By Tione Andsen
Lilongwe, April 2, Mana: Government has pegged minimum farm gate price for maize at K150 per kilogram for this year’s selling season.
Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe disclosed this Thursday in Lilongwe during a press briefing for Agricultural produce for 2020/2021 growing season.
He said this year the gate price has been reduced by K50 from the precious set price of K 200 per kg owing to the cost of production which was paged at K 120 per kg.
Lowe said the Ministry sets minimum farm gate prices for agricultural produce every year in accordance with the Agricultural General Purposes Act 1987 Cap 65.05 of the Laws of Malawi.
“The minimum farm gate prices are determined by cost of production, market forces, price trend from the previous years and export parity price,” He explained.
The Minister stated that consultations are done with key stakeholder in the agriculture sector to determine the prices.
He urged all Agro-dealers and processors and other stakeholders dealing with marketing agricultural commodities to purchase the produce from farmers at no less than the set minimum prices.
Lowe said in conjunction with relevant authorities they would monitor and enforce compliance to the set minimum prices across the country.
“It is illegal under the laws of the country not to adhere to the minimum prices and the law will take its course for the offenders, “the Minister warned.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM), Jacob Nyirenda said they participated in the determination of the minimum farm gate prices through a transparent process.
He said for the country to benefit more there was need to allow Admarc to come in to the market early for the famers to benefit from their sales.
Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), Pamela Kuwali said Civil Society appreciate the enforcement mechanism which has been outlined that would involve Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) and Police to monitor the sales.
She said previous prices were being set but when you go out there it was a different story and enforcement mechanism was not even there.
Head of Policy at National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM, Beatrice Makwenda said smallholder framers voices were heard during the consultation process to come up with minimum prices.
She bemoaned late opening of agricultural makers saying this puts smallholder farmers are risk of selling their produce at give away prices.
The minimum farm gate prices per kg for this season as follows: Maize- K150, Rice-polished- K600, Rice unpolished- K250, Sorghum-K290, Finger millet-K370, Soya beans-K 320, Pure beans-K510, Mixed beans-K410, White Haricot beans- K400, Groundnuts-shelled-K480, Groundnuts-unshelled-K330, Pigeon peas-K240, Cowpeas-K350, Sunflower- K240, Paprika-K830, Chillies-K720, Sesame- K770, Cassava wet- K100 and Cotton-K320.