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Sunday, 05 August 2018 09:16

Farmers urged to form cooperatives

Written by  Anjoya Mwanza
Director of Extension Services Nkhoma speaking during the fair - Pic by Anjoya Mwanza Director of Extension Services Nkhoma speaking during the fair - Pic by Anjoya Mwanza

Nkhotakota, August 5, 2018: Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has urged farmers to form associations to enhance their bargaining power over prices for their farm produce. 

Director of Extension Services in the Ministry, Jeromy Nkhoma said this on Saturday during opening of this year’s Nkhotakota district agriculture fair.

The Director said apart from farm inputs subsidy programmes government has come up with various initiatives to support small scale farmers.

He pointed out that the initiatives would only work if the farmers show interest to grow themselves and taking the challenge to price their produce rather than leaving buyers especially vendors do it for them

“It is very unfortunate that despite all the concerns raised by farmers that they do not make profit after selling their produce, they keep on engaging vendors who buy their farm produce at lower than the recommended prices. Where on earth do you find a buyer tagging a product on the market?

“It is high time farmers formed associations, put right prices for their commodities if Malawi let alone the farmers are to develop,” Nkhoma explained.

He asked agriculture extension workers to work right in communities so that they impart rightful knowledge to the farmers on the ground.

Chairperson for Agriculture Committee in the district, Samson Kaziputa complained that farm inputs are being sold at high prices saying a day shall come when no one would be interested to engage themselves in farming due to the huge loses they encounter.

He asked the government to set up standards for regulating associations saying that a number of such groups also take advantage of the farmers by getting more benefits from the commodities than farmers themselves.

Chairperson of the Organising Committee for the Agriculture Fair, Light Burton said the event is organised annually to help farmers link up with potential buyers as well as microfinance institutions that can help them access loans to grow their businesses.

The event was celebrated from August 2 to 4, 2018 August under the theme “Linking farmers to agriculture inputs and outputs.”

Total Land Care (TLC), CISP, Evangelical Association of Malawi, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Ripple Africa are some of the organisations that sponsored the event alongside government sectors.


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