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Mozambique avails high-quality Mozambique pulses all year round to the local and export markets. Mozambique pulses are mainly sourced from family growers owning between 1-2 hectares of land.
Pulses differ largely from other vegetable crops. The main difference between the two is that unlike the latter they are not harvested green but rather as dry seeds. Their importance is highlighted by the fact that they commonly feature in staple dishes as well as other cuisines globally. As a matter of fact it is so rare to be served a dish without a specific Mozambique pulse in the local households. Pulses are linked with high protein and soluble fiber content as well as very low fat levels. Governmental and not governmental institutions have often encouraged the consumption of Mozambique pulses and especially amongst families who cannot access or afford meat and dairy products.
Mozambique pulses are a prized commodity for the family growers. They love them for their multiple purposes. On one side they adequately bring balance to household food security while on the other they empower them economically. The farmers have an option to consume them with their families or sell them in the market to generate cash.
History and export value
The first trace of domestication of pulses dates back 11,000 years in regions situated in the Middle East. It was specifically in a region named Fertile Crescent where the inaugural human civilizations descended from.
Family growers with small tracts of land contribute a sizable share of the national produce of the Mozambique pulses. Exporters largely rely on them. The small holder growers are the preferred sources because they are registered under cooperatives that ensure Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) are applied in the production of Mozambican pulses.
Land under pulses is estimated to cover 806,439 square kilometers. It is estimated that a total of 4,556 hectograms in yields are produced per hectare. In 2017, the country exported about 367,419 tons of Mozambique pulses. The major destination for Mozambique pulses is India. The two countries have a memorandum of understanding that sees Mozambique export tons of pulses to India annually. The MoU was prompted by a short fall in production of pulses during the period of 2016-2017. India imports about 1.5 million quintals.
Benefits of pulses
Pulses have numerous health benefits due to the various nutritional values they come with. They include:
Lowering of the blood sugar level as well as cholesterol in the body thus aiding in solving obesity problems as well as. This is attributed to the low fat content they contain. Doctors also recommend them in the controlling of heart related conditions and diabetes. They also have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil thus helping farmers substitute the use of synthetic fertilizers. Mozambicans have realized that inter-cropping and the use of pulses as cover crops improved yields greatly. The practice also improved soil and farm biodiversity.
Varieties and export forms
Mozambique pulses are exported in several forms. However, the most prevalent is in their raw or processed forms. The pulses are usually dried.
Varieties of Mozambique pulses on the other side are many. They include:
- Peas-Mozambique peas’ types are many. They include field peas, chickpeas and cowpeas. When further broken down they range from pigeon peas to the split pigeon peas.
- Green mung beans-The mung beans are exported in various forms such as split mung beans that contain husks, split mung beans without husk and mung sortex which are usually polished.
- Lentils-There are many Mozambique lentils. They range from the red lentils, green lentils, and yellow lentils to the brown ones. The split lentils are also exported.
- Other varieties of Mozambique beans include all kidney beans and the Black eyed beans.
Mozambique has a wide range or agro-ecological conditions. They range from arid, semi- arid, humid highlands to sub-humid regions. The fact that the different varieties of pulses thrive under different climatic and soil conditions has ensured their production cuts across the whole country. Some varies demand for minimum or optimum rainfall while some do not. To put the differences into perspective let’s look into peas, lentils and chickpeas as an example. These pulses perform well in dry soils and weather conditions. So long as the soils have proper drainage, they thrive in such conditions. Dry beans do well in warm conditions although they have a very poor tolerance of frost.
The central and northern provinces are the major sources of Mozambique pulses due to the high fertility of land located in those regions. They contribute a huge percentage of pulse volumes harvested annually.
Harvesting, Drying, Grading, and Packing
Harvesting commences when the pods are very dry and the plant has reached maturity.
The leaves at this stage usually have dried off and wilted. However, in some cases the locals pluck the leaves when still green and use them as vegetables in their households.
Growers often pull the plants from the soil or slash the stalks carrying the pods. Separating seeds from the pods entails passing a rolling pia over stems placed between two adjacent tarpaulins. The seeds are then winnowed to get rid of any debris or sand.
Drying of the seeds or grains follows shortly. It entails either use of the sun or mild electric heat whereby water is reduced to less 12%. The grading entails sorting of the seeds based on their quality. For grade 1 they are the fresh, undried pulses while the grade 2 pulses are wholly dry.
The pulses are packaged in jute bags which weigh 50 kilograms. Clear labels are placed on the cargo indicating the country of origin, date of packing and net weight.
The storage of pulses is done under humidity of 60% and low storage temperatures of 0 degrees Celsius. Designated trucks are used to transport Mozambique pulses particularly to the Nhava Shewa port where shipment takes places.
Mozambique pulses are grown using natural means. Farmers apply organic inputs all through and avoid the use of chemical sprays. The observation of Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) terms during the growth of Mozambique pulses has also ensured the country produces high-quality pulses. Make your order!
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