Support from the national extension service
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CTA. 2002. Support from the national extension service. Rural Radio Resource Pack 02/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57347
Can agricultural extension services have a role in helping farmers with marketing? In Cameroon the answer is ?Yes?. A government marketing adviser describes the methods he uses to link farmers to buyers, and make their products more marketable.
Support from the national extension service CUE: Agricultural extension services have traditionally focussed on crop production methods, for example training farmers in how to boost soil fertility, protect their land from erosion or grow new crop varieties. But for many farmers the difficulties of selling their produce can be even greater than producing it in the first place; in particular, farmers in remote areas face high transport costs and as a result struggle to compete with those who live close to towns and cities. Communicating with potential buyers can also be difficult; telephone services may be unreliable and travelling to meet buyers can be very time-consuming and costly. How then can farmers overcome these problems? Is there anything that government extension services can do to help them? In Cameroon the answer is ?Yes?. Martha Chindong spoke to Basaguel Samuel, an extension worker who specialises in helping farmers to market their produce. IN: ?We are in Nyong et Kelle ? OUT: ? he will do it.? DUR?N 4?23? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Basaguel Samuel of Cameroon?s National Agricultural Extension and Research Programme. Transcript Chindong We are in Nyong et Kelle Division in the Central Province of Cameroon. In this division you find a lot of cassava, oil palm, cocoa growing in the fields. These crops are the farmers? only source of income. Hence the farmer must find a market. That is why the National Agricultural Extension and Research Programme has specialised technicians that can help farmers to market their produce, and market it well. Mr. Basaguel Samuel is one of these specialised technicians, who helps farmers in the area of marketing. He is right here with us, and he will tell us exactly what he does. The market strategies he has developed for the small-scale farmers. Samuel I want to say that the marketing strategy depends on the product. Let?s take some examples. The marketing strategy we developed with cassava is that the producer have their product, they process this cassava into flour, also ?gari? and biscuit. So what I have to do is to take some samples of the product, already processed, and present these samples to people, during a meeting like the one we are attending today, and try to convince people that cassava biscuit is no different from the biscuit made with wheat flour. The marketing strategy we developed with cocoa is quite different. What we do is to go to buyers and tell them that on a very special day per week, per month, they have a market where producers take their product, buyers come, and the one who gets the product is the one who offers the highest price. So there is a small competition between buyers and it is good for the producer. The marketing strategy we have developed also with plantain, is quite different. We go to the market, identify buy-and-sellers, and tell them that in a special area, producers can offer, let?s say 1000 bunches of bananas, and convince people that they can go there and buy at the lowest price, and go to Yaound‚ and sell at the very highest price. The two of them, the buyers and the producers, what we have to do is to put them into contact and they negotiate together. Chindong Now how do you know where to find these buyers? Samuel We have also a market strategy. We go to people and ask them what are their needs. Maybe we go to Yaound‚ and know that there are people there who need banana. We go to NCA- that is an organisation in Cameroon dealing with cocoa - we go there and try to identify people who need cocoa, and put them into contact with producers. Chindong You may seek people who need the produce, but if the produce is not attractive they may not offer good prices. How do you help farmers to make their produce attractive? Samuel As far as cassava is concerned, we ask them not to sell as a raw material; to process first of all into biscuit. And we know exactly that the biscuit product is not all over the area, all over the province. So that is one way of making the product attractive. Chindong The farmers have this problem of transportation. Samuel Yes, it is a big problem. And all the producers have the same problem all over developing countries. Sometimes producers are far away from the area where they can market the product, and so when people go there to buy products it?s cheaper. And also when they have to transport those products to market it?s also a cost added. Chindong How are you helping them to go about this problem? Samuel I can?t do anything about transportation. But what I try to do is to reinforce their capacity of production. When they produce so good and so much, so the buyers need products, so they have to go all over where the product is. And when the product is good and cheap, when the buyer can make a good profit, he will do it. End of track.