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Sorghum farmers decry low market

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Some Sorghum farmers under the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Nasme) have lamented declining markets for the crop in the country.

The situation, they say, has perpetuated poor prices on the market offered by firms buying the commodity.

Nasme National Chairperson, William Mwale, said members of the association were worried that production was threatened, with only one seed manufacturing company producing the crop.

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“Sorghum production has never been an issue but there is only one Seed Company.

“Currently farmers are stuck with the crop and the buyer may take advantage and buy the product at low prices. Secondly, farmers are demoralised and may opt for an alternative crop if sales remain unattractive,” Mwale said.

Africa Institute for Corporate Citizenship (AICC) Project Manager for Market Access Platform, Leonard Chimwaza, said sorghum played a vital role in the rural economy as it provides the primary source of income and nutrition to farming communities.

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He said the crop contributes to national food security; hence, reduces, and often eliminates, the need for food imports.

“Food self-sufficiency is an important issue for countries like Malawi that have few export industries; hence, fewer opportunities to generate the foreign exchange needed to import essentials such as energy and food,” Chimwaza said.

Spokesperson in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Priscilla Mateyu, said the government was aware of the issues and had advised farmers to work in cooperatives.

“Most farmers still operate as individuals; hence, the exploitation by traders when it comes to pricing. We are working on forming structured markets for allied crops to enable farmers to sell their produce at these markets for better returns. That said, our monitors report that buyers are adhering to the set minimum price of K200 per killogram,” Mateyu said.

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