As the government continues to encourage farmers to embrace legume farming in the wake of challenges facing the tobacco industry, the country has no steady market for the potential forex earner.
Farmers from Mzimba and Rumphi districts raised the concerns on Monday in Mzuzu during an Integrated Pests and Disease Management training organised by Community Savings Programme in Malawi (COMSIP).
John Tchaula, of the 342-member Pamoza Cluster at Euthini in Mzimba, said, after running out of options last year, they sold their soya and other beans at as low as K50 per kilogramme to mobile vendors.
“Our main challenge is lack of reliable markets and, yet, there are plenty of messages encouraging us to grow legumes. Surprisingly, none of the organisations is ready to provide markets as evidenced by the bad experience had last year, when we felt duped,” Tchaula said.
He, however, said most farmers are ready to take up the legumes challenge again as the future of tobacco looks bleak.
Comsip Social and Development Specialist, Davies Luhanga, conceded that lack of a reliable market has been an issue, but reiterated that they strive to buy all the produce from their member-farmers.
“We are working to increase legume production. We also come in as a market and we offer competitive prices. Some traders bought the legumes from our warehouses for exportation elsewhere; so, we are optimistic about the market this year.
“In cases where we have sold [produce] at very high prices, we come back to our farmers and give them a percentage of the money realised,” Luhanga said.
He then said, in the previous season, Comsip realised about K32 million from 50 metric tonnes of soya beans and beans.
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