon peas and processing of Toor Dhal traded between Malawi and India.
“The country also stands to benefit from competitive international market prices that the Indian market would be offering, thereby diversifying sources of foreign exchange for our economy.
“Securing India as a reliable market for pigeon peas would encourage sustainable production for the commodity thereby improving the livelihoods of our local farmers,” Gwengwe said.
The deal comes at a time the government is engaged in a number of trade facilitation initiatives in export diversification as well as commercialisation of agriculture.
Gwengwe said much as it was government-to-government signing the MoU, the key player in the game would be the private sector, particularly farmers and processors, among others.
He said the role of government would be to provide a conducive business environment for the private sector to thrive.
“Let me therefore urge the private sector in Malawi to take this opportunity seriously. Through this memorandum, the ministry would like to see continuation of joint efforts between Malawi’s private sector in pigeon peas and the private sector in India,” Gwengwe said. On his part, Gopalakrishnan said he was happy to sign the deal with Malawi.