A Sneak Peek into the 2015/16 Legumes Marketing Season
- Published: Thursday, 02 February 2017 22:49
With the tobacco industry being under threat due to high intensity of the anti-smoking campaign, the legumes sub-sector continues to be a sub sector of interest in Malawi. After registering high prices last growing season, 2015/16 domestic marketing season for Legumes has been characterized with generally low prices even for the highly anticipated Pigeon Peas. This article seeks to provide some highlight of the Market season as per the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship’s Legumes Development Trust (LDT)
Most of the major legume crops such as Groundnuts, Soybeans and Beans have already been absorbed by the market. Prices for Soybeans fluctuated within a short period of time from early June at Mk 290/ kg to Mk 360/kg over a 3 – 4 weeks’ period. The price change was due to panic amongst traders which was triggered by speculations that due to dry spells, Soybean will be in short supply. Prices dropped and stabilized at an average of Mk 325/kg at which a large proportion of the year’s produce was absorbed by the market. Current prices are trending between Mk 300 and Mk 350 per Kg.
Groundnuts were characterized by low production which was attributed to the erratic rains within the 2015/16 season. Prices averaged at Mk600/kg in end June which was deemed lower compared to the previous season. Due to the low production, there was a lot of quality compromises in terms of grading continue to be made by traders and sellers. This has generally affected prices offered on the market, Prices continue to fluctuate, with prices floating around Mk 500 to Mk 580 in August.
The Market for Beans continues to be small and highly unmonitored. Red Kidney and Red Speckled beans continue to be the most popular varieties on the domestic and international markets. Supplied in Mixed forms on the formal market, this led to floating of prices just between Mk600/kg and Mk 700/kg on average.
As usual, Pigeon Peas is the terminal legume on the Market and probably the most highlight anticipated by producers whom in reference to the surge of prices to at least Mk1,200/kg during 2014/15 season pegged prices at Mk1,000/kg at the start of the 2015/16 marketing season. However, Prices are currently trickling in at Mk450 and have continued to downfall to as low as Mk250 per kg as reported in other areas.
In conclusion, much as the season has been quoted as “bad” for most producers, there is hope for improvement as interventions to ensure access to markets by smallholder farmers continue to grow in the subsector. Furthermore, experience has shown that, with each passing season, more farmers are getting comfortable with trading on the Malawi commodity exchange platforms thus moving into the structured market system will not be a difficult shift. Lastly, there has been an increase in access to market opportunities through the Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ACE) and AHCX which within the season identified and announced of the availability of markets for legumes amounting to US$ 275 million. This continuous indication of available opportunities is likely to trigger more production.