Land O lakes are set to roll out a Malawi Strengthening Inclusive Markets for Agriculture (MSIKA) five-year value-chain development project to improve productivity and commercialization of vegetables and fruits.
Speaking at a news conference in Lilongwe, Land o Lakes Country Director, Timothy Nzioka, described building the capacity of farmers and producer groups as key for them to penetrate the local market, saying it would assist them to work together.
This, he said, will help to standardize their production so that when they put their products together, they will be sure the product will still be the same.
“Tobacco has generated income for this country but its prices and consumption have been going down, and farmers need to be supported to diversify their income streams.
“It is, therefore, critical for farmers to get involved in high value crops,” said Nzioka.
Nzioka added that while diversification into food crops like maize, sorghum and groundnuts is important, farmers need to diversify into crops that would generate them income.
He cited horticulture as one of such areas that would transform income and lives of rural farmers.
“For the farm produce, we are going to build the capacity of farmers and farmer cooperatives to ensure that they are able to produce crops of high quality and get access to crop protection products,” said the Land o Lakes country director.
This would ensure that the final products from the crop field are of the same quality as the ones imported from other countries, according to Nzioka.
He stated that his organization would work with Malawi Bureau of Standards regarding processing of the products to ensure standardization and certification of processes by the processors.
By doing this, Nzioka said the final product that will get out on the market will not only compete with the imported products, but be exported to other countries as well.
“We want to facilitate contracts where farmers are able to have them (contracts) even during planting so that they are aware they will be selling their products at a certain value and price,” said Nzioka.
The $17 million (K12.5 billion) United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded project will be working with 42000 farmers formed into 210 producer groups from Mchinji, Ntcheu, Lilongwe, Dedza and Mangochi.
The groups will be receiving market information on quantities that the market would want, according to Land o Lakes country director.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :