SPEAR Markets Project
Kadale is working alongside United Purpose (UP), and CUMO Microfinance to implement the Sustainable Production, Economic growth, Accountability and Resilience (SPEAR) project in Dedza District funded by the Embassy of Ireland in Malawi for an initial year up to 31st December 2022:
Following on from its successful roles in the Malawi Oilseed Sector Transformation (MOST) project and PROSPER Markets, both funded by DFID/FCDO and achieving the highest A++ rating, Kadale commenced work on the Sustainable Production, Economic growth, Accountability and Resilience (SPEAR) project funded by the Embassy of Ireland in Malawi for an initial year up to 31st December 2022. SPEAR contributes towards the Government of Malawi’s agricultural productivity and commercialisation objectives, under its Vision 2063 for Malawi to become a self-reliant Nation.
Kadale is working alongside United Purpose (UP), and CUMO Microfinance to implement this project which aims to improve food security and production and improve livelihoods and income security for those most vulnerable to climate change.
The impact Area is Dedza District, specifically in Traditional Authorities (TAs) Kaphuka and Chauma and nine peri-urban areas namely; Mtakataka, Golomoti, Bembeke, Dedza Boma, Linthipe 1, Chimbiya, Mayani, Thete, and Lobi. SPEAR is targeting 35,000 households, five Cooperatives and 20 productive groups with 5,200 members.
Kadale is focusing on market linkages and improving market systems, working with crop buyers, farm input suppliers, contract farming businesses, farming co-operatives and organisations, solar and cookstove agents/promoters and bodies responsible for economic development.
Kadale’s aim is to improve market linkages for the supply of farm inputs, such as seed, crop-protection products, fertilisers, inoculants and animal health products, as well as for farming and small-scale production equipment such as irrigation, land preparation, post-harvest and processing machinery.
Dedza’s First Irrigation and Winter Cropping Expo, 12-13th April
Kadale organised Dedza District’s first Irrigation and Winter Cropping Expo on 12 -13th April 2022 in Dedza Boma.
A total of 23 organisations had stands at the event, including eight irrigation and water pump equipment suppliers:
Nyasa Food Processing
Ten crop input suppliers:
Mgomera Seed Investments
Four financial institutions:
In addition, the United Purpose SPEAR team participated to demonstrate climate smart agricultural techniques and solar and cookstove products.
The event attracted a high level of attendance by farmers and business people, who were able to see irrigation and other equipment being demonstrated, and to buy farm inputs, many of which are not readily available in the District. Kadale’s aim is both to promote sales at the events, and to encourage businesses to see the opportunities in the District and improve their distribution arrangements, such as through agro-dealers. We are also seeking to improve the flow of finance for farmers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The event was promoted by the Kadale team to agro-dealers and business people in advance through personal visits to key organisations, such as farmer co-operatives and agro-dealers, as well as through radio adverts, banners and flyers. Attendance was high and most exhibitors reported making both sales and good contacts for follow ups.
There will be more Expo events, including in selected Trading Centres and a major crop input fair for the main planting season towards the end of the year. Kadale is also working to promote animal health and crop services, such as spraying services.
Lobi And Chimbiya Irrigation And Winter Cropping EXPO 24th & 25th May 2022
The SPEAR Markets team conducted irrigation and winter cropping expos at Lobi and Chimbiya trading centers on the 24th and 25th May 2022 respectively, during market days at these centres. A total of 12 organisations participated in the two days. The companies included four irrigation and water pump companies (FES, Camco, Hydro Pump House, & ATC), five input companies (Osho, Seedco, Mgomera, Yara, & Mandolo), ACE, UP and CUMO. Farmers had a chance to buy different inputs, appreciate irrigation equipment and to access financial information.
A random survey conducted showed most companies were very satisfied with the expos and the attendance of the farmers, especially at the Lobi market. Some companies sold more inputs than expected and others sold the post-harvest items.
Some companies conducted promotions where farmers were given caps, umbrellas, and extra seed and agroz empty sacks once they made a purchase.
Linking farmers to market and support facilities
As one of the main roles of the Kadale Consultants team in the SPEAR Programme is focusing on market linkages, the programme also links farmers to possible markets for their produce and connecting them to agricultural input and equipment suppliers.
In fulfilling this role, Kadale introduced Peter Mawindo of P. Mawindo Enterprises, a farmer and major agro-dealer in Dedza, to Arc Welding and Engineering, an agricultural equipment manufacturing company in Lilongwe and CUMO Microfinance. Kadale also facilitated his successful applying for a small enterprise loan at CUMO. Through that,Mr. Mawindo bought two manual groundnut shelling machines that he plans to use for shelling his own groundnut harvest and to run it as a shelling service business around Thete and Lobi. He sees the potential to quickly earn a return to more than pay for the shellers. Mr Mawindo collected the equipment from Kanengo on 8th June 2022.
“I’m very confident that this investment will be profitable. If the shellers work as I expect, I will be getting more groundnut shelling machines and other agricultural equipment”, the proud farmer and agro-dealer commented on his purchase.
Improving farmer access to sprayers to increase productivity
Through a market assessment, the SPEAR Markets team identified the lack of sprayers as a key factor in poor productivity and quality for crop production in Dedza. Farmers were applying chemicals by hand with brushes, cloths and even plastic bottles with holes made in them. This is unsafe, as well as being wasteful and ineffective compared to application by sprayers. Some farmers had cheap ‘Chinese’ sprayers, but these had mostly broken very quickly. Without timely and effective application of genuine safe agro-chemicals, crops suffer considerable pest and disease damage in a sub-tropical environment, such as from Fall Army Work.
While farmers are aware of better-quality sprayers, these are too expensive for farmers to afford out right (typically around US $70-80), hence relying on hand application or buying cheaper, poor quality, sprayers.
To address this, the SPEAR Markets team discussed with several reputable sprayer and agro-chemical suppliers to undertake training in safe, timely, effective, and efficient use of agro-chemicals, as well as how to use, clean and maintain sprayers. Osho Chemicals Malawi Ltd, a leading distributor of agrochemicals, plant health products, public health products and spraying equipment, was willing to provide the training, as well as provide high-quality and reliable Jacto sprayers at trade prices. Kadale worked with CUMO Microfinance on an asset finance loan model, where the sprayer acted as the collateral, with the farmers paying an upfront deposit and SPEAR Markets providing a small subsidy which together covered around 20-25% of the price of the sprayer. With the assistance of the UP team, a partner in SPEAR, the SPEAR Markets team was able to link farmers from Kasandama, Mwasadzu and Chigumukile Irrigation schemes to Osho for training and supply of sprayers, with credit from CUMO.
Over 200 farmers were trained in the safe and effective use of agro-chemicals, with a smaller group trained in sprayers (farmers opted for this as long as they could find the deposit). An initial group of 22 farmers obtained Jacto HD 400 sprayers, 4 paying cash while 18 obtained loans. Osho delivered the sprayers on 20th July 2022 and the farmers were very pleased to access them. Osho was also pleased to have received such a large order at one time, with payment made direct to them by Kadale and CUMO, removing them of having to collect payments over time. Subsequently, a further 13 sprayers have been ordered and delivered.
Some of the sprayers have been bought by the schemes to share between members, and others by farmers for their own fields and for renting/hiring out to other farmers.
The intention is to continue with this asset-based finance model for sprayers, and potentially other equipment, as a means to improve access to productivity-enhancing equipment.