Project ‘Strengthening Farmer Organisations and Rural Structured Trade Mechanisms in Malawi’ (2014)

Project: ‘Strengthening Farmer Organisations and Rural Structured Trade Mechanisms in Malawi’

Beneficiary: World Food Programme

Duration: 2014-2018

Budget: 2.999.140,62€

The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Agricultural Commodity Exchange for Africa (ACE) join forces to implement this project.

In 2009 the WFP launched the Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme to help smallholder farmers and their organisations gain access to the WFP market by linking WFP’s demand for basic food to the supply of smallholder farmers. Through this programme the WFP not only creates a market for farmers, but also supports them in improving the quality of their products.

The P4P programme aims to transform farmer organisations into independent and self-sufficient companies by providing training in production and storage management, quality control, production techniques, organisational control and strategic management, pricing, contract negotiation, accounting, etc. This results in higher productivity and better quality products. As a result, farmers cannot just sell their produce to the WFP, but also gain access to other commercial markets, which causes their proceeds to rise. Farmer organisations thus become fully fledged competitive players on the market and profitable organisations.

The WFP strategy is supported by ACE’s structured trade mechanisms.  ACE is a non-profitmaking organisation which was established in 2004. It promotes trade in agricultural products and tries to link farmers to markets. ACE provides a solution for a number of serious obstacles to the commercialisation of agriculture in Malawi. By disseminating market information, collecting agricultural products to sell them in bulk, setting up the necessary market infrastructure and organising live auctions ACE meets crucial needs of emerging smallholder farmers.

In this project both organisations use their expertise to the best possible extent to strengthen the position of smallholder farmers on the market and to make optimal use of the capacity of farmer organisations in order to allow these organisations to act autonomously.  The Malawi government supports this system and has started to develop a legal framework, which will raise the confidence of the different actors and further encourage the application of this system.

The project is targeted on smallholder farmer organisations in Malawi with little or no access to formal agricultural markets. In the next four years the project will try to reach 50 farmer organisations (or 50,000 farmers) in 10 districts throughout the country, with special focus on the northern areas. The farmer organisations should have at least 40% female members. The programme started in July 2014 and lasts four years. A financial contribution of EUR 2,999,140.62 is requested. This amount is split in two and managed separately by both organisations. EUR 1,513,734 is granted to ACE and EUR 1,485,406.62 to WFP.