Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa has warned intermediaries against buying farm produce from local farmers at cheaper price, noting that the practice affects the growth of the agriculture sector.
Nankhumwa issued the warning on Wednesday during the official opening of the 16th National Agricultural Fair at Chichiri International Trade Fair grounds in Blantyre.
In an interview , Nankhumwa said the malpractice has negatively affected the sector, including farmers.
“Let me take this opportunity to advise all unscrupulous private players against exploiting farmers by offering low prices for agricultural commodities as this demotivates farmers and retards sector growth in this country,” Nankhumwa said.
Nankhumwa said government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is playing a role in supporting the youth in the agricultural sector.
“We have set up some interventions for supporting the youth in Malawi with the ‘the youth development fund,’ among other initiatives. At the moment, we are rolling out programmes supporting the youth in agriculture,” he added.
Nankhumwa disclosed that the ministry has supported the youth by orienting them in entrepreneurship and that they are ready to utilize the skills and knowledge gained to venture into serious agri-businesses.
In a separate interview, President of Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Prince Kapondamgaga thanked government for supporting the agricultural sector with various programmes.
“We have noted that government has allocated resources for cotton and leguminous crops in the proposed 2019/2020 National Budget to the tune of K1 billion and K1.85 billion respectively,” Kapondamgaga said.
“We have also noted with gratitude the extension of special consideration to aquaculture through tax incentives in form of removal of customs duty on imported equipment,” he added.
The National Agricultural Fair is being held under the theme: ‘Agriculture commercialization, basis for agro-based industrialization.’ The fair runs up to Friday, September 27.