There has been no progress on the Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) proposal submitted to government on the introduction of a regulated produce market system to benefit small-scale farmers.
FUM president Felix Jumbe told Business News on Tuesday that they submitted the proposal last year. But since then, they have not had any feedback from the Ministry of Agriculture, where the proposal was sent.
Secretary for Agriculture Erica Maganga could not be reached on Tuesday as her phone went unanswered.
The system, according to the FUM proposal, will give rise to regulated market centres nationwide where farmers are assured of selling their produce every year.
“Malawi needs to reorganise its marketing system to benefit farmers. This system [regulated produce market] is ideal for monitoring the price at which farmers are selling their produce and where they are selling it,” said Jumbe.
He observed that farmers are mostly eager to grow tobacco because its marketing system is well organised.
“This [the system] is an economic issue. It will promote the growing of crops by farmers on a commercial basis,” he said.
Jumbe explained that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Ministry of Industry and Trade will also be involved.
Under this system, farmers will be encouraged to grow cash crops such as beans, groundnuts and rice, knowing when and where buyers will compete to buy their produce.
The marketing of farm produce was, however, liberalised in the 1990s, but Jumbe said they are suggesting bringing in the regulatory component to the farm produce marketing to ensure that farmers are protected from bad practices by unscrupulous traders.