Features and characteristics:

  • Pigeon pea is a perennial legume from family fabaceae. It is drought resistant and with high yields. It is resistant to many diseases and pests.Pigeon Peas   large


  • There are a lot of varieties of pigeon peas which are short medium and long duration. The maturity for these varieties is 120 -150 days, 150 -180 days and 220 – 270 days for the short, medium and long duration varieties respectively.
  • All these crops are planted during the first rains (November or December).



  • Nutritionally pigeon peas contain high levels of protein
  • Economically they are processed into dhal and exported to other countries to generate forex
  • Agronomical they are grown in intercrop with cereal crops where they have the capacity to improve soil nitrogen
  • Pigeon peas leaves are used for animal feed
  • The stem can be used for firewood

Role and Status in Malawi Export:

  • Malawi is one of the major producers of pigeon peas. The crop is processed into dhal in the country and it is then exported. This allows generation of forex.

Pigeon peas Producers

  • The main growers of pigeon peas are smallholder farmers.

Location, Topography

  • Pigeon peas grow in semi arid tropics and the southern part of Malawi, where the crop is mostly grown.

Production and Supply Capacity

  • Malawi is one of the major producers of pigeon peas in Africa. Malawi’s share of pigeon peas production accounts for about 6%, followed by Kenya (2%), Uganda (2%) and then Tanzania (0.8%). Globally, the largest producer of pigeon peas is India, with close to 70% percent of world production. Myanmar follows, producing more than 20% of global production. Africa accounts for the majority of the remaining production