Farmers in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Wimbe and Kapelula in Kasungu district have expressed concerns over their inability to find reliable markets for their farm produce despite being in cooperatives.

The situation has forced TA Kapelula to advise his subjects to sale their produce to vendors.
 
A farmer from Kapheni Cooperative, Willard Phiri said on Monday that farmers who joined cooperatives kept their legumes with expectation to sale at better prices.

He said they are now disappointed because a warehouse that promised to buy the produce is taking time to open.

“When the warehouse management told us about benefits of selling commodities in cooperatives, we formed them and kept our legumes but up to date there is no any tangible information on whether they will buy our legumes or not,” Phiri said.

Chinthimbiri and Kalenga Warehouses were built under government support with the aim of finding markets for cooperative legume farmers and to also buy legumes through government funds starting 2019 season.

Chinthimbiri Warehouse Secretary, Kennedy Kamanga disclosed that delays by agreed buyers in transferring money is a major factor contributing to this development.

He cited lack of timely government funding.  

“We agreed with some potential buyers to buy legumes from cooperative farmers in these two areas on their behalf but they haven’t yet transferred cash to our account to start buying commodities from these farmers.

“The government also promised to give us funds and we are still waiting to hear from the government,” Kamanga said.

TA Kapelula said he has told all farmers in his area who joined cooperatives to sale their legumes to vendors.

“They told us to encourage our farmers to join cooperatives but they are not buying their commodities. I have told them to dissolve all cooperatives and sell their legumes to vendors because legume prices are going down and they can lose,” he said.

Over 3,500 legume farmers were registered and over 30 Cooperatives were formed to sale their legumes at Kalenga and Chinthimbiri Warehouses in the 2019 marketing season.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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