women lead farmers learning FMS model at Mzuzu market

MZUZU-(MaraviPost)-The country’s Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONEC) is emphasizing the need for small scale farmers to adopt marketing models that accommodates their produces for maximum profits.


The advocacy for notion dubbed as Farmers Market School (FMS) comes amid stunning effects of climate change that reduces produces.


FMS model which is to distinguish it from the two models with related names – farmer Field Schools and Farmer Business Schools


The model builds on experiential learning and targets a mind-set change of farmers to recognize themselves as entrepreneurs and investors.


It is also desire to increase income by taking advantage of market opportunities requires farmers to become better decision-makers and better at competing in this new environment.


With funding from NEPAD, CISONECC is piloting the Gender Climate Change Agriculture (GCCASP) program  in two agricultural Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) Ntchenachena and Chiweta in Rumphi district for six months targeting women groups.


Addressing the two day Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop in Mzuzu on Friday, CISONECC National Coordinator Julius Ng’oma said the model is being champion for farmers to effectively respond to present day farming challenges including dry spells and drought due to effects of climate change.


Ng’oma observed that with FMS small scale farmers are assured of potential markets for the produces.


“Smallholder farmers’ growing engagement with the market is a key precondition for increased income to farmer household and for agriculture based economic growth. But most often farmers – especially smallholder farmers – remain at the fringes of the market.


“They are not included in the value chains for their commodities as conscious actors, but – if at all – they are perceived as merely an economic factor. Typically, farmers do not know much more about the value chains than the first link they meet, which is often the middleman – much hated and demonized by the farmers, who feel that they get too low prices for what they produce”, observed Ng’oma


He adds, “But, to be engaged with the market requires much more than just removing the middleman, actually not necessarily a good idea, because the middleman has a function in the value chain by bringing goods from A to B, without which the chain would not function. The farmer needs market skills, must be market ready, before s/he can maneuver and benefit from what the market offers.


“These skills can be learned, and with those skills the farmer can start treating farming as a business.We call this a Farmer Market School to distinguish it from the two models with related names – farmer Field Schools and Farmer Business Schools”, he explained.

Chimwemwe Grace Kussein, Principal Gender and Development Officer in the Ministry of Gender lauded CISONECC for timely intervention with the model that will empower women economic skills.

women lead farmers after being trained on FMS Model

The ToT workshop attracted over 35 participants drawn from government officials, women lead farmers, media among others.

In the middle of training participants had to visit Mzuzu central market to appreciate the practical aspect of FMS model.