Malawi farmers on value addition in Zikometso association: Stand to make much improved fortune

A local farmers association has taken a shift from selling and exporting farm procude to value adding to diversify it’s market base.

Farmers growing chilli in Mulanje

Mulanje based Zikometso Smallholder Farmers Association (ZISFA) is producing Zikometso Chilli Sauce which is certified by the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) and is available in local supermarkets and Zikometso Sunflower Cooking Oil which is yet to be on the market.

ZISFA is a member af National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi(NASFAM) a non governmental organisation aiming at improving the livelyhoods of small-scale farmers.

With about 5000 farmers under ZISFA, 3 000 of which are under chilli farming and 2000 in sunflower farming the association is able to produce 200 metric tonnes of sunflower in one yearwhile 50 metric tones of chillie is produced per year.

The association sells sunflower to local buyers mainly Indians while chillie is exported to Holand, Italy and Spain as it has a very small market locally, according to ZISFA Innovation Productivity Centre manager Benson Kuziona.

With 20 years of farming and satisfying the production industry, the association thought of adding value to the produce to diversify the market.

“With the chillie, we are now adding value to make chilli sauce and with the sunflower, we now have a sunflower processing unit up and running producing sunflower oil,” said Kuziona.

Assisted by the European Union [EU] through Farm Income Diversification Programme [Fidp] and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism three years ago, we trained personnel to set up the factory and provide business and finance management skills to our personnel

The local farmers have a sunflower oil processing factory in Phalombe District and a chillie sauce factory in Mulanje District.

Currently, said Kuziona, they are able to produce 900 bottles of chillie sauce per day while they refine 1200 litters of sunflower oil per go.

NASFAM is a farmer-member controlled system. This control starts at Association level. The NASFAM system is organised into a unique extension network to support its membership of around 100,000 smallholder farmers.

The smallest operational unit of NASFAM is the Club, made up of 10-15 individual farmers. Clubs combine to form Action Groups that are the key points in the extension network for dissemination of information to members, and for the bulking of member crops.

Action Groups combine to form NASFAM’s Associations. Currently, NASFAM has 43 associations.

NASFAM Associations are legally registered entities, member-owned and managed by annually elected farmer Boards. The Associations are grouped by geographical location under 14 Association Management Centres (AMCs).

These provide management and operational support to the Associations in terms of production, marketing and community development. The AMCs are in turn supported and managed by the NASFAM Head Office structure.

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