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Govt urged to create structured markets for groundnuts

MwAPATA Institute – a local agricultural policy think tank – has urged the Malawi Government to create structured markets for groundnuts, stressing that this is key in addressing challenges affecting groundnut value chain efforts.

The institute makes the recommendation in a paper the institute has released after conducting a study on the Agricultural Diversification Challenges and Opportunities in the Malawian Groundnut Value Chain.

The institute shared the findings of the study at a breakfast it hosted for editors and senior members of the media in Lilongwe on Wednesday.

MwAPATA Institute Executive Director William Chadza (2nd from left) addressing journalists at the interactive breakfast in Lilongwe on May 3, 2023–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

According to the study, which was carried out by Dinah Salonga, Anderson Gondwe, and Joseph Goeb, groundnut has the potential to contribute to Malawi’s agricultural diversification agenda for both food and export purposes.

However, the farmers highlighted high aflatoxin contamination, limited access to improved seed, and limited access to structured markets as some of the challenges hindering growth in the industry.

The researchers observed that Malawi’s groundnut value chain showed strong growth in recent years as production and areas planted have steadily increased over the past 16 seasons.

Ironically, the study found that yields fluctuated and lie well below the potential of between 1.5 tonnes per hectare and 2.5 hectares owing to adverse weather shocks, low and fluctuating prices, inadequate high-quality seed sullies, and poor crop production practices.

Nation Publications Limited (NPL) News Analyst Clement Chinoko (left) was part of the participants at the interactive breakfast–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

“The government, the private sector, and other stakeholders should work collaboratively to address enabling barriers to both production and value addition, including lack of high-quality seed, high cost of electricity, and agricultural policy and regulation. There is also a need to improve communication channels with businesses, including consultation with stakeholders in the agri-food system, and streamline public-private policy engagement,” recommends the institute.

MwAPATA Institute believes that the creation of structured markets would encourage more farmers to grow the crop thereby increasing volumes for export to other countries.

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