75% of maize farmers in the country and 90% of soybean farmers sold their produce below farm gate prices, during the last marketing season, according to a study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) which revealed that the farmers could not bargain for prices recommended by the government.
On the other hand, the report outlines that one-third of the farmers were aware of minimum farmgate prices but did not negotiate for them with buyers. As there have been calls for the government to intervene on enforcing the minimum prices, the report has suggested otherwise; “…rather than calling for stricter enforcement of minimum prices, we suggest encouraging greater competition at all levels of the market chain.” says part of the report.
In June this year, a report by the Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) outlined that unscrupulous vendors are still defiant against the gate prices set by the Ministry of Agriculture such the vendors were buying up to 50% lower than what was directed. The situation has always been blamed on Admarc’s delay in opening of markets, as the report has called on the government to ensure that Admarc is capacitated to be able to open all its markets and have enough funds. The call for government’s intervention follows the Grain Traders Association of Malawi (Gtam), which said that the lack of integrity among vendors and some companies is exploiting smallholder farmers in the country.