State-owned Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has started equipping agricultural extension workers with knowledge on contract farming that exists between farmers and buyers.
The Commission is also conducting interviews with farmers on existing contractual agreements with buyers in order to determine whether their contracts carry any restrictive clauses.
CFTC Acting Chief Executive Officer, Apoche Itimu, in a statement in Nyasa Times’ possession, described the exercise as very important as it accords an opportunity to raise awareness on contract farming.
“We know that many farmers are not aware on how to get into contract that favour them and ended up being short changed,” she said.
“These meetings are aimed at equipping extension workers with knowledge on contract farming so that they can help farmers get into better contracts,” she added.
However, during the interviews, the Commission received allegations that some farmers had been duped off farm produce, a conduct, which is believed to be a breach of agreement signed.
CFTC is implementing a project on Enhancement if Competition and Consumer Protection in the Agriculture sector under Agriculture Commercialization (AGCOM).
The project started in August and is expected to finish in September. It has so far trained 250 officers in the districts of Balaka, Mulanje, Thyolo, Ntcheu and Mwanza.
Additional 200 were been trained in Salima, Ntchisi, Mchinji, Nkhotakota, Kasungu and Mzimba.