Farmers have complained that the decision by government to use the barter system as opposed to money as a medium of exchange this farming season is not going to help them solve other problems.
Speaking on behalf of farmers in Mkushi South, William Mweemba said it was unfortunate that government was taking them backwards in terms of trade adding that most farmers would experience difficulties in buying other important items for their families.
Mr Mweemba told the Daily Nation from Mkushi that farmers were used to money as the medium of exchange unlike the new pattern were they would be required to get fertilizer in exchange for maize.
He said it was difficult for small scale farmers hoping to raise funds from the sale of maize to raise some cash because government which offered a better price had opted to exchange fertilizer with maize.
He explained that there was little the farmers could do about the situation but to sell their maize to other buyers that offered them a cheaper rate because they were desperate for cash.
“We want government to revisit its decision because this barter system they have introduced is not going to help the farmers anymore. Maize dealers are taking advantage of the situation and they are exploiting us by offering cash which is less than what the government should have offered.
“Farmers have no option and this will bring about starvation among farmers because they will have no cash by the time we approach the farming season. As farmers we have never traded in thisway before because barter system was for ancient times and most of us were not there when such a trade was taking place and what will happen to those farmers that already have inputs such as fertilizer because government last year delivered the inputs late to farmers,” Mweemba said.
He said the old system was better and more convenient for farmers despite government’s failure to pay them on time and that it was an assurance to farmers that they would have cash at a certain time.
Mr Mweemba said that unscrupulous businessmen would take advantage of the rural farmers that would be in need of cash and buy their inputs at a very cheap price.
He said government should have first considered running pilot projects and carry out an assessment on the project before imposing it on farmers.