Civil Society Agriculture Network (CisaNet) has said this year’s minimum farm gate prices are lower compared to last year when supply was insufficient.
CisaNet national director Pamela Kuwali said this following the release of the 2016/17 agriculture season minimum farm gate prices by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development yesterday.
“Generally, prices are lower than those of last year. The supply is higher this year than last year, but Admarc [Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation] was buying maize at K250 per kilogramme,” she said.
However, Kuwali was quick to point out that there is hope for farmers to benefit from their produce as government always assesses the market before setting prices.
She said: “Farmers should bargain with buyers and ensure they do not sell their produce at prices lower than those listed. They must coordinate within their communities through associations and cooperatives. If they can, they should store their produce and sell when prices are competitive as we approach the lean season sometime later in the year.”
In the press release signed by Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development principal secretary Erica Maganga, the ministry urged agro-dealers to adhere to recommended prices.
“Licence to buy agricultural produce can be obtained from offices of programme managers in Karonga, Mzuzu, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Salima, Machinga, Blantyre and Shire Valley agriculture development divisions [ADDs]; and director of crop development of the ministry at Capital Hill, Lilongwe,” it reads in part.
According to the list, the minimum price for maize is K170 per kilogramme (kg), soya K280/kg, beans K300/kg, pigeon peas K320, groundnuts K400/kg and rice K450/kg with effect from April 1 2017.
But The Nation visits to Phalombe, Mulanje and Mwanza last week found farmers selling maize at K50, K90 and K60 per kg, respectively, which is way below the set minimum price.