Farmers urged to increase production
Smallholder farmers in the country have been challenged to increase their production to take advantage of the demand for different food crops on the international market.
In an interview yesterday after farmers from different parts of the Central Region, including Dedza, Ntchisi and Lilongwe, toured AHL Commodity Exchange Lilongwe premises, the company’s Public Relations Officer, Maggie Msiska, said the demand for food crops continues to grow.
The tour, which was organised by the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC), saw the farmers being given different information on how they can sell their crops in bulk at more profit than when they do it in small chunks to vendors.
According to Msiska, AHL Commodity Exchange has set up markets in different strategic positions where farmers can sell their produce without covering a long distance.
“We are calling on the smallholder farmers to significantly increase their production because we have a market that will continue asking for more. There is increasing demand for crops like groundnuts, soybean and pigeon peas,” said Msiska.
She added that farmers who sell their produce at AHL Commodity Exchange markets have another advantage in the sense that they can obtain loans from financial institutions in cases where they are waiting for higher crop prices.
“We have another facility where a farmer can access their proceeds from the bank the same day,” said Msiska.
AICC’s Legumes Development Trust Project Officer Tadala Rambiki said the institution is trying its best to motivate farmers to produce more.
“Farmers often complain about lack of markets. They usually don’t produce more because they are afraid that at the end, they will just sell their produce to vendors who rip them off. So by connecting them with already available markets, we believe they will produce more,” said Rambiki.
He said sustainable markets like the AHL Commodity Exchange make sure farmers have somewhere to sell their produce all year round.
“Another impressive thing is that with such markets, farmers have the liberty to set prices for their crops, thus maximise profits,” said Rambiki.
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