Tradeline Corporation Group to help small holder farmers market  chllenges in Mzimba

Small holder farmers in Mzimba have all the reason to beam smiles following launch of a project in the district which is wielding potential to improve  access to viable market for their  agricultural produce.

Lerato Lekhoaba: Small holder farmers have always been facing  challenges

A business affiliated non governmental organization (NGO), Tradeline Corporation Group Limited (TLC), Friday launched a 5 year Tools for Marketing Access Project in the district which will implement different strategies of enhancing small holder farmers easy access to agricultural commodity potential buyers.

The project’s paramount  objective is to expand small holder farmers market access in its impact districts of Mzimba and Kasungu, through improvement of efficiency and competitiveness of marketing organizations, with purpose of increasing value and volume of the trade.

Speaking during launch of the project, at  district executive committee (DEC) meeting, TLC Commercial Director, Lerato Lekhoaba said small holder farmers have always been facing  challenges in finding reliable  markets for their farm commodities because key marketing  organizations (MOs)  which are deemed as potential buyers, by far, lacked organizational, trade and financial capacity to effectively carry out their marketing activities.

Said Lekhoaba, “Therefore, it is our hope that when the project rolls out, it  will enhance the capacity of all key marketing organizations to discharge their marketing functions in an  effective and independent atmosphere for their benefit as well as of the benefit of  small holder farmers.”

The Commercial Director said the project will work with marketing organizations, which organize themselves in cooperatives such as Apex Farmer Association, Small and Medium Agribusiness Enterprises and others , with great bias towards those trading in legumes, grain, cereals and horticultural products.

She added that the  project has a component of establishing Investment Loan Fund which will link the marketing organizations to commercial banks where they will be eligible to  credit facilities.

“These marketing organization will have easy access to credit facilities through the establishment of Investment Loan Fund which will bridge them to  commercial banks for easy  loan acquisition,” explained the Commercial Director.

According to Lekhoaba, when marketing organization procure agriculture commodities from small holder farmers, by complete adherence to laid down fair trade rules, they will sell them to bigger buyers for value addition and export.

M’mbelwa District Council Director of Planning and Development, (DPD), Precious Kantsitsi hailed TLC for deciding to implement the project in Mzimba, where small holder farmers accessibility to markets which can give them good returns from their farm produce, has always been a serious challenge.

The DPD lamented that small holder farmers who are desperate for money usually have no option but to sell their food commodities to unscrupulous traders  who dangle money on their nose and end up ripping them off.

Observed Kantsitsi, “Unlike other districts, Mzimba district still  boasts vast fertile arable land and its hard working people, who unfortunately, are not economically vibrant despite  maximum food production every agriculture season, which is blamed on absence of viable market for competitive bargaining.”

The Planner added that the launch of then project was a big relief not only to small holder farmers but also to the  mother council , which could not find  answers to the problem.

Meanwhile, a bigger percentage of small holder farmers in Mzimba still have huge stocks of maize from last year’s growing season, which failed to find competitive buyers and it is  sold at give away price to vendors for quick money to meet household basic requirements

A  TLC Project, which runs from 2018 t0 2023, is funded by government of Flanders, to a staggering EURO 1.6 million.

It is targeting 30 marketing organizations, 300 farmers organization and a hooping 9,000 small holder farmers in Mzimba and Kasungu Districts.

TLC is a business consultant film which helps growth oriented entrepreneurs to develop, improve and expand their business, through business development services, financial, trade and market services.

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