Government sets 2023 farm gate prices
The government has announced farm gate prices for the 2023 season, with the minimum price for Malawi’s staple commodity, maize, set at K500 per kilogramme (kg), K220 up from the price set in 2022.
Soya is now selling at K800 per kg from K480 per kg in 2022.
The minimum price for polished rice is K1,000 per kg while unpolished rice is fetching a minimum of K500 per kg.
Sorghum’s minimum price has been set at K400 per kg while finger millet is now fetching K550 per kg, with pure beans selling at K700 per kg, mixed beans at K600 per kg and white beans attracting a minimum price of K650.
Shelled groundnuts, on one hand, are fetching K950 per kg and unshelled groundnuts, on the other hand, are fetching the minimum price of K800 per kg.
Agriculture Minister Sam Kawale has confirmed the development.
“We received reports that some people are buying crops from our poor farmers using very low prices. We couldn’t accept that inhumane behaviour. We had to move fast to protect our farmers. We didn’t want to announce the prices the way we used to announce in the past,” Kawale said.
He said, when coming up with prices, they consider factors such as production costs and market forces such as demand and supply.
Kawale said the prices will be effective immediately.
However, Agriculture Committee of Parliament Chairperson Sameer Suleman has faulted the government for setting “low prices” of agricultural commodities.
“I don’t know what criteria they use but it is not making business and economic sense. We are currently paying over K1,100 per kilogramme to buy maize flour and we expect the price to rise due to the scarcity of maize on the ground. Why should we pay farmers less and, yet, the cost of producing that one kilogramme is more than what is being offered?” Suleman queried.
“With rising prices of fertiliser, definitely production costs are higher than selling prices, considering the depreciation of the Kwacha. The government should reconsider its decision on maize price for farmers not to be exploited again,” he said.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Agriculture Dickxie Kampani has said those who need licences to buy agricultural produce can obtain them from district councils, programme managers in Karonga, Mzuzu, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Salima, Machinga, Blantyre and Shire Valley Agricultural Development Divisions and the Director of Crop Development at Ministry of Agriculture headquarters. “The applicants applying for buying licences will be required to complete application forms indicating location of their warehouses and serial numbers of scales they will use for buying the produce. All scales must be certified by the Malawi Bureau of Standards,” Kampani said
He said applicants will also be required to submit monthly returns of the quantity bought for each commodity as required by the Agriculture General Purposes Act. 1987 and the returns will be submitted to the office of the licencing officer.