By Tiyese Monjeza:
Some cotton farmers in Zomba have lamented over unavailability of reliable market for the crop which forced them to sell their produce to unscrupulous vendors.
According to the farmers in the area of Group Village Head Masaula, the vendors took advantage of their desperation to offer poor prices which, they argue, has led them to incur losses.
Isaac Banda, a cotton farmer said, the move to offer the produce to vendors was reached out after Agriculture Development Marketing Corporation’s decision to buy the produce on loan, and the farmers were desperate to recover their expenses.
“We are informed that government had recommended the price to be at K250 per kilogramme. However, the vendors duped us as they were buying the produce at K100 per kilogramme. We were left with no choice since we rely to sell the crop after harvesting to provide needs for our families,” Banda said.
Agnes Mkwaila appealed to the district agriculture office to help them in finding certified buyers who will offer good prices.
‘We need registered buyers unlike the vendors who at times are using tampered weighing scales,” Mkwaila said.
In his response, Zomba District Agricultural Development Officer Isaac Ali said the agriculture office will link famers with credible companies who will be buying the crop in line with the farm gate prices.
Over 2,000 cotton farmers in the area of Group Village Head Masaula, rely on cotton farming as other crops do not well since the area periodically experiences low rainfall