The Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) has urged farmers in Malawi to refrain from selling maize to vendors before the minimum price is set.
The advice follows media reports revealing that vendors are moving around rural areas asking farmers to sell their maize to them.
In Zomba, farmers are said to have been selling a bag weighing 50 kilograms at prices ranging from K3000 to K4500.
In a similar case, vendors in Rumphi district are reported to have been moving around maize fields asking farmers to sell the staple grain before packing it as per recommended.
However, Cisanet has advised farmers to safely keep their harvests until government opens market for the maize.
Speaking to Malawi24, Cisanet Executive director Tamani Nkhono-Mvula said farmers are supposed to be responsible with their harvest this year.
“In Malawi we follow liberalisation type of market and the powers rest in the hands of the buyers and sellers but in this case and with challenges that most farmers are facing, there is need for sensitization to our farmers to keep their harvest until the market is open,” said Nkhono-Mvula.
Nkhono-Mvula further called on government to sensitize people on the right time to sell their harvest.
“Chiefs are to be sensitized too so that they can be responsible, they should be knowing who are coming in their areas to buy maize and the prices that are offered,” added Nkhono-Mvula.
During the 2015/16 agricultural season, farmers are expected to have less yields following El-Nino winds that led to persistent dry spells in many districts of the country.
This has sprouted fears that the country is to be food insecure hence the need for more maize in reserve.
The situation has prompted vendors to go to rural areas to buy maize from farmers so that they should sell at high price when the next growing season begins.