Tools For Market Access To The Rescue of Smallholder Farmers

Smallholder farmers in Mzimba and Kasungu are expected to have improved access to reliable markets following a five year €1.6 million project “Tools For Market Access” being implemented by Tradeline Corporation Limited.

The Government of Flanders is the one funding the project which is to create market access for smallholder farmers by strengthening capacity of Marketing Organizations.

Tradeline Corporation Commercial Manager, Lerato Lekhoaba told local media that is aimed at addressing challenges farmers face in accessing markets for their produce.

“It was established that there are a lot of smallholder farmers that are able to produce but only few big marketing organizations exist that come down to buy from farmers on the ground,” Lekhoaba said.

“The big organizations dictate prices which have been affecting pricing. So to deal with these challenges we designed this project where we will strengthen marketing organizations in form of cooperatives, Apex Farmer Associations and Small and Medium Agribusiness Enterprises capable of playing a marketing role to compete with big companies,” she said.

The project is expected to strengthen 30 marketing organizations trading in pulses, legumes; cereals and grains and horticultural products, and integrate 300 farmer organizations or 9,000 smallholder farmers with marketing organisations as suppliers in Malawi.

Among others things, the project will stimulate markets by investing and enhancing capacity of marketing organizations to access credit through established investment loan fund which leverages private sector investments and by partnering with commercial banks

That aside, the project will build strong buyer-seller linkages and improve organizational management systems and capabilities.

 “We will conduct financial literacy trainings, link marketing organizations to established investment loan fund as well as train and coach marketing organizations in business management and governance. We expect to see enhanced capacity of marketing organizations so that they are able to undertake marketing functions independently,” Lekhoaba added.