Malawi?s paprika producers needing help
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CTA. 2005. Malawi?s paprika producers needing help. Rural Radio Resource Pack 05/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57243
The General Manager of the Paprika Association of Malawi talks about the advantages and challenges of paprika growing and marketing for small scale farmers.
Malawi?s paprika producers needing help Cue: High value cash crops, are usually, by definition, difficult to grow. If they were easy, everyone would be growing them, and they would no longer be of high value. For example, some high value crops can only be grown in glasshouses, or in very carefully managed conditions, with a heavy investment of inputs such as fertilizers, chemical fungicides or pesticides. Only farmers who have the expertise to manage these inputs, and the plants themselves, in an efficient and effective manner, can expect to get good yields and earn the high prices that the crops can fetch. For small scale farmers, such management can be extremely difficult - which is why high value crops tend to be grown by larger, commercial farmers. In Malawi, however, the growing of paprika is now becoming popular with even fairly small scale farmers, as an alternative to tobacco, a crop which has suffered in recent years from a falling market price. But there are some serious challenges facing Malawi?s paprika growers, not only growing the crop, but getting a good price from the buyers. Excello Zidana found out more when he spoke to Lyson Nkhukhuzalira, General Manager of the Paprika Association of Malawi. IN: ?Paprika just like any other crop requires enough rain? OUT: ? rocking the market at the moment.? DUR?N 5?28? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Lyson Nkhukhuzalira, General Manager of the Paprika Association of Malawi. Transcript Lyson Paprika just like any other crop requires enough rain, requires good soils. And paprika does well in the sandy loam soils. Why sandy loam soils? Paprika requires soils that can actually drain water away. If the soils can retain the water then paprika will not do well because it is also prone to diseases. If you talk in terms of pH it has to be between 6.5 to 7.0 pH. These are the kind of situations where paprika can best be grown. Acidic soils are no good for paprika. Alkaline soils are no good for paprika. In our situation I should mention here and repeat that wherever burley tobacco is doing very well paprika will do the same. Excello What are the recommended varieties of paprika which are grown in this region? Lyson Well southern Africa being the region that depends on rainfed situations, varieties that are recommended are actually what we call Papriqueen, it is a sweet variety. There is ?UF5?, it is also a sweet variety and there is ?Brine 3? it is also a sweet variety. These crops are forgiving crops. When the rains are coming and you happen to have a dry spell like 2005 these crops should still be able to harvest quality paprika. Excello Any enterprise has got its own problems. What are the major problems associated with the paprika production? Lyson Predominantly it is inputs. If we talk of inputs we are talking of fertiliser and chemicals. Farmers could manage to buy maybe a bag of fertiliser, basal dressing and fail to buy top dressing fertiliser. If they fail to do that, you find that the crop will not do well, pods will drop down. On the other hand if the farmer manages to have these two fertilisers but he does not buy the chemicals, the fungicides in particular and pesticides, again the farmer is the loser. So the major challenge that faces the Malawi nation in this smallholder sub-sector at the moment, is actually input acquisition, and if anything, subsidy is an issue that can bail Malawians out of this mess. The other challenge that is coupled to this is that the current buyers do not seem to be straightforward. When they are buying the paprika they will tell you this paprika is of low quality, just because we do not have the machinery in Malawi to determine the quality of the paprika produced in Malawi. This is a challenge. If anything, we actually need to have our own paprika laboratory in Malawi that should be able to tell the quality of Malawi paprika. Excello Which countries in the world import paprika from Africa? Lyson Predominantly Spain is the major importer of paprika in the whole world. In Spain you have all sorts of factories or processing machines that can actually extract the oil which is the culinary agent, why paprika is grown, and they can also make good spices out of it. Excello What are the prices like? Are farmers very happy with the prices Spain and other countries are offering on the crop? Lyson My history or my experience tells me that the buyers across there, overseas, they pay very well but these other brokers, because they want to make money, sometimes they actually rip the farmers off. But over the years prices are improving every time, and we can even see on the website what kind of prices are being offered by the Spaniards or whosoever is importing paprika from this region. Excello Since many countries are campaigning that tobacco should be completely phased out, how would you look at paprika? Is it really fitting to come in in the place of tobacco? Lyson Paprika has to come in as a supplement so that where tobacco is failing farmers should have similar returns through paprika production. Paprika alone cannot really replace tobacco, because tobacco it is a huge production quota compared to paprika. Excello Finally let?s look at the market. If you will look at the paprika do we have market? Lyson The demands that we are sitting on at the moment are amounting to 15 million kilograms but Malawi can hardly produce one million kilograms. We have five buyers in a row now, the competition is high for this year for Malawi paprika simply because Malawi paprika is sweet and is of high quality. As such the competition is high. Regarding market Malawi paprika will never have no market in this world because we have a quota that we are not even filling. That is why other buyers are now flocking to Malawi to say ?Where is Malawi paprika that is known for being sweet and of good quality?? Excello So is there any organisation that is linking up all the countries in maybe SADC or maybe some countries in Africa on this enterprise, paprika? Lyson Well all I can see now is that they are loose entities scattered all over. Because you talk of Zimbabwe they grow on their own. You talk about South Africa they grow on their own. You talk of Malawi, Zambia, just like that. I believe there is a need that we have an international body that should link up all these countries just like the way tobacco is with the ITG. I think through that way we should be able to have a good voice and at the same time silence all the croakers that are actually rocking the market at the moment. End of track.