Poverty ripping off Malawi farmers


Poverty has left farmers with no option and selling crops at a low price is the only way they can get some money to buy basic needs.

With reports of bumper yields that Malawi has for this farming year, vendors are now setting prices that are very low to farmers who take crops like maize as the sole saver from chains of poverty.

Reports reveal that in some parts of the country like Namandanje in Machinga district, a 50 kilogram bag of maize is being sold at K2000 while in some areas the price is at K2500.

Maize flour

Maize selling very low.

The development comes from a background of hunger last year when poor farmers were reported to be starving with no food to eat.

The price from the very same vendors that have created a fisherman and fish relation was unbearable to the rural citizenry.

Though people applauded vendors for selling the staple grains at a lower price than the grain marketer Admarc, still the K10,000 price for a bag of maize was a hustle to many in the rural set up of Malawi.

The production cost of these crops is high with a bag of fertilizer being traded at over K20,000 raising a question if these poor farmers are to meet the cost they used with these prices on the market.

Commenting on the matter, an economic expert Joshua Mbewe has called on government to intervene for the farmers to make profits.

“The bumper yields have pushed the prices of maize down to K60/kg, the prices are offered by the private traders. This is a violation because with the current maize prices farmers will not be able to recover what they spent on production.

“However government announced that the price of maize is K170/kg but private traders are buying at K60/kg in the name of liberalized economy.

“Government should come in as soon as possible to start buying maize at the set price to protect the farmers. If government open markets in all corners of the country and starts buying the staple grain at the government set price, prices will automatically be adjusted upwards because there will competition to buy maize which is our staple food,” said Mbewe in an interview with Malawi24.

Joshua Mbewe

Mbewe : Govt has to intervene.

However, it is doubtful if government through Admarc is to buy maize from farmers as it has failed to sell the current stock due to the high price of K12500 per bag.

Though on positive note, the low prices of maize is pushing the inflation down and the consumers are winners as this has positively affected their disposable income.

But farmers are on the losing side and come some months ahead they are the same vendors who are to whip these farmers with high prices on the same grains being sold today.

With many yet to adopt modern farming technologies, farmers in Malawi have to go manual in producing crops but all that is being taken for granted with low prices that vendors set.

  • Opinion