Crop Husbandry Key to Better Profit Margins

By Chipi Kantikana

The Agricultural Commodity Exchange for Africa (ACE) has been in agricultural commodity trade for almost eight years. In the early days,ACE services were mostly accessed by large traders and other big organizations. In recent years, however, the scale has started to shift towards small holder farmers.

Subsequently,ACE has embarked on a big sensitization campaign to inform small holder farmers about the opportunities they can access through its services.

Good Commodity, Better Price

Oftentimes small holder farmers' commodities fail to receive good prices because of their low volumes or poor quality.

For that reason,ACE has lined up a number of farmer field days under the theme Good Commodity, Good Price. The field day activities have been designed to impart knowledge to the farmers on how quality of the commodity has to be maintained from the field to the warehouse.

Small holder farmers have realized the importance of accessing reliable market information and using warehouses for aggregation in order to obtain better profit margins on their commodities.

Guest Share their views at a farmer Field day in Lilongwe

During the Farmers Field day held in Lilongwe on the 16th of April 2013, the Lilongwe District Agricultural Development Officer (DADO) lamented that farmers have not fully cooperated with the Ministry of Agriculture by adopting modern farming practices endorsed. These could improve the quality of their commodities. He advised the farmers to take the lessons learnt more seriously.

 IMAG0857  DADO for Lilongwe stressing a point to farmers                                                                       

IMAG0834Farmer Registration                              

Senior chiefs, including Traditional Authority (TA) Kalumbu, also attended the event. Kalumbu, thankful to ACE for the services it is providing to small holder farmers, indicated that while most other organizations simply assist farmers in the fields,ACEhas come forward to help farmers market their commodities. He pointed out that in their endeavors to find better markets farmers have lost their commodities to bogus buyers. The information about the services provided, in his view, could not have come at a better time as farmers were just about to finish harvesting.

Senior attendees also noted that the warehouse receipt system, a key service offered byACE, could not only help improve food security in the area, but it could also help the farmers access the much needed loans or farm inputs.

ACE Trade Facilitation Manager Chipiliro Kantikana assured all attendees at the gathering that ACE will continue to sensitize farmers about its services to help them evaluate their marketing options and realize better profit margins. He also thanked USAID for the financial support provided to ACE and its sensitization activities through its Market Linkages Initiative.

Another field day has been scheduled for Kafulu, Dowa at the end of April 2013.