The African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) has written the Ministry of Agriculture seeking state intervention in the cotton market.
In a letter dated May 18 addressed to Agriculture Minister, Francis Kasaila, AICC says the country’s cotton farmers are in deep and unwarranted despair over market accessibility and price levels.
The letter signed by AICC Chief Executive Officer, Felix Lombe, says the sorry situation has emerged despite the tremendous efforts exerted by government and like-minded stakeholders towards the resuscitation of the industry which was at the full verge of collapse.
“At a time when everybody in the sector thought that the old-good-days have revisited Malawi, farmers have sadly now been hazed by conspicuous absence of licensed buyers, low price and day-light duping by unscrupulous vendors.
“As I chronicle this script, you cannot repeat the gaze and sight of farmers who in their despair are selling the seed cotton to vendors at as low a K150/kg against the K398/kg prescribed minimum price,” Lombe says.
The AICC chief says governments all over the world use state-agencies such as Admarc to bail out their farmers when there are real or artificial market-failures, adding that this was feasible as it only needed K17 billion to buy the 45, 000 metric tonnage.
Sadly Honorable Minister, five weeks down the line, Admarc is nowhere in sight. With the few droplets of funds in selected Admarc’s market points, the general situation is that Admarc has only bought a negligible quantity of seed cotton.
Lombe adds that AICC is reliably informed that Admarc has no readily available funds at the moment for this purpose.
He says this plucks some surprise when one considers that three years ago, government through Admarc speedily intervened in the pigeon peas market using this same approach.
Kasaila was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.