Farmers in Mozambique’s Zambezi Province are getting viable prices for their produce after aggregating it under formal farmer organizations that have facilitated access to viable markets.
OKLAMIHERA, an association founded by Adventist Development and Relief Agency
(ADRA), an Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) grantee, has trained smallholder farmers on aggregation, enabling them to bulk their produce, enabling farmers to negotiate of better prices for their crops on the market.
At the same time, OKLAMIHERA has helped farmers organize themselves into formal associations that have power to negotiate for better producer prices on the market.
“We have learned through ADRA training how to register and organize ourselves into groups,” says Angelo Tulaso, President of OKLAMIHERA.
He noted that organizing producers into groups has an advantage to empower farmers to negotiate for better prices in the market.
AGRA helped 92,000 smallholder farmers access agricultural markets where they have sold more than 42,000 MT of grain worth $14 million. The volume sold by farmers was aggregated by 75 centers which AGRA supported with grain-handling tools and training in post-harvest management.
“Before the ADRA training we marketed and sold our produce as individuals, today we know how to aggregate our products, probe the merchant and only accept the price that compensates our work,” Tulasso said.
The group has 1,285 members the majority of which are women working on 1,680 hectares of land.
The training through demonstration camps is important for smallholder farmers as it brings them together as a group of producers to speak with one voice and negotiate for fair prices for their produce.
On the other hand Tulaso said his association was working on widen its coverage of agricultural extension services, which is being hampered by lack of adequate transport to reach remotely located farmers.
The association received three motorbikes from ADRA to support its reach of 1,000 producers on more than 1,600 hectares of land.
Farmers are not able to access high quality seed as they are expensive. A kilo of improved seed costs $1.50 (100 meticais) that a farmer can use to plant only one hectare.
To further assist farmers the association is seeking a micro-lending institution that can provide micro-lending to farmers for inputs and farmers will make repayments upon the sale of their harvest.
The AGRA initiative supports the development of viable markets for farmers, which enables them to make informed decisions on crops to grow and corresponding investments in improved inputs and post-harvest handling.