Pigeon peas farmers in Mwanza have been advised to secure markets before growing the crop.
Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) gave the advice last week during a four-day business management training in Mwanza.
The training was organised under Mwanza Pigeon Peas Market Development Project with funding from Department for International Development (DfID) of the United Kingdom government through Christian Aid to enhance proper accounting of proceeds and understand market behaviour.
An official from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Hetherwick Msamadya, said securing markets before growing the crop will help farmers to bargain for better prices.
He said: “If farmers find a buyer right now, vendors will have no chance, which helps them to earn a lot. It is high time farmers undertook farming business professionally to improve their livelihoods.”
Msamadya said the training helped farmers realise that despite selling the crop at K330 per kilogramme this year, they did not register losses.
“Farmers complained of low prices this year, but the training helped them to sell their crop at break-even price. They are also aware of readily available capital in their communities that brought smiles on their faces,” he said.
One participant, Lloyd Luka, of Chibambo Village in Traditional Authority Nthache in the district, commended EAM for the training, saying it has empowered them to face buyers and manage their businesses.
EAM project officer Amos Bandawe urged participants to implement the lessons as cooperatives are business-oriented.
“We believe farmers should take responsibility in running the business for sustainability of implemented structures and understand market behaviour,” he said.
Some of the topics during the training included record keeping, gross margin analysis, market research and farm and its resources.