Under the Livelihood and Skills Development component of MASAF 4, the Legume Enterprise and Structured Production Project implemented by COMSIP Cooperative Union Limited is supporting members in the production of legumes by providing inputs such as seed, fertilizer and pesticides to them.
COMSIP Cooperative Union Limited is promoting legumes considering the role they play in food, nutrition, income security and sustainable agriculture in the country.
Recently, COMSIP held an Integrated Pest and Disease Management Training in Mzuzu and the union’s Social Development Specialist, Davies Luhanga, said COMSIP is currently supporting 76 clusters and anticipates to produce about 200 metric tons of legumes this year.
‘Last year, we worked with 66 clusters countrywide and produced about 50 metric tons of legumes. This year, we are working with 76 clusters and our target is to produce 200 metric tons.’
Luhanga adds,‘ After harvest, COMSIP provides members with a ready market and as of last year, we were offering between 350 to 420 kwacha per kilogram of beans and soya was bought at 220 kwacha per kilogram.’
The project is in its third year now and it is promoting the production of soya, sugar beans and pigeon peas, and links them to markets, which has been the greatest challenge many legume farmers in the country have been facing.
‘For the past three or so years when we have been growing legumes without support from COMSIP, our biggest challenge has been to find better and reliable markets for our produce. We have been selling to vendors who have been buying our soya at as low prices as 50 kwacha per kilogram.
Now that COMSIP is supporting us, we are sure of selling at higher prices this year,’ said John Chaula, a Lead Farmer from Pamoza Cluster, Euthini, in Mzimba District.
Drawn from Mzuzu and other surrounding areas, the Lead Farmers have undergone a two day Integrated Pest and Disease Management training and are expected to champion the production of legumes at cooperative level.
COMSIP is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.