The Government has set minimum farm gate prices for cotton this year at K375 per kilogramme from last year’s K320.
The change represents a 17 percent increase in the prices, a development which has excited cotton farmers in the country.
This was revealed during a press conference held by officials from the Ministry of Agriculture jointly with the Cotton Council of Malawi (CCM) and the Cotton Farmers Association of Malawi (Cfam) in Lilongwe on Friday.
CCM Executive Director, Cosmas Luwanda said during the briefing that the cotton marketing season will open on April 27 and is expected to run for 90 calendar days.
On the set minimum farm gate prices, Luwanda, said the decision was made following a rigorous consultative process with industry stakeholders taking into account the cost of production and prevailing international market prices.
“We have put in place regulations to be followed to properly regulate the function of the market, among them buying of seed cotton will only be done at centres designated by the council, only licensed buyers will be allowed to buy and farmers under contract farming will not be allowed to sell to other buyers other than the company they entered a contract with, among other regulations,” Luwanda said.
Director of Crop Development in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Godfrey Ching’oma, concurred with Luwanda, stressing that the ministry has started arresting people who buying from farmers without license and in undesignated places.
Ching’oma further said the recent trends in the cotton industry such as the increase in cotton prices this year is an indication that the cotton industry is on a rebound to reclaim its lost glory.
Commenting on the set minimum prices for this year, Cfam President, George Duncan Nesa, said the minimum price is a good starting point and they expect the prices to increase to more than K400 a kilogramme at the peak of the marketing season.
“For a start, it is good because, when it comes to money, nobody is satisfied, but this is okay for now and we will continue to engage the buyers to lobby for even higher prices than the set K375 a kilogramme,” Nesa said.
Today’s top business story: Top Commercial Banks In Malawi