Farmer-led public discussion addresses maize marketing challenges

On 8th June 2017, the Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) hosted a panel discussion at the Malawi Institute of Management to debate the policy options for addressing challenges related to maize marketing and pricing in Malawi.  The purpose of the panel discussion was to bring issues related to maize markets and pricing to the attention of the public, and to allow the audience to actively engage in this debate through a town hall- style discussion. 

The overriding question posed by FUM is to what extent should government and other public organizations intervene in maize markets in Malawi. The IFPRI-Malawi Country Program Leader, Bob Baulch, was asked to provide some background on the topic, based on previous IFPRI research. His presentation can be found here.

Panelists included the Hon. Dr. Chidanti Malunga (Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development); Mr. Davies Manyenjo (AHX Commodity Exchange); Mr. Manzoor Bheda (farmer); Mrs. Alice Kachere (farmer); Mr. Chancellot Kaferapanjira (MCCCI); Mr. Kristian Moller (ACE); and Dr. Jerome Nkhoma (MoAIWD). Unfortunately a representative from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism was unable to attend. 

Questions were raised about the current market interventions and who they benefit: small-scale producers, consumers or the commercial sector. A lively debate ensued on mechanisms for better stabilizing prices and maize supply, including the application of a maize price band and opening up to maize exports in times of surplus. Some concerns arose such as ensuring maize availability if exports were allowed, and the budgetary implications of supporting a maize price band. 

This lively and informative discussion was recorded and will be broadcast on several television and radio stations as follows:

  • MBC TV (airing Mon 19th June, 20:30)
  • Zodiac TV (airing Tues 20th June, 20:30)
  • Times TV (airing Wed 21st June, 17:00- 18:30)  
  • Zodiac Radio (airing Sun 18th June, 14:30)
  • Times Radio (airing Mon 19th June, 20:30)