By Mwaba Mutale
The Farmer the Abused……
This morming I was checking on my cabbage and then I thought about the reality and facts on the ground. I was looking at some hard facts and what i reflected on broke my spirit….
IMAGINE THIS: I spend three months growing a crop, till the land, prepare it well, buy seed, source for fertlizers, buy chemicals, pay of labour, weed and maintain, provide security and then go sell a cabbage for two kwacha to the public or 1 kwacha 50 ngwee to some greedy shop who will intern sale my cabbage at 10 kwacha, 10 kwacha for doing nothing, nothing at all…..
Worst is a tomatoes farmer who will labour night and day, fight pests and diseases, transport his good only to sell a box at 50 kwacha. The same box will be bought by a company making tomato sauce and will make 40 bottles of tomato source and sale a bottle at 25 kwacha and make 500 kwacha from your box that you sold for 50 kwacha….
Its not a funny thing for farmers, especially peasant and small scale farmers. It’s really an ugly sight and its hand to mouth and basic survival. It’s a different story for large commercial farmers in Mkushi and Mpongwe who collect their money even before planting a single seed…..
Just like Zambia does not benefit from its copper, the European and Chinese get our copper for 5000 dollars, go and make TVs and laptops and many other gadgets and make millions of dollars from your tiny 5000 dollars, so too for the farmer…the farmer is the exploited fool, the Idiot we can all take advantage off….
So how does the farmer liberate himself? The key lies in value addition, we must start processing our goods or we will die paupers. We will retire poor or never retire at all and have to work the rest of our lives..this is not only true for farming but many other industries across Zambia and Africa… We must process our goods..start small and grow. Imagibe last year I produced thousand of watermelon yet failed to break even.. imagine if I had produced watermelon juice and even if I sold 10,000 drinks only just 10,000 drinks at 10 kwacha one..thats 100,000… instead you sale melons at such a low price you want to burn your field and give away for free…..
We must change the way we do things or we will forever remain poor……
Value addition is the key…