Farmers Union president faults Malawi’s exporting procedure

Farmers’ Union of Malawi (FUM) President Felix Jumbe who is also the board chairperson of Export Development Fund said exporting procedures in Malawi are rigid and frustrate many farmers such that there is urgent need to address the issue.

Jumbe said in the current procedure one has to go to Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security then Ministry of Trade and Industry before going to Malawi Revenue Authority.

He said from there, the farmer has to go again to Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security then to Reserve Bank of Malawi or any other bank.

The FUM president made the remarks on December 15, 2012 at Mpamantha in Nkhotakota during the groundbreaking ceremony of a modern rice processing factory established by Mtalimanja Holdings Limited.

Jumbe: Need to establish a corridor for exports

“One has to wait for a minimum of three weeks at each stage before proceeding to the next. As a result, farmers become frustrated. All these processes are rooted in the scramble for Africa where colonial masters made policies and legislations to enable them get raw materials from Africa.

“However, after independence in 1964 no attempt was made to change this. As a result, we have been colonised by legislations and policies,” he said.

The FUM president suggested the need for a paradigm shift to do away with the poor policies and legislations for the benefit of Malawians including farmers.

“There are four things that can be done so that more should be produced and exported. Firstly, we need to establish a corridor for exports and government must assist in making sure that farmers do not meet the hurdles that frustrate them at the moment. Secondly, we need to establish an industrial corridor whereby manufacturing companies engage directly with farmers.

“We also need to have strategic grain reserves with strategic producers whereby farmers will be contracted to produce. The last one has to do with food security at household level whereby we have to maintain Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) but malpractices associated with it be dealt with,” Jumbe said.

In response, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Prof. Peter Mwanza said government is addressing some of the constraints and that is why it established Malawi Investment Trade Centre to shorten the process that FUM president is complaining about.

“All the payments and certificates to enable one export will now be done within days as this government is a listening one. We are also ready to engage with you [FUM] on how some of these challenges can be solved quickly,” the Minister said.

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