M’biza Farmers Association in sub-Traditional Authority M’biza, Zomba have described cooperative trading as profitable as opposed to individual farmer trading.
The association’s auditor McLaudon Chakwana was speaking in the district on Thursday when Malawi Centre for Advice, Research and Education on Rights (Carer) officials visited the area to appreciate communities’ rights to fair trade practices and are also promoting a project on the same.
He said the association, which was formed under the concept of One Village, One Product (Ovop) has 215 farmers, and made a profit of about K1.6 million last year from sales of pigeon peas, among others.
Said Chakwana: “We sold pigeon peas at a price of K130 per kilogramme to companies which we believe is very beneficial unlike selling to vendors who were offering to buy at K70 per kilogramme. Let me urge other farmers in this area to form cooperatives so that they make profits because produce is bought at once.
“However, we would like to appeal to the buyers (companies) to arrange for transportation of the produce from our storage on time because the pigeon peas variety we are producing here matures faster.”
Malawi Carer paralegal officer Chancy Chisambi said his organisation conducted trainings to the community-based facilitators (CBFs) and village rights committees (VRCs) in the area in order to sensitise the people on their rights to fair trading.
“We are also promoting rights to development projects especially with emphasis on rights of children, women and the disadvantaged or the vulnerable people,” said Chisambi.