Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM), an umbrella body of farmer organisations in Malawi, says it is developing a database for farmer organisations with the aim of having a sustainable system.
FUM chief executive officer Prince Kapondamgaga disclosed this in Mzuzu yesterday during a two-day workshop for agri-business officers from the Northern Region, who were trained in data collection and database management.
The workshop was organised by FUM, National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (Nasfam) and Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Muscco) with support from the European Union.
Kapondamgaga said the formulation of the database will begin with identifying and registering functional, credible and operational farmer organisations across the country.
“We need to know the number of farmer organisations in the country, where they are found and their needs. This will help in planning for various activities,” he said.
He said the registered farmer organisations will be of benefit to individual farmers because this will increase their bargaining powers, reduce individual costs and increase their profits when transacting business.
“It will also be easy for them to get loans from banks because the group will act as collateral,” he added.
Muscco chief executive Sylvester Kadzola said Muscco joined the consortium for the purpose of empowering the smallholder farmers financially.
“Most of our clients, who are farmers, need easy access to loans if agricultural sustainability is to be achieved. So, we thought of joining the consortium for the farmers to access loans easily,” he said.
“Apart from giving out loans, we are also building the capacity of farmers in financial management,” he added.
The workshop was the first of the other two to be organised in Blantyre and Lilongwe.