Sarai Nkhonjera, Lughambo Mwalughali and Victor Rabson from Salima, Karonga and Balaka districts respectively in Malawi share one common thing though they live hundreds of kilometres apart.
The trio has not known any other ‘job’ all their lives apart from growing cotton on their respective parched customary lands.
But the crop’s decline in terms of both yield and prices has put them in a quandary because they are forced to grow others crops for survival.
Both state and private companies which supported smallholder farmers like them with inputs, expertise and markets seem to have vanished from their backyards.
“Because of these challenges, you find that the number of people growing cotton has declined, which is bad to household and national incomes. We need some change, we need the inputs programme back,” Sarai Nkhonjera, who is also Cotton Farmers Association (COFA) Vice-President, told the media.
Even in boon years, Cotton farmers made little or no savings to help them bankroll the next farming season.
Generally, the country’s saving rate has not picked up from almost 3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of almost MK 5 Trillion.
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