Due to inadequate markets for farm produce, Ministry of Agriculture has advised farmers across the country to embark on market based farming as an intervention to the challenge.
Farmers have for a long time been complaining of lack of markets for their produce, a trend which has been forcing them to be selling their commodities to vendors at lower prices than production costs.
According to Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe who recently toured various agricultural activities and interacted with farmer in Karonga and Mzuzu agriculture development divisions, said it’s high time that farmers had practiced farming as a usual business.
Lowe while concurring with farmers on the issue of inadequate markets, said the practice had been farming first and look for markets later, an approach which he said has not been working well for the farmers.
“Agriculture is the same but we only need to change how we do it if our farmers are to benefit from farming. Farmers should first established markets’ requirements before they start farming for them to be sure of readily available markets,” said Lowe.
He said besides promoting the approach, government would from the current farming season ensure that Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) is timely allocated enough money to buy farm produce as early as the Month of May.
Lowe also said another and viable intervention is to promote value addition chain through which farmers can establish farm produce processing factories.
Commenting of the issue, an agriculture extension officer at Wowve Rice Irrigation Scheme, Stocker Nundwe appealed to government to put in place deliberate policies which can link farmers to hospitality and tourism sector.
Also speaking, Director of Agriculture and Extension Services, Dr. Jolome Nkhoma said information on farm produce markets is available only that farmers have challenges in accessing it, as proposed contract farming another means of market identification.