The Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) has blamed Malawi government for its lack of commitment in motivating maize farmers, saying the lack of seriousness may prolong hunger in the country.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi24, FUM President Alfred Banda said it is worrisome to learn that government is still failing to inspire maize farmers who are equally crucial to the economy of this country.
He said government claims to be promoting farming in the country when in essence nothing is being done on the ground.
“In fact, I don’t know if we have a ministry responsible for agriculture in the country. Because had it been that we have it we wouldn’t have been complaining of hunger by now,” said Banda.
He went on to trash government for only focusing on tobacco farmers with the view that it is the country’s green gold saying the mindset will retard development in the country for ages.
“Much as tobacco farming is good but that must not let government forget that maize is the most important crop in our country because apart from being staple food, if taken seriously it can help to boost the economy in the country,” he said.
When asked on how government can motivate maize farmers, he said there is need for consultations on the matter. He added that government must consider asking farmers what they need to be motivated.
However, farmers whom Malawi24 consulted on the matter emphasized that government through the Agriculture Development and Marketing Cooperation (ADMARC) must consider asking farmers first before setting prices for the farmers’ produce.
The farmers said they stopped growing maize for commercial purposes because they usually spend more on inputs and get low profits especially when they sell their maize to ADMARC.
“Maize is very simple to cultivate than any other crop but since ADMARC has discouraged us on prices, we now grow the crop for consumption only. In the past at least things were better but not this time,” said Jeremiah Mkandawire in Rumphi.
When asked to comment on the matter, minister of agriculture, irrigation and water development Allan Chiyembekeza promised that his ministry will look into the concerns and respond quickly saying government is willing to do whatever it can to eradicate hunger in the country.