Output and earnings from legumes are expected to grow four times this year following Comsip Cooperative Union Limited’s Legume Enterprise and Structured Production (Lesp) initiative.
While Comsip through Lesp project produced 48 metric tonnes (MT) of legumes in the last growing season, raking in K32 million, output and earnings are expected to quadruple in the 2018 season.
Although most legume farmers did not realise profits from their sales last year as prices plummeted due to lack of markets and overproduction influenced by low tobacco production, Comsip members had a different song.
For example, when vendors were offering K50 per kilogramme (kg) of soya, Comsip was buying the same at K220. Comsip was buying beans at between K350 and K420 per kg.
In an interview on the sidelines of a meeting organised to train members on Integrated Pest Management in Legumes in Mzuzu on Monday, Comsip social development specialist Davies Luhanga said they have registered an upward movement in cooperatives from 66 to 77 this year.
He said while Comsip provides its members with seeds and fertiliser, it also gives the farmers access to a market which makes legume farming beneficial to them.
One of the farmers from Euthini in Mzimba District, John Chaula, said he expects to make more money this year from legumes.
He produces about 150 kg as an individual and he is in a cooperative of 342 members.
The project is promoting the production of soya beans, sugar beans and pigeon peas which serves as an investment in addition to meeting their nutrition and health needs.