The Export Development Fund (EDF) has advised legume farmers to properly grade their produce to attract better prices on the market.
EDF has said farmers can also influence prices, if they work in groups instead of working in isolation.
This comes against a background of poor prices that the farmers were offered last year, largely blamed on poor grading.
Speaking during a marketing conference organised by the Africa Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) in Lilongwe on Wednesday, EDF Production Manager, Henry Kaunda, said that EDF is seeking to improve the working relationship between the fund, farmers and farmer organisations to eradicate the challenges that have been experienced on the legume market.
“Our main mandate is to grow the exports base and now our focus under the commodity market is that we link them [farmers] to our export markets. Exports markets demand quality and that is why we are asking the farmers to properly grade their commodities,” Kaunda said.
One of the farmers who attended the conference, Austine Kachigunda, said that most of the farmers exercise caution, when grading their produces but that vendors are to blame for the low quality produce on markets.
“The grading issue is not our problem but the vendors. We are concerned with the prices they offer us because they do not keep their promise and this time, we want the price agreement to be in writing.
“Last year, they promised to buy Soya at K250 per kilogramme but on the market, we were offered K160 per kilogramme,” Kachigunda said.
AICC Head of programmes, Driana Luanda, said that the conference was organised to level the playing field and give the farmers a platform to raise their concerns to strengthen the legume industry.