Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Farmers advised to form marketing groups for better market prices

For a long period, farmers  within Nguruman irrigation scheme have been selling their farm produce to middle men who offer low prices for their produce. This has been a recurring occurance for quite a long time and this has drawn attention of stakeholders working around Nguruman probing intervention of Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA). 

Joint efforts between ministry of Agriculture officers (MOA) and ALIN staff came as a wake up call to farmers who showed interest to have access to better marketing strategies. A meeting was then called to identify brokers and on-farm buyers who were given a notice present their business licence to HCDA staff for verification. the news came as a relief to farmers as they were taken through gross margin analysis.

Farmers being taken through gross margin analysis Exercise at MOA grounds. Photo by Samuel Nzioka
The exercise was participatory and farmers were divided in groups according to the crop they produce where they discussed the cost of all inputs divide by the total production per acreage. The costs gave them the least buying price they should accept for their farm produce. To their surprise, they found out that they had been selling their produce at a loss. For instance, the cost of producing one carton of okra (Asian vegetable) was Kshs 128.00 and they have been selling a carton at Ksh, 100 or even sometimes at 80.00.

Divisional Agricultural Extension Officer (DAEO) Mr. Bainito Atonya advised the farmers to form marketing groups which will sign a contract with the exporters and supervised by MOA and HCDA to ensure that terms of the contract are not breached. Farmers were also advised to abide to the terms by ensuring they produce as per the agreement. The MOA and HCDA agreed to impose tough sanctions to brokers and exporters who will be found exploiting farmers an offence that will mean cancellation of their licence.

Addressing the meeting, the DAEO encouraged the farmers to make use of information material available at the Maarifa in order to embrace modern technology and learn the best practices other farmers are using in other parts of the world.  

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