The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development plans to establish formal markets where farmers can sell their agricultural produce.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting named Access to Market in Malawi organised by Adventist Relief Agency (Adra) in Lilongwe last week, the ministry’s chief director Bright Kumwembe said this is meant to give farmers access to reliable markets.
He said: “As we all know, when a farmer produces crops he wants to identify a market where to sell the produce. What we want as a ministry is to ensure farmers’ [have] access to reliable markets where they can earn good prices.
“Together with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism we are working to create formal markets for other crops as is the case with tobacco. Tobacco farmers know that there is a ready market.”
The meeting drew representatives from National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (Nasfam), Africa Institute of Corporate Citizenship (Aicc), Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) and government officials.
Kumwembe said they are also trying to organise farmers into cooperatives for them to have power to negotiate good prices.
Nasfam chief executive officer Dyborn Chibonga has welcomed government’s plans, saying this is the way to go.
“Our country currently depends on tobacco because it has an organised market. It is organised all the way from research and development, the seed, nursery fields and production in terms of curing it and organised even in transportation to the auction floors.
“If other crops had similar organisations, farmers and the economy can benefit a lot,” he said.
A representative of Nandolo Farmers Association, Suzanne Chimbayo, described government’s plans as good.
“It is a good development; we just want the plans to materialise. It is encouraging news to the farmers,” she said. n