Malawi: 'Profitable Markets Remain Essential'

Lilongwe — Government has said access of profitable markets for small holder farmers remains essential in making the agricultural development flourish in the country.

Director of Crop Development in the Ministry of Agriculture and Water development, Dr. Godfrey Ching'oma made the remarks Tuesday when he officially opened a workshop on models to enhance access to profitable agriculture markets for stallholder famers in Malawi at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

He noted that most rural smallholder farmers fail to engage in meaningful agriculture due to lack of access to profitable markets.

Ching'oma added that, "Ministry of Agriculture has formulated different policies and interventions to support the development of the sector in the country."

He said the National Agriculture Policy highlights that by 2020 agriculture in country would move into increased oriented profitable commercial farming through specialization of smallholder production.

The Director Observed that the tobacco markets remains structured but other crops such are legumes are still having problems.

"I would like to thank Oxfam for their continued support to government for their endeavours to make sure that smallholder farmers have profitable markets for their produces," Ching'oma pointed out.

Country Director of Oxfam in Malawi, Lingalireni Mihowa said agricultural productivity stands to benefit smallholder farmers if markets are predictable, structured, viable and profitable.

She said that despite all the efforts smallholder farmers have struggled over the years to have reliable markets for their produce.

"We believe that knowledge sharing on agriculture markets can help the framers to explore on how to market their produce and earn more from their sales. We need to have new modeling of the agriculture markets so that farmers should have better options for their access to sale their crops within their locality," Mihowa said.

The Country Director added that the country still have a challenge to secure better markets for small holder, commercial, medium level farmers for their products which has contributed to low level production.

Mihowa said Oxfam was working with smallholder famers in Rumphi, Kasungu, Mchinji, Lilongwe, Dowa, Salima, Nkhotakota, Phalombe and Balaka districts in order to help them secure viable markets for their produce.

She thanked Irish Aid and Oxfam Ireland for support us with a five year programme to improve access to profitable markets in the country.

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