Forget About Adherence To Farmgate Prices Without ADMARC - MEJN
Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) says people should forget about vendors adhering to government set minimum farm gate prices if ADMARC is not showing up on the market soon.
MEJN Coordinator for the southern region, Mike Melvin Banda, said farmers have a lot of demands that need fast cash and in the absence of ADMRC they will still give away their produces to vendor as there is no alternative.
Banda was reacting to concerns of ADMARC’s delays by some communities in Mangochi during an interface his organization organized for communities to face agriculture authorities in the district, under a fighting inequalities project.
“In the absence of ADMARC issue of minimum price comes so challenging because people have no choice, vendors will be here, will buy wherever they want, because people have no choice when it comes to access of markets,” said Banda.
During the meeting which took place at Nabale, with communities under Koche and Nkope Area Development Committees, Group Village headman Chindongo, who represented Sub Traditional Authority Chiwalo, expressed worries on issues surrounding ADMARC.
Chindongo said one of the reasons that farming has gone down in the country is inefficiency of ADMARC, with farmers buying farm inputs at a higher prices and vendors get the produces at a lower price.
The Chief also highlighted the absence of Agriculture Extension Workers in the area as another challenge making it difficult for farmers to harvest enough, saying a farmer can stay years without being visited by an agriculture official for advice.
Mangochi District Chief Agriculture Officer, Owen Kumwenda, admitted that some of the challenges highlighted were genuine, but said as a council, and government are making sure that farmers get protected.
Kumwenda assured the communities that ADMARC will open soon its markets, and that tough measures have been put in place to stop unscrupulous vendors.
“So far, Police have already arrested some Vendors in the district who are defying government’s minimum prices or using an authorized gadget when buying the produces,” said Kumwenda.
MENJ’s five year fighting inequalities project is being funded by Norwegian Church Aid and Danish Church Aid.
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