The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) says the continent can create a conducive business environment to increase profits if it strengthens agricultural input and output markets for smallholder farmers.
Speaking at the launch of strengthening agricultural inputs and outputs markets in Africa (Saioma) in Lilongwe yesterday, Agra director of markets access programme Anne Mbaabu said smallholder farmers have lost control of their produce and are no longer making profits.
“Smallholder farmers are failing to leverage their masses to get good prices for their produce, they lose a substantial amount of their produce due to post harvest losses and farmer groups fail to achieve sustained growth due to lack of business capacities, linkages with suppliers, financial institutions and produce buyers,” she said.
According to Mbaabu, the project, which is being done in three southern African countries, is being supported by Usaid, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Swedish government.
In Malawi, the project implementing partners include the Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ACE), Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM), National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi, (Nasfam) and Rural Market Development Trust (Rumark).
“The Saioma initiative is timely because it addresses a felt need in the agriculture value chain; that of ensuring that farmers have access to inputs to raise their productivity and are facilitated to sell their produce profitably to increase their overall earnings from improved agricultural practices. It is a win-win for all partners involved,” she said.