For many years, smallholder farmers in Demera EPA Lilongwe were used to selling their produce individually and to unreliable markets. However, the introduction of SALF programme by the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship in the area has changed the practice. Through the SALF programme, AICC has been involved in offering trainings and capacity building to farmers on market access and entrepreneurial skills with an aim of ensuring that smallholder farmers in the area, start to regard farming other than a mere survival activity.
AICC whose main role in the SALF programme is to ensure that there is an increase in market and acquisition of entrepreneurial skills among smallholder farmers in the area has been facilitating various market linkages as well as promoting collective marketing and marketing negotiating skills.
The acquisition of skills in searching and negotiating for good market prices and aggregations of produce has evidently led to a number of success stories of collective marketing in the area. Demera EPA lead farmers Chairlady, Alaika Kachenje, is one of the many farmers whose living to enjoy the fruits of collective marketing. Kachenje narrated that ever since she decided to join the collective marketing group she has lived to enjoy the group and does not regret her decision. She indicated that through collective marketing she is now realising more than what she used to
in negotiating for the prices. Farmers are also not getting tricked in this production year by use of dubious scales that are found in informal markets.
“Through collective marketing we have managed to penetrate the formal market easily and we have more negotiating powers on the market. Previously we used to give in easily to any price as we didn’t have a choice of another market but now that we have the marketing searching skills we decide where we want to sell our products. On top of that, our earnings have increased a lot and we no longer face any tricks on the market especially on the use of fake scales by buyers’ articulated Kachenje.
During the 2016 marketing period, Demera EPA established 3 aggregation centres in Kabudula, Kasiya and Mbalame areas where farmers participating in SALF programme managed to sell 30 tonnes of soya to Gaffar and Atupele investments, realising a total of MK9, 600,000.00. This has made many farmers in the areas to seriously regard farming as a business in the coming season since they have been satisfied with prices offered and weighing scales used during the collective selling of their produce.