Experts say legumes can replace tobacco

Malawi’s Deputy Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Dr Jeffrey Luhanga has said legumes such as soya beans and groundnuts can replace tobacco as a major source of foreign earnings if grown on a large scale.

Luhanga said this at a two-day legumes stakeholders meeting held in the capital, Lilongwe last Friday.

He said the country should seize an opportunity of increased demand for legumes globally to grow more soya, groundnuts and beans.

“We need to grow more legumes because of the global demand for soya beans and groundnuts which has pushed the prices of the crops up.

“Even the Malawi Government struggles to get legumes for the Farm Input Subsidy Programme,” said Luhanga.

He said legumes from Malawi are in high demand in the UK, Kenya, South Africa and China.

He said most people worldwide are shunning meat for vegetables because of health reasons.

Rural Livelihoods and Economic Enhancement Programme national director Dixon Ngwende said on average, the gate price for soya and groundnuts was around K200 (about $1.19) and K250 (about $1.49) a kilogram from around K80 (about $0.47) and K100 (about $0.60) per kilogram last season.

The commodity is now fetching around K350 to K400 per kilogram in shelf/ retail price.

Cotton, paprika and coffee are other crops said to have potential to replace cotton.

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