Karonga farmers cry over poor cotton prices

Farmers in Malawi’s northern border district of Karonga have expressed disappointment in cotton prices, saying they benefit nothing although the process of cotton involves a lot of labor.

This has come to light during the Karonga Cotton Field day at Mlale where farmers showed what they produced from the seedlings that the Agriculture gave them early this year.

Senior Group Village Head Man Mwakawanga blamed the Agriculture sector saying they start well helping people in early stages of the crop, but when time of selling the product comes, they are nowhere to be seen.

“You really help us with pesticides and advise us on how to take good care of the product but when time of selling comes farmers become disappointed because they benefit nothing,” said Mwakawanga.

Cotton farming

Cotton farming

He added that in most cases buyers buy at good price in the beginning but two to three days the price goes down, a thing that worries the farmers.

Senior Chief Kalonga concurred with Mwakawanga saying government should take a bold step in promoting cotton growing in the district by improving on marketing so as to increase the number of farmers that can plant the crop.

Meanwhile, District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) Steve Sibande in a separate interview put a blame on famers that they do not follow agricultural ways of cultivating the crop as a result they harvest poor quality cotton.

“People do not take cotton growing seriously and they fail to take care of their crop as a result yields per unit area are very law,” said Sibande.

He added that lack of market competition in the country also contributes a lot to price changes in the district.

“Imagine, if the buyer is alone the whole district, what is likely to happen to is that the crop will be bought at cheaper price, and farmers have no choice, but to sell their cotton which is really a worrisome thing to the farmers,” complained Sibande.

However, he assured people that a ginnery is under construction in the district, which will help reducing market problems in the district.

He then appealed to people to show commitment in the growing of cotton as it is a cash crop that can ably develop the country.

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