Form cooperative unions, Chamwino farmers told

19Dec 2018
Polycarp Machira
The Guardian
Form cooperative unions, Chamwino farmers told

CHAMWINO district council has called on farmers in the area to form cooperative unions and sell their products through warehouse receipt systems, saying it is the best way to have a common voice for better prices.

While contemplating on the ways to help increase agricultural productivity in the district, the leaders argued that farmers are not get better prices for their products due to lack of market knowledge and collective voice.


The council chairperson, Samwel Kaweya noted that the warehouse receipt system is working very well in other district in the country, thus farmers in Chamwino should borrow a leaf.


Speaking during a meeting that brought together the council's finance, planning and administration committee with other stakeholders, the council tasked the various district agricultural officials to intervene and bring changes.


"It is high time we take action in effort to improve agriculture productivity in the district and help raise the living standards of farmers" he said.


The observation came after a group of farmers from the district expressed various concerns on a number of issues that derail agriculture development, citing lack of market as one of the major issue.


Working under the umbrella of a platform of women smallholder farmers in the district, JUWACHA, they argued that in the 2017/2018the district council targeted to farm over 128,012 hectares of food crops and 42,070 hectares of cash crop.


However by June, 2018 the district had a total 89,608 hectares of land that yielded 84,386 tonnes of food crops and some 29,450 hectares that yielded 23,346 tonnes of cash crops.


Nuru Mpanda, speaking on behalf of fellow farmers noted most farmers in the district cannot afford the high prices of farm inputs including fertilizer.


"The best example is on the sunflower seeds that has ranges between Sh 8,000 and  Sh 35,000 depending on the type, a two-kilogram bag of maize seeds cost Sh 13,000"she said, adding that most farmers cannot afford the prices.


She added that most of the pesticides sold in the area do not kill fall armyworms that cause problems to farmers every season.


District Agricultural Officer, Godfrey Mnyanele noted that the authority was working on the possibility to help establish cooperative unions as well as getting better seeds at affordable prices for the farmers.


The district executive director (DED), Athuman Masasi assured the meeting that his office will work on the challenges facing the farmers.