Malawi needs better commodity structured markets

Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Felix Jumbe says better market structure systems can help boost the agricultural sector in Malawi.

Jumbe was speaking in Lilongwe, Wednesday when his committee and the Parliamentary Committee on Trade had an interface meeting with AHL Commodity Exchange on how Malawi can excel if it has organized markets.

He said currently there is lack of organized markets where farmers can go and sale their produce.

“We are lacking organized commodity market systems which will facilitate production and in the long run improve income of farmers and their wellbeing,” said Jumbe adding that if better structures are put in place buyers will be buying quality products.

Jumbe said the meeting was vital to the group as members of parliament who are in constant contact with their subjects in their different constituencies and are able to give them information.

He said that tobacco alone cannot fetch forex on the market but other commodities like sesame, pigeon peas, groundnuts and other legumes can also bring in more forex in the country.

Asked how the country will benefit if better structures, regulations and policies are established on commodity markets, Jumbe said economically this will be a paradigm shift interms of how farmers will view farming.

He said farmers will take this as business and will strive to have better produce and sale well.

“If commodity market structures are put in place we will see that banks will come forward to help as they will see an organized market and access to loans will be easy,” said Jumbe.

Speaking in an interview after the meeting, General Manager for AHL Commodity Exchange Davies Manyenje said the interface meeting was organized to interact with members of parliament on how they can develop the commodity market.

He said although market is there, the product price is compromised thus the need to come up with a policy and regulations on how the produce market can run.

He added that involvement of the MPs is vital as they are policy influencers and need to know how much trade is going through unregulated markets and how much losses the agricultural sector is incurring.

He further explained that the country is losing up to 100 million dollars on the unorganized markets, which he said is quite a lot of resources that the country needs to harness.

He said there is need to bring in cooperatives as this will help in ensuring that farmers’ commodities and finances will be looked after well.

Source: Malawi News Agency