Cotton farmers from Karonga have asked buyers to consider increasing cotton prices to be commensurate with their investment.
Farmers from Lupembe Extension Planning Area (EPA) said earlier this week that a 56 percent hike would be ideal arguing the current K320 per Kilogramme is too minimal.
One of the lead cotton farmers, Patrick Zgambo, decried monopolisation of the cotton market, which has one reliable buyer, the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
He said there is need for Admarc to consider the current living standards when offering prices to the farmers.
“Cotton farming is somehow costly because it requires fertiliser and chemicals such as Cypermethyline, which requires money. But the selling price is too low compared to what we invest. We are losing.
“Last year, they [Admarc] was buying at K320 per kilogramme but now we want at least K500 so that we should also benefit,” Zgambo pleaded.
He further appealed to government to consider opening the cotton market as one way of encouraging competition.
Cotton Farmers Association of Malawi, Sarai Nkhonjera, concurred with Zgambo, saying farmers invest a gross margin of K175,000 per acre but normally realise between K90,000 and K120,000.
She, however, encouraged farmers to be in the association, which would assist them in identifying markets.
African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) Programme Manager, Chrispine Namwera, assured farmers that government through Cotton Council of Malawi will determine this year’s minimum price.
“As AICC, we are acting as a catalyst between farmers and suppliers, therefore, let me reveal that very soon the government will announce new minimum cotton prices on the market. By March, good news will be announced. It is our duty to promote cotton farmers,” Namwera said.
Last year, Malawi produced less than 6,000 metric tonnes and, this year, production is expected to be 28,000 metric tonnes.
Cotton is among Malawi’s major-cash crops.