CSPR- Advocacy and Communication Programme Coordinator Maxson Nkhoma said in a statement yesterday that the prices being offered by most outgrower companies were not cost reflective and were likely to exploit many farmers as farmers were buying farming inputs at very high prices last year owing to the depreciation of the kwacha.
Mr Nkhoma said it was unreasonable and irrational for out grower companies to still buy crops at the same prices they were buying last year.
“What is most shocking is that all out grower companies buying cotton are offering the same buying price of K 2.80 per kg(kilogramme) as though all companies are going to sale the commodity to same company abroad when in fact not,” he said.
He said CSPR regards this to be a serious abnormally and an act of unfair trading practices being orchestrated by cotton out grower companies meant to exploit the farming community and rob farmers of their hard earned money.
He said CSPR was disappointment that despite out grower companies engaging in unfair trading practices, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission(CCPC) has been watching out grower companies engage in broad day light robbery of farmers.
He called on CCPC to immediately investigate and bring to book cartels that have been formed in the agriculture sector with a purpose of fixing prices that disadvantages the farmers from realizing profit out of their crops.
“CCPC must know that they have a legal mandate to protect farmers from being victims of unfair trading practices,”he said.
Mr Nkhoma has since given CCPC a seven day ultimatum to address the farming community by price fixing done by the cartels.