The Malawi Government has pleaded with the Indian Government to speed up the process that will lead to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on pigeon peas market in India.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Henry Mussa made the plea at Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe where India Vice-President Shri Venkaiah Naidu unveiled a plaque for the Business Incubation Centre built at Mponela in Dowa.
He observed that the two governments are yet to sign the MoU that will see Malawi sell its pigeon peas to India, the world’s largest market for the crop.
Mussa said the Malawi Government wants the agreement to be signed so that small-scale pigeon peas farmers begin to benefit from the crop.
Said Mussa: “The moment the market is available, you will see that the graph of exports will rise. Malawi grows pigeon peas in almost all the districts and all we are grappling with is the market and we have to find a big market for selling the product.”
But Naidu, who jetted in the country on Sunday, said his government wants to partner with Malawi not only in agriculture, but also other areas such as information and communication technology, mining and infrastructure development.
He said: “Malawi is a country with great potential and it is rich in natural resources and other minerals such as uranium and niobium.”
The issue of pigeon peas market has of late become controversial after President Peter Mutharika directed State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) to buy the crop from farmers at K230 per kilogramme.
However, there are complaints that Admarc is prioritising commercial traders and politically-connected farmers at the expense of smallholder farmers.
This development has resulted in some smallholder farmers being stuck with the crop as they cannot find a market for it.
Other farmers are selling the crop to intermediaries just to get rid of it to make ends meet.