Tobacco growers diversify into legumes

Post was last updated: February 8, 2017

AHL Commodities Exchange (AHCX) has registered over 4,000 new farmers who previously grew only tobacco but have now either expanded or have completely abandoned tobacco to venture into legume production.

The growers were registered when AHCX and its sister companies AHL Tobacco Sales and Agricultural Trading Company (ATC) conducted join field meetings in 32 tobacco growing areas through the country in December 2016.

According to AHCX Communications Manager, Thom Khanje, the meetings seek to encourage farmers to venture into the production of legume in addition to tobacco.

“Tobacco is and will remain the main cash crop in Malawi. The crop has however been encountering a lot of challenges mainly as a result of decrease of demand at global level. AHL Group established AHCX to encourage growers to produce tobacco quantities that match trade requirements while diversifying into other crops they can also sell through AHCX,” said Khanje.

Through the field meetings, AHCX has profiled and enlisted interested tobacco growers to produce legumes in large quantities and sell through AHCX, starting this year.

“Our marketing and field teams are currently on the ground following up on these farmers. Most of them have planted soya beans, sugar beans, groundnuts, pigeon peas and maize.

“We’ll continue to engage them throughout the production chain up to the time they bring their harvest for sell through the exchange and beyond,” he said.

The growers’ mobile phone numbers have also been added into AHCX’s robust SMS platform that will allow them access regular market information on commodities such as prices on a regular basis.

AHCX, established in 2013, is Malawi’s international window for commodities where buyers and sellers transact trade in grain and legumes with assurance of quality, quantity, delivery and payment.

Commodities currently traded through AHCX includes maize, soya beans, pigeon peas, groundnuts, red kidney beans, white haricot beans, dark speckled beans, light speckled beans, sunflower, cow pea and rice.

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