By Joshua Morishu (FaceofMalawi reporter)

Malawi’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture welcomes the traditional chiefs of communities being served by the WALA program. Photo by Mphatso Sambo/CRS

The Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement. (WALA) project which aims to reduce food insecurity in 8 districts in Malawi has introduced marketing fairs for small holder farmers in order to increase the use of financial services and assist them to engage in commercial marketing.

Speaking in an interview during one of the WALA farmers marketing fair which took place at Nchalo in Chikhwawa district the agribusiness team leader GITAU MBURE said the marketing fairs for the small holder farmers are aimed at facilitating linkages between farmer marketing groups and private sector service providers by enabling farmers to meet and interact with buyers so that they can understand better to I

Improve their welfare standard   of living and sensitise them on how to move from subsistence farming to profit oriented farming and how to calculate profitability for their farming enterprises, trends in market demand for their commodities, enabling and business service provider s to gain a better understanding of what a farmer has to offer and facilitating business deal between farmers and business providers.

Mbule how ever noted with concern that due to lack of marketing groups farmers have been selling their commodities individually hence vendors were buying them at low prices  and use unscrupulous trade practices to reap maximum benefits at the expense of  farmers. He further said having received training and technical assistant in marketing through WALA, targeted small holder farmers are kin to improve upon tradition marketing groups and targeting buyers that are willing to offer them better prices under more transparent terms.  The agribusiness team leader therefore encouraged farmers to take farming as business .Commenting on the development one of the  farmers who turned up for the marketing fair JOHN MVULA described  the lack of proper markets where  they could sell their  farm produce as a challenging factor saying they are being offered low purchase terms.

However, Mvula who belongs to Khama Lipindula of Chididi mission ,under group village head man Mkhutche traditional authority  Malemia  in Nsanje district, thanked WALA  for organizing a marketing fair which  would enable them to interact with buyers and negotiate business opportunities hence provide a welcome and effective form of linking farmers to markets.

53 marketing cluster groups turned up for the show and some of them are phalamanga zatonse, tilimbike etc.  The project  was established in the year  2009 and is being  implemented by consortium of 8 nongovernmental organizations(NGO’s)led by catholic relief services(CRS)as the grant holder working in corroboration with organizations such as Africare,Chikhwawa catholic diocese Emanuel International, project concern international, save the children ,Total Land Care and world vision with funding from USAID which is to the tune of £17 million  for five years. The project in Malawi is being implemented in the districts of Balaka,Nsanje,Machinga,Zomba,Chiradzulu,Thyolo,Chikhwawa and Mulanje

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