Malawi: Machinga Rice Farmers Ask Govt, Fum to Facilitate Contract-Farming Agreements

Smallholder rice farmers under Domasi Irrigation Scheme in Machinga have asked the government and Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) to help them identify companies and organizations with which they can enter into contracts.

Speaking in an interview on Monday, the farmers said contract farming could help them increase and improve their access to resources and increase agricultural productivity of farmers.

The scheme’s chairperson Anderson Chapita disclosed that small-scale rice farmers face a number of production and marketing constraints, such as limited access to services, including effective extension and rural credit, which are crucial pre-conditions for upgrading commodity value chains.

“Contract farming could also help us access better markets for our crop and guarantee us adequate supply of raw materials to agro-based industries. Currently, we are selling our yield to the vendors who usually over uncompetitive prices,” he said.

Meanwhile, FUM is leading a consortium of three other local organizations, namely Center for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA), Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), and the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), in the implementation of Strengthening Inclusive Agriculture Sector Growth and Sustainable Natural Resources Governance in Malawi project.

The project is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is designed to increase agricultural production and productivity, access to markets and agricultural financing, and achieve increased policy environment for commercialization and natural resource governance.