Malawi Legumes Farmers Urged to Unite for Market Access and Profitability
Grey Mwalabu, Deputy General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), urges legume farmers in Nthalire to form cooperatives for better bargaining in agriculture.
Chitipa, Malawi – The Deputy General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), Grey Mwalabu, has called upon legume farmers in Nthalire to join forces as cooperative members to enhance their bargaining power in the competitive agricultural sector, writes Crosbel Chilongo.
This move, he emphasised, is crucial for realising value chain production and gaining access to profitable markets.
Bishop Mwalabu made this appeal on Wednesday after engaging with representatives from the Domwe and Chalaghala farmers' cooperatives, operating within the Traditional Authority areas of Wavikaza and Nthalire, situated in the southern region of Chitipa district.
"From what you have shared with me, it clearly shows that project activities are doing great in changing the lives of you farmers," stated Bishop Mwalabu during his surprise field monitoring visit.
The visit coincided with the conclusion of a two-day legume farming refresher training and demonstration program.
The program aimed to equip local farmers with knowledge and skills in the production of various legumes, including soybeans, sunflower, groundnuts, and sesame, which is locally known as "ununia."
When questioned about the significance of the training, project officer Simon Zuze emphasized that legume crops have demonstrated profitability in alignment with climate-smart farming practices.
Francis Mbale, the Lead Facilitator of the training and Kavukuku Extension Planning Area (EPA) Agricultural Extension Coordinator (AEC), lauded the project's focus on legume crop production.
He expressed concern that many farmers in the area tend to avoid cultivating legumes, despite their low budget input requirements compared to other food and cash crops grown in the district.
Speaking on behalf of fellow participants, Tuesday Kaonga from the Chalaghala farmers' cooperative expressed appreciation for the knowledge and skills acquired during the training, highlighting that it had deepened their understanding of modern legume production techniques.
The EAM is currently implementing a four-year Climate Smart and Economic Empowerment (CSEE) project that commenced in 2021 in Chitipa district, covering the Traditional Authority areas of Wavikaza and Nthalire.
The initiative aims to benefit 3,400 beneficiaries and is financially supported by Norwegian Church Aid and Danish Church Aid, with funding totaling MK120 million.
The project is set to expand to Karonga and Chikwawa districts in the near future.