The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has been crisscrossing the country since 30th August 2021, sensitizing Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security extension officers on contract farming. The Commission has also been meeting farmers to appreciate the kind of contracts that they enter into.
During the exercise which ends on 10th September 2021, CFTC has conducted seminars with extension officers in Dowa, Ntchisi, Nkhotakota, Rumphi, Chitipa and Karonga. The Commission has also held meetings with officers in Balaka, Mulanje, Thyolo, Ntcheu, Blantyre and Mwanza—meeting over 250 officers.
Speaking during one of the seminars in Ntchisi, CFTC Acting Executive Director, Apoche Itimu said the meetings were important because they accorded an opportunity to raise awareness on contract farming.
“We know that many farmers are not aware of how to get into contracts that favour them and end up being shortchanged. These seminars are aimed at equipping extension officers with knowledge on contract farming so that they can help the farmers get into better contracts,” said Itimu.
Apart from the seminars with the extension officers, CFTC has also been conducting interviews with farmers on existing contract agreements with their buyers in order to determine whether their contracts carry any restrictive clauses.
During one of the interviews, the Commission received allegations that some farmers had been duped off farm produce, a conduct which is believed to be a breach of the agreement that was signed.
The CFTC is implementing a project on Enhancement of Competition and Consumer Protection in the Agriculture Sector in Malawi under Agriculture Commercialization (AGCOM) Project. Earlier in July, the Commission conducted another round of seminars in Salima, Mangochi, Dedza, Zomba, Machinga, Balaka, Mzimba, Kasungu and Mchinji meeting over 200 officers