The International Crops Research Institute for semi arid tropics (ICRISAT) has said Malawian farmers are loosing readily available markets of pigeon peas due to under production.
Mr. Oswin Madzonga, the senior scientist for ICRISAT said, India is interested to import 5000 metric tones of pigeon peas from the country every month however Malawi only produces about 60 metric tones per annum.
‚ÄúThe 60-150 metric tones of pigeon peans is just for home consumption and is largely produced in the southern region,” said Mr. Madzonga.
Many central and northern region farmers show very little interest to grow pigeon peas because they say it takes time to mature.
Speaking at Mwimba research in Kasungu, Mr. Madzonga revealed that the institute has come up with new varieties which can do better in all the regions of the country.
He said the new pigeon pea varieties are Mwayiwathu alimi and 01514/15.
‚ÄúCurrently we are producing very little because we are confined to one region and with the introduction of the new varieties we can improve production to satisfy the market demand.‚ÄĚ
Mr. Mandy Bodzalekani, the program manager for Kasungu ADD said, time is ripe for farmer to venture into pigeon pea farming and other legumes to increase household income in the face of dwindling tobacco production.
Mr. Bodzalekani expressed hope that Malawi could meet the demand if more farmers would take up the challenge.
‚ÄúKasungu ADD was a on tradition pigeon pea area due to the weather and with the new varieties the onus is on farmers to invest in legume farming,‚ÄĚ said Mr. Bodzalekani.
The field day, organised to promote legumes such as ground nuts and pigeon peas , drew together over 80 agricultural officials from Dowa , Ntchisi, Kasungu and Nchinji.
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