The Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) has trashed this year’s farm gate prices, describing them as unsatisfactory.
The ministry of agriculture released the prices that government set for traders and State produce marketer Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc)to use, includes setting price of maize at K150 per kilogram from last year’s K200 per kilogram.
The government has since justified the low price, arguing that the Affordable Input Program significantly reduced the cost of production.
However, FUM President Frighton Njolomole describes the move as unfortunate considering the current rise in the cost of living.
FUM has asked government to adjust upwards the minimum farm gate price for maize from K150 per kilogramme (kg) to K200 for farmers to make profits.
He said such an adjustment would be a good compensation and an incentive to medium and large-scale farmers who use more inputs in their production mix.
Said Njolomole: “We are compelled to think that government assumes that the cost of production for maize went down due to the Affordable Input Programme [AIP]. However, data from the Ministry of Agriculture indicates that only 3.4 million households (out of the targeted 3.7 million) actually redeemed.
“This means that about half a million farming households produced their maize with fertiliser purchased at a commercial price; hence, the set K150 per kg maize price will greatly erode their profit margins.”
According to the new farm gate prices, polished rice will be selling at K600 per kg, unpolished rice at K250 per kg, pure beans at K510 per kg from K450 per kg, mixed beans at K410 per kg, shelled groundnuts at K480 per kg, unshelled groundnuts at K330 per kg, pigeon peas at K240 per kg while cotton will be selling at K320 per kg, just to mention a few.