Kafulama Commercial Village smallholder farmers realized sales worth over USD 7,000 from collective marketing under the Malawi Potato commercialization Programme supported by IFAD and implemented by Farm Concern International, FCI in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture and market partnerships with traditional informal wholesale buyers and processing companies.
They also increased their yields from 700kg of Irish potatoes per acre to 1900-5000kg during the last harvest season in April 2015. This was as a result of training from FCI and use of farm inputs. FCI initiated the formation of Chiyanjano Commercial Producer Group in Kafulama Commercial Village in August 2014. The group was initially called Mgwirizano Club. But the farmers were not well organized and had minimal group activity. After forming the CPG they decided to change the name to Chiyanjano CPG.
FCI organized the farmers and put management structures in place. FCI also trained the farmers on marketing and collective action. The farmers started practicing commercial farming. Chiyanjano CPG was linked to Mchinji, Kamwendo and Chipata Markets which trade an estimated 20MT, 10MT and 15MT of Irish potatoes per week respectively. There is often disconnect between farmers and traders as none of the parties know what the other requires. FCI facilitated 10 buyer-farmer forums in the CPG where the farmers and buyers exchanged information and contacts. As a result, farmers have access to ready market; and traders have access to ready and quality produce. Farmers were also trained to structure production, hence they harvested at different times. Farmers are targeting better prices during upcoming seasons.
From the income realized from the sale of Irish potatoes, some farmers in the CPG have invested in rearing of livestock. Two farmers bought motor bikes while one farmer bough an ox-cart. Another member bought solar power and a shaving machine and began operating a mini barbershop.
FCI took two members to the nearby Nsundwe market for a study tour. The two farmers learned the dynamics of the market in terms of prices and quality. They learned that the market determines the prices and seeks certain standards for the produce. They shared this information with their fellow CPG members. FCI also took two more farmers to Kanyama EPA in Dedza, the second EMAIP implementation site to learn from fellow farmers. An agreement has been reached between Mchinji and Kanyama farmers to jointly sell potatoes to Zambia, which borders Mchinji. Production levels are lower in Mchinji coupled with high prices compared to Dedza and a joint business will mean increased incomes to both groups.
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FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond