By Vincent Khonje
KASUNGU-(MANA)-After being duped by vendors for a long time, smallholder farmers especially women and the youth in Kasungu’s Traditional Authority (T.A) Lukwa are yearning for establishment of certified cooperatives.
According to Trouble Kantogo who is chairperson of youth group called Mwayiwathu from TA Lukwa, most of the times vendors have been exploiting them because they used to sell their farm produce as individuals.
What we want is to come together and become a registered cooperative which will be able to sell our agricultural produce at better markets and at better prices, said Kantogo.
Concurring with Kantogo, Doreen Banda from Chingamba village in the same area said women in the area have found it difficult to sell their hard earned crops because vendors offer low prices.
When the vendors come the prices are just too low so it can be better if we come together and form a cooperative that is registered a thing which will enable us sell at good prices, said Banda.
In order to make sure the groups are organized into fully registered cooperatives, Circle for Integrated Community Development (CICOD) through a project called Kasungu Youth and Women in Agribusiness wants to help the groups to become registered cooperative and achieve more.
CICODs programme manager Edward Thole said from 2017 the organisation has been supporting groups from Chingamba and Mphungu in Traditional Authority (T.A) Lukwa on what they can do to become a well registered cooperative.
What is happening now is that facilitators from Ministry of Trade are training the groups and once they do well they will become fully fledged cooperative which will enable them supply large quantities of crops and sell to big companies at better prices, said Thole.
The project is supported by Irish Aid through Oxfam.