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New mandates to boost legumes export earnings

HAVE POTENTIAL—Legumes

MOLLER—Bottlenecks linking farmers to export are still there

On June 4 2021, the government published in the official gazette Export Mandates on selected legume and grain crops, introducing new regulations that make it mandatory for all exports of maize, soya, pigeon peas, groundnuts and sunflower to go through a commodity exchange.

As Agricultural Commodity Exchange for Africa (ACE) Chief Executive Officer Kristian Moller puts it to JUSTIN MKWEU in this interview, this is an important development in ensuring that earnings from these crops are fully tracked:

What is an Export Mandate?

The Export Mandate is a modality that ensures some structure around the export of some selected Agricultural Commodities in Malawi

Why does Malawi need it?

The Export Mandate will improve the way Malawi collects and make export data available to the public. It will also ensure that export is done at market-related prices, to prevent price transferring, and lastly it will monitor and reconcile the receiving of export proceeds to Malawi.

What does it entail?

It entails that exporter of the listed commodities will have to either trade through a Licensed Commodity Exchange or get the export contract verified by one.

What was Malawi missing or losing without the mandates?

Malawi has not managed to compile reliable export data and reports also show that significant amounts of export proceeds never reached Malawi.

Which crops will be covered by the mandate?

Groundnuts, pigeon peas including toor dhal, soya beans including soya pieces, soya bean cake, soya meal, beans, cow peas, sunflower including sunflower cake, rice including rice bran, rice meal, rice residues, maize including dried maize on or off the cob, maize bran, crushed maize, samp, maize grits, maize cones, hominy chop, maize offals or processed maize meal with or without additives.

How will this help farmers and the Malawi economy?

This will not really change the situation for farmers. The bottlenecks linking farmers to export are still many. Something that ACE will continue to work to improve.

Is this all that was required to structure the export of these crops?

No, a lot of work has to be done, mainly around farmer aggregation, access to finance and building strong cooperatives and groups.

Anything else you may wish to add?

ACE will do everything we can to ensure information generated under this directive is shared regularly with the industry and public at large.

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