MALAWIANS should brace for tough times as the Centre for Social Concern (Cfsc) has predicted an abrupt turn of trends in maize prices and inflation rate.
According to a report released by Cfsc, there is a direct correlation between maize prices and inflation as witnessed by trends in the two since December last year. The inflation rate is at 10.2 percent from 27 percent in December last year.
On the other hand, maize prices have tumbled to K35 per kilogramme from K250 a kilogramme in December 2016. The report further projects that, from November this year, prices of maize would be going up as farmers will have exhausted their produce owing to low prices being offered by vendors on the market.
According to Cfsc Economic Governance Programmes Officer, Lucky Mfungwe, price as low as K35 a kilogramme in parts of Dowa and Salima districts is a kin to robbing farmers and the economy.
“This all stems from delays in Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) [starting] buying crops from the farmers. Vendors have taken advantage of the and are offering prices as low as K35 per kilogramme and for a farmer to purchase a bag of fertilisers he will have to sell a lot of maize.
“Very soon these farmers will run out of stock and will start buying from the vendors again and the prices and inflation will shoot again,” Mfungwe said.
Omen Kachijade, a farmer from Dowa, attested to the fact that farmers are parting with huge volumes of their stock to meet basic money requirements such as school fees and farm inputs for the coming growing season among others.
The report suggests that Admarc should be funded on time to buy from the farmers and protect them from vendor exploitation; the National Food Reserve Agency should be decentralised and empowered to perform its price stabilisation function and that the farmers should establish groups to access farm inputs and produce markets as a block.
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