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Farmers in Zimbabwe urged to grow exotic peas

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | June 17, 2019
Farmers in Zimbabwe
African food production   Pigeon pea is quite an important cash crop potentially for export market

An agricultural expert Dr Kizito Mazvimavi says there is a need for farmers to consider embarking on extensive pigeon and chick pea production as the crops have lucrative export market.

Dr Mazvimavi who is the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics country representative said pigeon and chick peas are cash crops, which are not grown in the country but have potential to generate farmers and the country the much needed foreign currency through exports. He said both pigeon and chick peas are in demand in Asian countries notably in India.

“Pigeon pea is quite an important cash crop potentially for export market. It’s consumed by Asians to be specific Indians. So we hope to train farmers, encourage the Ministry (of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement) to put appropriate supportive policies to encourage farmers to produce this drought tolerant crop, which boasts of a lot of different varieties.

“It (pigeon pea) has turned around economies of farmers in northern Tanzania and is spreading in that country and is spreading quite fast in Mozambique to a point that Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi requested the country to supply 100 tonnes of pigeon peas but they couldn’t meet the order. It has demand abroad and among South Africa’s Indian communities as well,” said Dr Mavimavi.

Pigeon pea is one of the most common tropical and subtropical legumes cultivated for its edible seeds. Pigeon pea is fast growing, hardy, widely adaptable, and drought resistant. Because of its drought resistance it can be considered of utmost importance in food security in areas where rainfall is not reliable and droughts are likely to occur.

Dr Mavimavi said there was also a need for farmers to grow chickpeas.

“We are also supporting the production of chickpea, it’s also an important Indian crop, it’s also good for us as a source of protein but it’s just a crop which is not within our dietary, we are not very familiar with it but it has very good potential, it’s easy to manage, you plant in April just after the end of the rainfall season, it uses residual moisture of that season and then you leave it like that and it grows like a tree and harvest it around July.”

Chick pea is an annual legume. Its different types are variously known as gram or Bengal gram, garbanzo or garbanzo bean, and Egyptian pea. Chick pea seeds are high in protein. It is one of the earliest cultivated legumes, and 7 500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East.


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