By Audrey Kapalamula:
Lack of enforcement mechanisms on minimum prices is said to be hindering farmers from maximising profits on their agricultural produce.
A recent study by the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) conducted in three district of Dowa, Ntchisi and Lilongwe shows that most buyers do not adhere to government-set farm gate prices.
AICC Programmes Manager Leonard Chimwaza said on Wednesday that there is need for concerted effort from stakeholders to protect the farmers.
He was speaking when the firm engaged farmers, buyers and decision makers on agri-marketing issues to a round table.
“These issues have led to a drop of proceeds that farmers get from their agricultural produce which affect livelihood enhancement,” Chimwaza said.
During the meeting, farmers blamed authorities for failing to punish vendors while restraining them from harnessing opportunities across the borders.
They also lamented lack of information, a development that brings chaos on the market.
Chairperson of Lilongwe District Agriculture Coordinating Committee, Spriano Ndevuzamwaye said there is also need to promote collective marketing among others.
“When these minimum prices are set the main –players are farmers who decide what to be done in their areas. But we are promoting collective marketing where by farmers should be in organized farmer groups that they can bargain for better prices,” he said
Meanwhile government is currently setting up 2019 farm gate prices.