LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Coalition of Women Farmers of Malawi (COWFA) on Friday expressed sadness over government failure to put proper guiding legal frame work on export-ban.
The rural women say due to this year’s abruptly export ban they lost proceeds arguing that traders took advantage of decision by offering poor prices when buying produces.
The grouping observed that instant and long export ban affect women access to markets for their produces.
The rural women’s outcry comes a week after President Peter Mutharika lifted export ban that government put on local crops since April this year’s.
President Mutharika’s decision received with mixed reaction with some quarters of the society observing that the uplifting was too late while others says the decision was order to contain persistent hunger the nation face.
But in an exclusive interview with The Maravi, COWFA’ members drawn from Dowa, Rumphi and Machinga districts say the export ban has en-savage them into economic crisis.
They are accusing government for failing to provide alternate for their crops’ markets after the ban.
The rural women added that due to poor market access their produces ended up in hands of ruthless trader that offered poor prices.
“The development has led us unable to realize profits from the proceeds to support our families. Now we are unable also to buy farm inputs for the coming growing season,” says Felisha Mkusabwera from Dowa.
Another COWFA member from Machinga, Beatrice Chisuse, told The Maravi Post that what women farmers want is legal frame work that will guide export ban.
Chisuse added that it was not proper for government just walk in day to put a ban without putting alternative when all in all farmers had already gotten markets outside the country.
“Look at the way Admarc is currently operating. It opens its deports too late even open, only processor companies benefit from such trading. We need proper access markets for women farmers in rural area as to benefit a lot on economic fortunes this government is touting,” urges Chisuse.
Echoing on the same, Tiwonge Gondwe of Rumphi said as women farmers contribute 70 percent of total country’s produces yearly, it was proper for authority to put their interests and rights in check.
“We want conducive environment where rural farmers can access easily farm inputs, extension services and markets for produces. We contribute a lot to the country’s produces which if supported the nation can gain much needed revenue collection through export trading,” added Chisuse.
In her reaction, Chikumbutso Ndaferankhande Ngosi, ActionAid Malawi’s Regional Thematic Women’s Rights Manager whose organization champions COWFA’s agenda said the rural women’s general outcry was making sense hence the need for the authority to take action.
Ngosi while appreciating government export ban decision she was quick to say, alternative ways could have have provided to the farmers.
She therefore concurred with the rural women by urging government to put proper guiding laws on export ban to be incorporated into agricultural policies.
“The export ban is always good but the way is managed left a lot to be desired. You can’t walk just a day issuing export ban without putting alternative for farmers to sell their produces. We need proper laws that protects women from abuses from unscrupulous traders,” says Ngosi.
According to this year’s United Nations (UN Women) report about US$100 million is being lost yearly and globally from some farm produces due to gender imbalance and poor power shift on economic fortunes.