25 September 2017
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Friday, 11 August 2017 15:05

Rice farmers in Chikwawa cry foul over markets

Written by  Steve Chirombo

Chikwawa, August 11: Scores of rice farmers in the Lower Shire district of Chikwawa have expressed concern over the challenges they are facing to fetch good markets for their crop produce.

The farmers raised the concern at Nkhathe Rice Irrigation Scheme in Chikwawa on Thursday when 30 of their counterparts received certificates following a one year training in agri – business organized by African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC).

According to the farmers, the difficulties they face when growing the crop were similar to those they encounter at the market after harvest, thereby affecting their socio – economic status.

Traditional Authority Makhuwira, who is also a rice farmer himself and whose area has many rice schemes said there was need for farmers to have reliable markets to fully benefit from their hard work.

However, Makhuwira encouraged his subjects to continue following modern methods of cultivating the crop in a bid to realize bumper yields, adding that every farmer needed to strive at eliminating poverty at household level.

“Let us work as a team to find better markets for our rice. We hope to have a breakthrough one day and improve our living standards,” Traditional Authority Makhuwira said.

Nkhate Rice Scheme Manager, Donnex Zopangana advised farmers to conduct a market research before growing the crop, noting that AICC has since trained 30 farmers in agri –business.

Zopangana added that the famers’ business school which was introduced in the area by AICC would also benefit more small scale farmers to transform their lives since most participating farmers understand the importance of working and selling their produce as a unit.

“We commend AICC for targeting rural farmers to have skills in production of rice. Most farmers here now have decent houses, bicycles and are paying school fees for their children,” Zopangana pointed out.

AICC’s Rice Project Manager, Leonard Chimwaza said the organization was hopeful that the farmers would take advantage of the national agriculture fair scheduled for August 16 this year in Blantyre to secure markets for their crop produce.

Chimwaza, however, advised farmers to bring quality rice to the fair in order to attract long term markets which could offer good prices for the crop to effectively improve rural livelihoods.

“AICC as an organization is very impressed with the way farmers have responded and adopted new technologies of growing the crop. What we are doing now is to link farmers to markets to benefit from their sweat,” Chimwaza said.

Chimwaza, therefore, assured that AICC would continue to offer trainings and supporting rural farmers as one way of contributing to the country’s social and economic development.

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