The Civil Society Agriculture Network (CSAN) and the Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) have expressed concern about the low prices tobacco buyers offered on the first day of sales in Lilongwe, according to a Malawi24.com story.
When the tobacco market opened on April 13, buyers paid a minimum price of 80¢ per kg and a maximum of $1.84 per kg.
The low prices have not gone down well with some observers who had hoped for higher prices after President Peter Mutharika, who opened the sales season, told buyers to offer fair prices.
In his opening speech, Mutharika expressed optimism that 2016 would be the year when farmers would earn decent incomes from their labor.
But the reality seems to be very different and the national director for CSAN, Tamani Nkhono-Mvula, said it was not pleasing to see that farmers were not enjoying the fruits of their sweat.
“We are not satisfied because we know that farmers put in much effort to bring a leaf of good quality worth good prices,” said Nkhono-Mvula.
He added that there was a need for the authorities to act quickly on the issue so that farmers received what they deserve.
But history would indicate that the authorities are powerless to affect prices and the CEO of Tobacco Control Commission, Albert Changaya, rated the opening day as average since there had been few rejections due to the quality of the leaf.
Meanwhile, the FUM said the low prices would make the lives of farmers unbearable.
“These poor prices coupled with the appreciation of the Kwacha will diminish projected earnings of the farmers,” said the FUM president Alfred Kapichira.
Category: Breaking News