The government has announced 2020/21 agricultural season farm gate prices, with that of maize set at K150 per kilogramme (kg), translating to K7,500 per 50kg bag.
Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe made the announcement in Lilongwe Friday.
Farm gate prices for other crops are as follows: Shelled groundnuts at K480 per kg; polished rice at K600 per kg; Soya beans at K320 per kg; pure beans at K510 per kg; paprika at K830 per kg; cotton at K320; and chillies at K770 per kg.
“It is illegal not to adhere to the minimum prices. If anyone is found disregarding the set prices, the law will take its course,” Lowe said.
Lowe said the prices had been arrived at after consultations with stakeholders, adding that only smallholder enterprises would be allowed to buy from farmers.
He said Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) officials were getting ready to start buying produce at the set prices.
Lowe said some agro-dealers had proposed to the ministry that maize be bought at between K60 and K80 per kg but the proposal was shot down.
Meanwhile, Farmers Union of Malawi Chief Executive Officer Jacob Nyirongo has said they participated in consultations that led to the price of maize being set at K150 per kg.
“The major issue is that we need to have a price leader. We depend on Admarc to come to the market as a price leader so that farmers have an alternative market where they are being offered a price that is minimum.
“In the absence of that, farmers are involved in distress selling because a farmer has stayed for five months without a decent income. When farmers harvest, they need income to meet their needs,” he said.
Civil Society Agriculture Network National Director Pamela Kuwali called for strict enforcement of mechanisms that have been outlined.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.