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The National Export Strategy (NES) has identified Oil Seeds Products as one of the key areas of potential for Malawi to increase exports (and import substitution).

Although all oil seed crops are to be considered as part of the export drive, four have been selected for particular focus: Cotton, Groundnut, Soya and Sunflower. One of the specific "enablers" in the NES is Affordable Access to Business Development Services.

Extension has been identified as one of the key Business Development Services. However, a lot of gaps exist in the delivery of extension services for oil seeds.

The Oil Seed Products Technical Working Group (OSP TWG) has identified the problems in the extension service as a major constraint to increasing exports.

Current situation in the sector:

The Oil Seed Products Technical Working Group (OSP TWG) has six Task Teams (TT) to drive forward aspects of the NES in between OSP TWG quarterly meetings. One of the six is the Extension Task Team.

This Task Team has reported to the OSP TWG that:

- There is a need for a coordinated effort to deliver extension for oil seed crops so that the whole country is covered.

- The National Export Strategy (NES) sets out aspects that are needed for oil seed crop extension work. Some of the key aspects are: combating aflatoxin, encouraging warehouse receipts, use of commodity exchanges and obtaining access to finance.

- The Extension Task Team commissioned a study that concluded that a coordination platform is needed for oil seed crop extension.  

Key crops:

Although there are a number of oil seed crops in Malawi the focus of this work is on; Cotton, Groundnut, Soya and Sunflower. These crops were identified in the NES and there is now a major push to promote the export of these crops.
Related programmes and other donor activities:

- The Agricultural Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp) identified characteristics necessary for an effective extension service.

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