Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe has asked Machinga District Council to work with the Malawi Police Service to prevent traders from buying cereals from farmers at lower than farm gate prices.
He said this on Tuesday during a tour of two agricultural projects implemented under Agriculture Commercialisation Programme in the district.
The two programmes are Machinga Value Addition and Nsanama Women Cassava Cooperative in Mbonechera Extension Planning Area.
Lowe, who was accompanied by his deputy Agnes Nkusa Nkhoma, said government wants to ensure that every person in the agriculture value chain should benefit from this year’s crop production.
“We do not want unscrupulous traders to buy maize from our farmers below the farm gate price set by government,” he said.
Lowe said Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation will soon start buying maize and other crops from farmers.
“So,councils should advise farmers not to sell their farm produce to dishonest traders at low prices,” he said.
On his part, Machinga District Council director of agriculture, environment and natural resources Nditani Maluwa said they will ensure that traders comply with government set prices on farm produce.
He commanded government for involving police in enforcing the recommended price, but he feared that some traders will resist the move.
“The district has potential to improve people’s lives because it has natural resources such as fertile soil and abundant water supply,” said Maluwa.
Agriculture Commercialisation is a six-year project running from 2018 to 2023 that seeks to improve the living standards of 650 000 farming households through production and marketing of legumes and horticultural crops.