Amidst dwindling cotton and tobacco prices, Malawi Vice-President Khumbo Kachali has urged agricultural business partners to engage in fair business practices so that both producers and buyers benefit.
Kachale was speaking at the 9th National Agriculture Fair in Blantyre on Thursday.
“If producers, mostly poor farmers, are not adequately paid for their produce, they will stop growing and where shall we, as industries, get raw materials from?” he wondered.
Kachale added President Joyce Banda wants that small-holder farmers in rural areas to have the right equipment that enhances productivity and that they equally be paid fair and proper prices for their labour.
“At the same time, I would like to request smallholder farmers to adhere to good practice and standards in their farming businesses,” he said, urging Malawians to inculcate a culture of using products that are produced locally.
The Fairâ€”which is being showcased under the theme: Agricultural Productivity: The foundation for Industrialisationâ€”drew 102 exhibitors which represents a 30.7 percent increase from last yearâ€™s 83 exhibitors.
Speaking during the function, president of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) Mathews Chikankheni said the theme was deliberately tailored to reflect the need to improve agricultural productivity among agricultural workers.
“We measure agricultural productivity by how much a farmer makes every year. Currently, a Malawian farm workersâ€™ output stands at $ 169 (K46 137) per year. In Zambia the output is at $214 (K58 422) and the USA at $5120 (K1.4 million) per year. You can note that our output is barely enough for a farmer to subsist on,” he said.
The Fair is a meeting point where, among others, agricultural service providers, agricultural producers, farmers, agricultural training institutions and researchers showcase what they do and share experiences.