The Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) has said most farmers are still being duped by vendors who are reportedly buying crops at 50 percent lower than the government’s set minimum price.
A study by the centre shows that smallholder farmers are selling a 50 kilogrammes (kg) bag of maize at K5,000 and not K10,000 while vendors are buying a Soya beans bag at K10,000 instead of K15,000.
The report further reveals that state-owned grain marketer, the Agricultural Development and Market Corporation (Admarc) is still delaying to open its markets in some parts of the country, or where it has opened, the entity lacks enough funds to purchase commodities from farmers.
CfSC has since asked government to enforce adherence to farm gate price by vendors and ensure that Admarc is capacitated to be able to open all its markets and have enough funds.
“Government must ensure that Admarc depots are opened on time and they have enough money to buy crops from farmers to ensure that vulnerable farmers are protected from unscrupulous traders,” reads the statement in part.
Speaking in an interview Tuesday, Agricultural Expert, Tamani Nkhono Mvula, blamed the government for what he said setting minimum prices without putting up mechanisms to enforce its implantation.
He said while government needs to enforce the price by empowering Admarc, farmers should also be organised and refuse to sell their commodities below recommended prices.
Admarc Public Relations Officer, Agnes Chikoko, claimed all the markets were opened by April 13.
Government sets price floors in order to protect farmers from unfair prices of private traders especially smallholder farmers.