On February 2 and 3, 2023, at the request of malawian partner farmer organizations, Fert organized a workshop to develop a price schedule for the main crop productions.
Fert started its activities in Malawi at the beginning of 2022, in partnership with 8 local producer organizations, in the Mzimba district, in the north of Malawi. For the first year, the support focused on the technical aspects of the different animal and vegetable productions practiced by the farmers (pig, goat, chicken, dairy cow, maize, groundnut, dry bean, soybean, tomato, potato). Three agricultural advisors conducted training sessions, accompanied the establishment and monitoring of demonstration plots, facilitated exchange visits and conducted individual visits to the farms.
The origin of the idea
The idea of producing a price calendar came about during the visit of a Malawian delegation to Ivory Coast for the Fert International Meetings in October 2022. A farmer from the Mzimba North district, accompanied by two advisors, met with their peers from Ivory Coast, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Madagascar, Tunisia and France for a week. The Ivorian market gardeners presented the price calendar that they developed with the support of the Fert team in Ivory Coast.
Back in Malawi, during the feedback sessions with the 8 FOs, the producers expressed the wish to conduct the same exercise, in order to have a more “business-like” approach to their farms: “From now on, we have to produce according to the market and not only produce to sell later“, explains a producer.
The development of calendars
The FOs met on February 2, 2023 in Mzuzu, the capital of the northern region, to share their village prices. Prior to the workshop, the Fert team asked FOs to collect the prices observed on their market from January to December 2022, specifying the units of measurement. On the day of the workshop, given the diversity of prices observed in different areas, two calendars were produced:
- A calendar by FO with the main crop productions marketed,
- A summary calendar showing the price ranges observed for all 8 FOs.
The producers were given all the printed calendars to share with the other members.
The use of the calendar
“This calendar is very helpful. Last year, I produced tomatoes in November when prices were very low (5,000 kwacha per tub). I did not make a profit. This year, thanks to this calendar, I will be able to plan my tomato production to harvest when prices are at their highest (30,000 kwacha per basin), that is, in January and February.
On the second day of the workshop, FOs presented their 2023 action plans and price calendars to the agriculture officers to strengthen collaboration in the field. A whatsapp group was also created to extend the exchanges on activities and prices in the different localities. A few days after this workshop, a supermarket in Mzuzu contacted Fert to find out if producers could deliver fresh produce all year round. The calendar will certainly be very useful for negotiating prices.