Phalombe district agriculture development office (Dado) has complained that pigeon peas farmers may not realise the just rewards for their sweat as they are being exploited by middlemen.
The district has this year registered a nine percent rise in pigeon peas output to 52 678 tonnes compared to last year’s 43 404 tonnes.
However, Phalombe Dado Osmund Chapotoka told Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Monday that high production may not necessarily guarantee good money for the farmers as they are selling their produce to middlemen at give away price.
Said Chapotoka: “The increase in production for pigeon peas is a remarkable improvement and it is an indication of the farmers’ hard work and adherence to modern farming techniques.”
In a separate interview Phalombe district commissioner Harry Phiri acknowledged the presence of illegal vendors in the district but indicated that the situation is impossible to control.
“It is a difficult situation and it requires collaborated efforts between us and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development together with law enforcing agencies such as the police to protect the farmers from exploitation,” he said.
But Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development spokesperson Hamilton Chimala said they encourage farmers to form cooperatives to bargain for competitive prices.
“The government’s other key message has been that farmers should sell their produce to Admarc [Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation] to get good prices,” he said.—Mana