Cotton farmers in Malawi have bemoaned poor prices being offered by buyers.
According to Cotton Farmers Association of Malawi President, George Nnesa, farmers are “demotivated” to grow cotton due to the poor prices which are below the minimum government set price of K375 per kilogram.
Nnesa added that farmers were reluctant to grow cotton in the 2015/16 agriculture season because of poor prices offered in the previous agriculture season.
The association president also said most farmers failed to pay back loans of cotton seeds and pesticides due to losses made in the last season.
Concurring with Nnesa, Cotton Ginners Africa Limited general manager Spencer Zinyemba said authorities need to step in to protect poor farmers who are offered low prices on the market.
Earlier this year, government introduced a minimum price of K375 per kilogram but buyers argued that it was too high.
With the economic potential to significantly change lives of the rural poor in Malawi, the cotton sector has conceivably been seen as a poverty panacea.
Unfortunately, cotton has been a troubled agricultural product for the country and a number of issues continue to impede its value in the market place.
Cotton is the fourth largest agricultural export in Malawi after tobacco, sugar and tea, engaging over 300,000 farming families. The sector also supplies crude and refined cotton oil and cotton cake to domestic markets for human and animal consumption respectively.