Three independent Parliamentarian candidates for Chitipa East constituency promised that Misuku Hills coffee farmers to enjoy better benefits from their sweat.
The candidates said during a political debate that NICE Public Trust in partnership with Catholic Commisison for Justice (CCJP) of Karonga Diocese organized on Friday at Misuku community ground .
Taking their turns after being asked what they would do to protect peasant farmers from vendors who exploit farmers by offering low prices, Kafunja Msukwa said the solution would be to help farmers form cooperatives that would in turn empower them to do everything in groups.
On his part, Mickson Msukwa promised that coffee being the district’s cash crop, his immediate assignment therefore, would be to rehabilitate the Misuku-Kapoka road to an all-weather to road ease transportation of the crop to would be buyers.
Another independent candidate Anthony Kayange while agreeing with his fellow candidates, he said apart from helping farmers to form cooperatives that would help farmers access farm inputs, he will buy them machines for production, processing and packaging so that farmers should be selling processed coffee.
“It pains me a lot when I see our Misuku coffee in shops labeled Mzuzu coffee when 90 percent of it is produced here. It pains me when I see buyers leading a lavish life style at the expense of peasant farmers while those who sweat for the crop are in pangs of grinding poverty.
“If these farmers are to benefit from their hard work then value addition is the only solution. Therefore, voting for me is the only solution to their misery,” Kayange said.
Kayange also challenged to take a step further once voted to Parliament by banning the importation of bananas from Tanzania and Mozambique, saying Misuku has the potential of supplying bananas the whole Malawi throughout the year.
Agnes Mbughi from Kakomo village said the candidates’ pledges offer hope to growers like her who have endured “rip off for decades”.
Said the coffee farmer: “Let’s hope that this is not just mere rhetoric and campaign talk.”
NICE Public Trust Chitipa and Justice and Peace (JP) of Karonga Diocese with funding from EU, Germany Embassy and OSISA conducted the road shows and the debate to bring shadow candidates closer to electorates to discuss issues on various topics ahead of the May 21 polls.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :