Farmers urged on diversification


Farmers in the country have been asked to intensify crop diversification to deal with low prices offered for agriculture commodities on the market.

This came out during the opening of a Marketing Capacity Building Project for smallholder farmers from Mzimba and Kasungu districts on Monday.

The call is coming at a time farmers are raising the alarm that they will not benefit from their crop sales this year owing to low prices.


Currently, the farm gate price for maize has dropped to as low as K50 per kilogramme while soya beans is selling at K80 a kilogramme in some parts of the central and northern regions of the country.

The project, which has received financial assistance from the Government of Flanders and is being implemented by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) together with the Ministry of Agriculture, is aimed at stirring a farmer-led agriculture transformation and commercialisation.

Lloyd Msiska, a farmer from Chazunda Extension Planning  Area (EPA), lamented the exploitation farmers suffer at the hands of traders who dictate farm gate prices.


He, however, said the project has been an eye opener to help the farmers understand how they can penetrate the market and maximize their benefits.

“As we speak, the prices for agriculture commodities are falling on the market. We are told that this is so, because many of us are producing the same crop in high quantities. This, however, is not pleasing to us farmers. We would want to make profits but we can’t because we are selling maize to the vendors at K50 and soya beans at K80 a kilogramme,” Msiska said.

FAO Malawi representative Florence Rolle stressed that low prices that are influenced by market forces can only be dealt with through crop diversification among the farmers.

She observed that in most districts in the country, smallholder farmers are already diversifying crops in the fields but for consumption and not commercial purposes.

“In order to caution this challenge together with the problem of climate change that influences the yield in a particular year, farmers ought to diversify. They have to diversify as a business, so instead of growing just maize or tobacco or soya beans or groundnuts on a large piece of land, they can grow a number of crops so that depending on the rains, when one fails, they will survive on the other which is the same with market prices,” Rolle said.

Director of Agriculture Extension Services in the Ministry of Agriculture Jerome Nkhoma blamed the traders for not conforming to government set minimum prices when purchasing agriculture commodities from the farmers.

He went on to say farmers should establish cooperatives such that they are able to bargain for better prices on their own.

“The problem is that when these farmers approach the markets or are dealing with other players in the industry, they work as individuals. This is why there is a lot of exploitation by the traders and the only way to deal with that is for the farmers to establish cooperatives so they have one voice when dealing with markets,” Nkhoma said.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker