The Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) has warned rice farmers at Mkondezi and Lilezi schemes in Nkhata-Bay that they risk losing market should they continue delaying in presenting their crop stock value estimates to her office.
Northern Region FUM coordinator Phyness Thembulembu issued the warning on Monday when she visited the two schemes courtesy of Oxfam financial support.
She said her office has secured a tender to supply rice in Norway but was disappointed to see Nkhata Bay famers failing to meet her needs.
Said Thembulembu: “I am very sad that despite my personal and office’s efforts to remind the farmers of the two rice schemes to present their crop estimates value as to how much rice they can offer for sell to Europe, no-one obliges and my worry is that we may lose market”.
FUM’s concern comes at a time the two schemes’ famers complained that unscrupulous traders like vendors from Mzuzu market still offer them a raw- deal when it comes to selling their crop.
“Vendors still offer us a raw deal because they demand a 20 litre pail full of shelled rice at K600 while the unshelled one trades at K300. This is painful considering the investment made to produce the rice.” President of Lilezi rice scheme, Sam Banda, complained to FUM officers.
One farmer, Tamara Banda, in an interview said it was difficult to pass through the schemes and count the market value of their rice because of floods which were a threat to their farming as rivers around the scheme harbour crocodiles.