The Malawi Police Service (MPS) has swiftly moved in to implement new minimum farm-gate costs set by the government, warning that “it will arrest and prosecute anyone buying farm produce below the set prices”.
The Ministry of Agriculture recently released minimum farm-gate costs for strategic crops for the 2022/2023 season. The prices for some crops have been increased astronomically, raising high expectations for better earnings among hardworking farmers.
For instance, costs for main staple grain maize and other key crops are now as follows per kilogram (kg): Maize MK500, polished rice MK1000, unpolished rice MK500, soya beans MK800, pure beans MK700, shelled groundnuts MK950 and unshelled groundnuts MK800.
MPS, in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer Peter Kalaya, reminds the public that these set minimum farm-gate prices “must strictly be adhered to by all traders”.
“Police officers on patrols will be monitoring this across the country and anyone found purchasing farm produce at prices below those set by government will be arrested and prosecuted.
“MPS is further urging all traders to use certified weighing scales recommended by the Malawi Bureau of Standards. Malawians are, therefore, encouraged to report to the police any individual found contravening the set prices or using uncertified weighing scales,” the statement reads in part.
When releasing the new set costs, Secretary for Agriculture, Dickxie Kampani, emphasized the need for all traders to have licenses in order to buy agricultural produce.
He said such documents can be obtained from offices of district councils, programme managers in Karonga, Mzuzu, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Salima, Machinga, Blantyre and Shire Valley Agricultural Development Divisions and the Director of Crop Development at Ministry of Agriculture headquarters.
“The applicants applying for buying licenses will be required to complete application forms indicating location of their warehouses and serial numbers of scales they will use for buying the produce. All scales must be assized and certified by the Malawi Bureau of Standards.
“Applicants will also be required to submit monthly returns of the quantity bought for each commodity as required by the Agriculture General Purposes Act 1987. The returns will be submitted at the office of the Licensing Officer,” said Kampani in a press release.
Costs for other crops per kg are as follows: Mixed beans MK600, sorghum MK400, finger millet MK550, white haricot beans MK650, Pigeon peas MK550, Cowpeas MK640 and Bambara nuts MK750.
By: Wanangwa M