Farmers’ Cooperatives Realizing Profits
DAPP Malawi in Partnership with GIZ under the KULIMA MIERA project is working with 10 Farmers Organisations (FO) in Salima and Dedza districts.
The project targets to train the farmers organised in their organisation/cooperatives in activities that will impart knowledge and skills in order to improve their performance in commercialising their agricultural produce.
The aim of the project is to close the gaps in value chain, link the FOs to agro-dealers, input suppliers, and financial service providers.
A recent visit by DAPP Malawi to one of the FOs in Salima district, Msangu Produceres and Marketing Cooperatives, indicates that the farmers are able to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during their trainings.
The trainings which are organised by GIZ and DAPP focus on the knowledge and skills in collective marketing, farmer organisation techniques, and business and negotiation in the market. This enables them to grow their businesses and provide goods and services at a profit.
Msangu Cooperative in Traditional Authority Maganga has a membership of 197 small scale farmers who joined forces and grow agricultural produces, buy crops for reselling and value addititon activities to maximise their products.
The cooperatives comprise of 9 clusters that have farmers’ clubs falling under them. Founded in 2007 as a club of 18 farmers, it was later opened up for new members in 2010 which led to the formulation of the cooperative.
According to Lydia Wilson, the Vice Chair of Msangu Cooperative, Msangu now has a business plan and the organisation is able to record their activities after undergoing the training.
“We are able to make accurate calculations of the money we raise from selling our produce and track the profits being realised. We used to have business plans but following the skills acquired during the training, now out plans are clear and easy to understand,” said Wilson.
Msangu cooperative members grow crops that range from rice, soya beans, groundnuts, sweet potatoes and maize among others.
The organisation said it prides in being suppliers of food crops to three primary schools of Mafco, Parachute Batallion and Sengabay in the district for their school feeding programs.
Farmer Organizations in Malawi are faced with numerous challenges that affect the development of their agriculture activities as well as development of their agri-business enterprises.
The capacity building activities in the project include leadership training, technical capacity building (planning, budgeting, record keeping, book keeping, report writing, collective sourcing of inputs and collective selling of farm produces) and linkages to government extension services so that FOs can effectively manage their members and enterprises.