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Abstract

KEY FINDINGS -Pigeon pea production and yields have increased steadily over the years, making it the most important legume crop accounting for 35% of total legume production in Malawi, in 2016/17. -It is mostly grown in the Southern region of Malawi while crop suitability maps indicate that the Central and Northern regions are relatively more suitable. -The crop is grown on small pieces of land (on average 0.5 ha/household) and is mostly intercropped with maize. -Some of the constraints include: limited access by farmers to improved seed varieties partly due to limited availability of the seeds and limited access to financial resources to enable the farmers purchase the seeds; limited access to extension by farmers; pest and disease attacks that are not managed; low farm gate prices, and limited access to markets. -India is the largest importer of pigeon pea from Malawi. However, data is not available to show how much of the crop crosses Zambia, Tanzania and/or Mozambique borders through informal trade. -In 2016/17 prices of pigeon pea plummeted (from a high of Mk 1,000/kg (>$1) in some markets to as low as ~Mk 100/kg in some markets in 2018. This is partly due to a ban on imports into India. Despite this, pigeon pea hactarege is estimated to decrease by only 9.2% and production by 10.8% in 2017/18 season. -To strengthen the pigeon pea value chain, Malawi needs to invest in the seed and extension systems, strengthen farmer organizations, secure the India market through diplomacy, diversify the export market and create demand within the country.

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