By Erik Chiputula:
The higher costs of fuel in the country has greatly affected some farmers who depend on pumps powered by fuel for irrigation.
One of the farmers who is based in Ntcheu district, Anderson George Phiri has told The Atlas Malawi that the current prices of fuel have made a big setback to the small scale farmers across the country.
“The current prices are too high and we are failing to buy enough fuel to run our irrigation pumps. In the past, we were able to use less than K5000 per week but now it’s almost K50,000 which hinders our progress”
“Many people here in remote areas relyon farming to earn a leaving and it’s unfortunate now to see that many have pulled out of irrigation farming due to high fuel prices so I urge authorities to consider reduction of the prices for the betterment of poor Malawians” said Phiri
Reacting to the issue, Agriculture analyst Tamani Nkhono has described the development as sad saying it is contrary to President Lazarus Chakwera’s advocacy about the needs to embrace irrigation farming to boost productivity.
Nkhono further advised farmers to switch to other means of irrigation which can be cheaper than the use of diesel.
“I don’t think the prices will go down again so the best way farmers can do is to switch to other types like irrigation systems that relies on solar and again they can turn to treadle pumps” said Nkhono
In the last two years diesel prices have been quadrupled from K600 to K2000 due to what Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) described as the impact of Covid 19 as well as the Russia-Ukrain War.