The Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) has trashed this year’s farm gate prices, describing it as unsatisfactory and mockery.
“FUM would like to request government to raise the farm gate price for maize to at least K200 per kilogram, says Frighton Njolomole, President of FUM.
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 MK150 per kilogram from last year’s MK200 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 Njolomole describes the move as mockery considering the inflation that continues to hit farmers and local Malawians.
FUM has since asked government to adjust upwards the minimum farm gate price for maize from MK150 per kilogramme (kg) to MK200 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.
“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 fertilizer purchased at a commercial price; hence, the set K150 per kg maize price will greatly erode their profit margins,” said Njolomole
According to the new farm gate prices, polished rice will be selling at MK600 per kg, unpolished rice at MK250 per kg, pure beans at MK510 per kg from MK450 per kg, mixed beans at M K410 per kg, shelled groundnuts at MK480 per kg, unshelled groundnuts at K330 per kg, pigeon peas at K240 per kg while cotton will be selling at MK320 per kg, just to mention a few.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government under President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika pegged the price at k200 before Malawi Congress Party (MCP) under President Chakwera slashed it to MK150 per kilogram.