By Frank kadzakumanja

Experience in Africa has shown that it has always been a challenge for farmers to know the right prices for commodities hence they always sell their produce soon after harvest at a very low price. On 23rd July, 2012 Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ACE) organized a two day training course on price information for 13 enumerators from Chiradzulu, Nsanje, Bangula, Namwera, Ntaja, Muloza, Mwanza, Neno, Nkhotakota, Salima, Luchenza, Chikhwawa and Balaka at its head office in Lilongwe. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy of many African countries including Malawi as nearly 85 percent of its population derives livelihood from agriculture and if farmers know the right price, they are able to sell at a higher price and increase their profit which in turn improves their personal income.  With new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) development taking place, it is now key for agricultural institutions to provide up to date knowledge and information about agricultural technologies, markets, price trends and consumer preferences. 

  P1080540       Principal Advisor for ACE K.Moller giving his speech                                                                       

P1080561 Enumerators group photo with their trainer R.Sibande(Deputy Chief of Party-Market Linkages  Initiative) and E.Chamgwera(Trade Facilitation Manager-ACE)                                  

                           

The objective of the training was to equip enumerators with knowledge and skill to collect market prices from different markets using the esoko technology on mobile phones. Speaking during the training, deputy chief of party for Market Linkages Initiative (MLI) Rachel Sibande said that this technology will help farmers make well informed decisions about when to sell their commodities and when to buy at a reasonable price. Among other things, Enumerators were asked to do role plays on how they would sell the value proposition of Esoko and sign up a trader or smallholder farmer onto Esoko to receive price alerts. After the training, Agriculture commodity Exchange (ACE) principal advisor Kristian Schach Moller presented certificates of attendance to the enumerators and encouraged them to do the good job of obtaining prices so that farmers make better decisions as regards to when or where to sell or buy their commodities.