ACE organizes Farmer Field Day in Balaka

By Frank Kadzakumanja

On 15th March, 2013 Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ACE) in collaboration with Market Linkages Initiative Bridging Activity (MLI BA) organized a farmer field day at Livilivi EPA, Traditional Authority Msamala in Balaka district under the theme "better commodity, better prices". The farmer field day attracted participants from the government sector, private sector, village clubs and other N.G.O.'s.

Among activities on the field day, were demonstrations where explanations were made as to how crops are looked after from the field up to the village aggregation centers (VAC's).

Farmer field day presenters took turns to explain procedures of drying, sieving, bagging and pest control.  

Wh Mgr Aceofficial FD Participants                             

  Balaka  Mgr L.Maluwa talking about storage        ACE official talking about WRS                            Participants listening to the presentations                                                         











Speaking at the function, The guest of honor from the ministry of Agriculture, Mr Shadreck Mafuwelo who is the Crop Inspection Officer said that he was very pleased with the initiative of ACE and MLI in ensuring that commodity that is aggregated at Village Aggregation Centers (VAC's) and Grain Bulking Centers (GBC's) is of good quality. "Linking of the VAC and GBC to the warehouse receipt system is vital as this ensures farmers to have a chance to professionally store their commodity and wait to sell later when prices are higher". He said

Also speaking at the function, MLI BA Chief of party, Rachel Sibande said the amount of post harvest losses in the country is worrisome ,hence the need to take caution to ensure that crop harvested is well taken care of. Sibande said that smallholder farmers contribute a lot to Malawi's economy and it is important that they deposit their commodities in ACE certified warehouses to avoid being swindled by traders during peak periods.

Speaking on behalf of Agriculture Commodity Exchange (ACE), The Structured Trade Officer, Mr Frank Kadzakumanja said that by depositing their commodities in ACE certified warehouses, small holder farmers are assured of not only access to better storage and linkage to markets but also access to finance using their commodity as collateral." Farmers under warehouse receipt system (WRS) also have a chance to obtain inputs like seed and fertilizer while they wait for higher prices later in the season. As a commodity exchange, our goal  is  to  create  an  efficient  and  transparent  marketing system  for  agricultural commodities  so that  transaction  costs  and  risks are minimized. " he said.

In a bid to reach out to more farmers this planting season, ACE plans to extend operations to include 12 new storage sites.