Knowing where and when to sell
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CTA. 2008. Knowing where and when to sell. Rural Radio Resource Pack 08/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57226
Importance of having market information, and how being a member of a group can help in getting it
Knowing where and when to sell Cue: For farmers, knowing where and when to sell their crops is one of the most difficult challenges. If they have no knowledge of current market prices, they can easily be exploited. But gathering information about markets may not be easy, especially for people living in very remote areas. So is there anywhere they can get help? According to Fred Frimpong, agricultural coordinator for the Millennium Villages project in Ghana, one answer may lie in teaming up with other farmers. In an interview with Kofi Adu Domfeh, Mr Frimpong began by explaining why having information about market prices is so important. IN: ?The whole idea is about knowing ? OUT: ? which they will get more.? DUR?N: 4?49? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Fred Frimpong of the Millennium Villages Project in Ghana. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Frimpong The whole idea is about knowing where you get the right prices for your produce and selling at the right time. So there should be a means of basing your decisions on certain bits of information. What is the price on the market like? How much is it being sold for, per mini-bag, per maxi-bag? Is that the price I want? Looking at the investment I made, will I make any profits if I sell at that rate? You know farmers should be able to make all these decisions and it is based on the market research information that is available to them, that they can make these decisions. So that we look at agriculture from a more business angle, rather than as something we are just doing to occupy ourselves. Domfeh In general terms, how important is market research to cash crop farmers? Frimpong In fact, if we were able to take care of marketing of foodstuffs, and undertake the right market research in the country, I guess half of the problems of farmers would be solved. The problem is not increasing production. Even with our subsistence tools, like the hoes and cutlasses, farmers are willing to go all out, till the land and get a lot of output. They have no problem with that. Their problem is what to do with their produce. So there is no way any of us can underestimate the important role that market research plays in this direction, because if we are doing all we can to ensure that they produce and produce more, high quality and store well, and they can?t market, virtually we have defeated the entire purpose. So it is very important that market research is undertaken. Domfeh Do you think farmers always have to visit several markets at different times, observing what people are selling and buying and talking to people in a bid to actually obtain market information? Frimpong Not necessarily. You see we are looking forward to the day when farmers will be well organised, so that through the cooperative departments, the cooperative officers at the district level, they can link up with markets and do the market research. You know farming is a time-bound activity. You have to undertake certain field activities during certain times of the year. If you miss that you have problems with the yield. So usually farmers don?t have time to go out to the market and do the kind of research that you are talking about. That would have been the ideal, but there are so many constraints. So if they are in cooperatives, and they have the market research unit within the cooperative, then that unit can take care of the market research and then the others can concentrate on production. So yes, that survey would be important, but it shouldn?t be the headache of every individual farmer. Domfeh How then do they find out the best places to sell their crops and make contacts with those potential buyers? Frimpong What we do is we go, scout for buyers for them, and then we link them up. There is another key thing that we are doing. We don?t want a situation where farmers will be dealing with wholesalers and people who come to buy their foodstuffs on an individual basis. So we are also encouraging farmers to form cooperatives, so that they can negotiate for inputs as a group, and also negotiate, bargain on market terms as a group. They will have a stronger bargaining power when they are together. So that is another key thing that we are doing. Even as we link them up with markets, we are also putting the farmers into strong cooperatives. Domfeh Value addition to cash crop produce is very important, but how does the farmer undertake this in a cost effective way, while also maintaining quality of the yield? Frimpong If farmers come together they can source loans and access funds; then they can get more into processing. So value addition is very important. In fact if farmers have the capacity to add value to whatever they produce, then post-harvest losses wouldn?t be a headache. You know, farming is a capital intensive business, so at the end of the season the farmer has a lot of debts to clear. So all most farmers are interested in is to sell off whatever they have so they can take care of their household, and pay off whatever debts they have. That?s a huge challenge. So I guess that if we are able to build them to a level where certain basic needs are taken care of, they wouldn?t mind taking their time to get into value addition of their products, processing them into second class products, before going ahead to sell, which they will get more. End of track.