Government has set the minimum farm gate prices for agricultural produce for 2020/21 growing season with maize going at K150 per kilogram, Soya beans K320, Cotton K320, Pigeon peas K240, Cow peas K350 while Sunflower will be K240 per Kilogram.
Announcing this at a press briefing in Lilongwe, Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Lobin Lowe MP, said it is the wish of the Tonse Government to see farmers getting rewards of their hard work and this will only be achieved by a comprehensive enforcement of the minimum farm gate prices.
Lowe said he knows that there are a lot of vendors who have already started exploiting farmers by buying their farm produce at a very low price, warning them that time is now over, they better stop that because once they are caught that will be the end of doing business here in Malawi.
He urged all agro-dealers, agro-processors and other stakeholders dealing with marketing of agricultural commodities to purchase the produce from farmers at no less than the set minimum prices set by Government for this year’s agricultural produce.
The Minister said his Ministry in conjunction with relevant authorities will monitor and enforce compliance to the set minimum prices across the country, saying it is illegal under the laws of the country not to adhere to the minimum prices and the law will take its course for the offenders.
…”Buyers of produce should also use scales that are recommended by the Malawi Bureau of Standards [MBS]…,’’ emphasized Lowe.
He said licenses to buy agricultural produce can be obtained from offices at District Commissioners in all District Councils, Program Managers in Karonga, Mzuzu, Kasungu, Salima, Machinga, Blantyre and Shire valley Agricultural Development Divisions [ADDs] and the Director of Crop Development at Ministry of Agriculture.
Lowe advised buyers for this year’s agricultural produce that they are required to submit monthly returns of quantities purchased to the licensing offices.
He advised farmers out there, not to rush to sell their harvests to illegal traders at low prices but to wait for legal markets assuring farmers that if legal markets by private traders do not exist in their areas, his Ministry will direct ADMARC to come there once they notify the Ministry and buy there produce at the set minimum prices.
By; Vincent Gunde