By Grace Kaonga Mana:
Cotton farmers in Karonga have expressed concern over a lack of a functional ginnery factory in the district.
The concern comes as the only gennery factory at Ngala in the district is idol close to eight years since being opened a situation which has left the farmers having to send their cotton to Balaka and Ngabu ginnery.
In an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) Collins Mwenegombe a cotton grower, said company’s spend a lot of resources in transferring the crop to the other side of the country thus affecting the farmers in how much is realized from the cotton.
“Companies are no longer buying our cotton at a good price that we can be satisfied with as they say they are already losing money when transferring the crop hence we farmers are the one’s who are suffering.” He said.
Concurring with Mwenegamba another farmer from Mpata in Traditional Authority Kyungu Bernard Kabundi, said cotton seeds are expensive for them to be selling cotton at a lower price as Malawi is currently sailing through economic woes.
“We spend over K50,000 for cotton seeds used on 1 acre and prices are not increasing despite the devaluation. We have to be selling the cotton at K1000 and not K500,” Mwenegamba said.
In a separate interview Cotton Council of Malawi Board chairperson Duncan Warren admitted that this year cotton farmers in Karonga failed to sell their crops in time as companies meant to buy the cotton did not show up.
“The companies that signed the contracts did not show up when it was time to buy the cotton from farmers due to their reasons but we tried to find other companies that bought the cotton from farmers,”he explained.
According to statistics from Karonga Agricultural Development Division the district has over 1000 cotton farmers and this year the district recorded to have the highest seed cotton yield in Malawi, with the average yield for this year being 1500kg per hector.