Pigeon peas farmers in Chiradzulu have pleaded with government to offer better prices and ensure that Admarc buys all produce presented to its depots.
The plea comes following last growing season’s experience where dubious vendors reaped off farmers by buying the produce at as low as K30 per kilogram.
Government intervened by procuring the cash crop at K300/kg, though it failed to meet the whole supply.
Fearing for the repeat of the scenario, some farmers in an interview asked government to enforce that the K240.000 per/kg minimum farmgate price is adhered to, and that Admarc must buy all the tonnage which farmers will take to the markets starting from August.
Judith Samuel who was at Thomas mobile market at the time of the interview on Thursday selling fresh pigeon peas, said if the status quo continues, she would rather sell her produce while fresh than dried.
“This is the last time that I am banking my hopes on Admarc to buy my peas at better price. If it fails, I will just sell it while fresh so that at least I should get something,” she said, adding a heap of fresh peas sells at K100.00.
Another farmer Deliya Chisale, suggested for an international market for the crop, and provision of technical support, so that farmers should produce high quality peas that would attract international markets.
“As you can see we live in this rural area such that we are not exposed to good markets. My prayer is that government or any well-wisher should come here, mobilize and find us a stable international market that can guarantee profits,” she said.
Responding to the concerns, Ministry of Agriculture said it does not buy pigeon peas except in instances where there is a need.
The Ministry’s Spokesperson Priscilla Mateyu, however, advised farmers to ensure that vendors buy their produce at minimum set price of K240/kg.
“Farmers must make sure that vendors are buying their pigeon peas at the minimum set price of MK240/kg. If this is not the case, farmers are being advised to report this malpractice,” she said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Information, Mark Botomani has expressed hope that buyers will purchase the cash crop at good prices.
Pigeon peas is one of the country’s cash crops and is grown in Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Phalombe, Mangochi, Mwanza, Neno among other districts.