A Critique On Research Prioritisation On New Bean Markets And The Youth In Malawi

by Ruth Magreta and Isaac Jonathan Jambo

The livelihoods of many young Malawian bean farmers are constrained by poor access to both input and output markets. Despite government interventions and research, there is still a big problem in addressing the needs of young farmers.

The study employs a literature synthesis to document the status of research on challenges and opportunities associated with bean markets in Malawi and the role of the youth in those markets. The study used secondary information available on bean sub-sector analyses, regulatory frameworks, and government reports on bean markets, prices, consumption, and production, related policies for Malawi, export and import data. The results indicated that much effort has been put in research for development in improving bean varieties and bean production systems to bring forth a bean revolution, it has been frustrated by poor sequencing of agricultural policy reforms. Furthermore, it was further established that bean markets are largely affected by high transaction costs. Results further showed that weak government support on marketing and trade facilitation impedes progress in food market development. Earlier on, bean prices were set below the export parity price which created an implicit tax on bean farmers. However, the adoption of structural adjustment and agricultural market reform poses a great opportunity for young bean farmers to sell their beans above export parity price. Furthermore, Malawi being a member of COMESA, SADC, AGOA, EBA and the WTO is an opportunity for many young bean traders to compete in international markets. The challenge remaining is that many of the young farmers do not know about the existence of such opportunities. It has emerged that most of the research work on beans focuses on improving bean varieties and increasing bean production, with no regard for the benefits of engaging the youth in marketing the produce which, if supported, can reduce hunger, poverty, and increase economic growth. The study therefore recommends a shift in research priorities by putting forward workable methods on how the youth can be integrated within research activities on scientific technologies, to utilize the bean market opportunities in the region.

File: A critique on research prioritisation on new bean markets.pdf