Groundnuts are a good source of food nutrient both to humans and soil. Their high energy value; their protein, vitamin and mineral content; their cholesterol free and low salt status – all combine to give groundnuts an A+ in nutrition. They are an excellent cash crop and can be eaten raw, boiled or roasted.
We grow a number of varieties. These are available both as seed and as commercial grain.
This is a Virginia bunch variety. It was first released in Zambia as Msekera Groundnut Variety 4 (MGV-4), it is known as CG-7 in Malawi and Serenut IR in Uganda. MGV-4 is currently the only variety that shows high kernel yield potential in all three agro-ecological regions around Chipata. It matures in 120 day-140 days and is easy to harvest because of its bunch growth habits. The kernels are red, uniform, medium in size, contains 48-50% oil and has an Oleo/Linolinic (O/L ) ratio of 1.5 indicating a good shelf life.
MGV-5 is a recently-released Virginia runner type variety which has large attractive tan-coloured kernels that are an excellent, high-yielding substitute for Chalimbana, Africa’s best known variety. It is particularly suitable for confectionery with a 48% oil content, an O/L ratio of 1.5 and roasts evenly-softer texture. It is well adapted for production in the plateau regions of Zambia, maturing in 120 days, and has a kernel yield of about 2.0 t/ha with smallholder farmers.
This is also a Virginia bunch variety that grows well in the eastern parts of Zambia and matures in 120 days. It has kernels that are tan pink, uniform, medium in size, contains 47% oil and has an O/L ratio of 1.5. It has a kernel yield of 2.0 t/ha and is suitable for the confectionery market.
We grow a variety called Luangeni (OPSKW-1). It is a fast growing (110 days to maturity), high-yielding bean producing around 2.5 t/ha. The bean is white in colour and pea-sized and as it is fast cooking, it is particularly suitable for canning purposes. This is the variety of choice for Heinz and Tiger Foods. Its income generation potential for rural smallholder farmers is excellent, being a good rotational crop whose seed can be recycled for 3-4 years.
We mostly grow our beans under irrigation or with residual moisture on river banks and lake shores during the winter.
We have a programme to further introduce new varieties of groundnut and beans which would be particularly suited for both processing and export to international markets in China, India and Europe. Here are some of the varieties under test.