LILONGWE—Malawians farmers should form associations to maximize profit, Vice President Khumbo Kachali said Thursday when he opened the 8th Annual Congress for the Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) in the capital, Lilongwe.
Kachali said agriculture is the back bone for any country’s economic growth. He said for any country to develop, there is need for serious investment in the agricultural sector.
He said he was pleased with the steady progress the country’s making in improving the agricultural sector adding that formation of an association for farmers was of paramount importance.
“There cannot be economic progress if farmers are working in isolations and subjected to unconducive conditions.
“I for one strongly believe that farmers can make meaningful profits if they work in groups. Through such organizations, farmers can articulate issues that affect their interest and directly participate in agricultural policy formulations,” Kachali explained.
He said government was determined to ensure that farmers continue producing enough crops.
Speaking earlier, president of Farmers Union of Malawi Felix Jumbe asked government to consider establishment of a regulatory body, saying its mandate would be to regulate prices and the marketing of agricultural produce.
Jumbe said it wasn’t fair that farmers, who do back-breaking work, make very little while middle men make more.
He said with the presence of a regulatory body possibility is that farmers would be protected from unscrupulous traders.
“There is a lot that we can ask from the government but the most important one is consideration of a regulatory body just as it is with other sectors. The purpose of this body is to regulate any functions taking place in the agriculture sector,” Jumbe said.
In regard to the congress, Jumbe said it was part of the platforms on how farmers can share skills and knowledge.
He said the conference was beneficial for the farmers.
“As farmers we believe in sharing knowledge and that can only be achieved we interact with one anothers like at this forum. The congress today forms part of that and we hope our farmers will learn several things,” Jumbe explained.
Farmers Union of Malawi is a grouping of over 78 associations of farmers with membership of over 260 000 farmers. The core functions of the Union are to offer solutions to challenges faced by framers and directly involve government in issues affecting the agricultural sector.
The theme of the conference is “Agricultural cooperatives are key to improved agricultural production and marketing for social economic development in Malawi.”
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