Malawi: 'this little piggy went to the market'
3 September 2010
Although demand for pork in Malawi has recently increased significantly, much of this requirement has been met by importing animals from South Africa.
A new film on pig marketing (see right-hand column) produced by RIU Malawi
starts to explain why this is case. After all, pig rearing is widespread in Malawi and numerous project-based interventions have encouraged a rapid increase in the production and availability of improved breeds. However, whilst such projects may have addressed perceived management and genetic problems, they have not been able to establish the stable market that would take local pig rearing beyond sustenance production.
Brokering efforts by RIU Malawi, using an innovation platform mechanism, have started to transform the sector. RIU have made links and had negotiation among key public, private and civil society stakeholders in the pork value chain is solving some of the sector's most 'pig-headed' issues.
As a result a constant local supply of quality pigs is being provided to processors and consumers through the establishment of decentralized pig marketing structures.
Much of the hard work of RIU Malawi focussed on getting people together who don't normally interact. This was achieved through group facilitation and one-to-one meetings to analyse sector issues and to discover the incentives that would create trust and coherence among these diverse groupings. The brokering activities that led to the establishment of these decentralized pig marketing structures involved:
- negotiations of quality requirements and sales contracts between producers and buyers
- public health and food safety policy advocacy
- the facilitation of training of pig farmer associations in business management and marketing
- the provision of grant funds and technical coordination to the livestock platform for construction of formalized pig market structures.
The platform mechanism also gave people in the sector the opportunity to review and plan the activities and construction of decentralized pig markets. The platform has continues to provide an evolving forum that allows a broad range of interested people, both 'new and old', to share experiences and lessons and to explore sector opportunities and challenges.
The active participation of meat processing companies in establishing new marketing structures gave confidence to many individual pig farmers. Other platform members are teaming up to become pig buyers due to the promising market prospects. This capacity-building has also attracted funding from other donors; for example, in the supply of basic processing and cold storage facilities to enable the servicing of a larger range of clients.
Whilst the situation in each location differs, it has been the private sector that has assisted marginalized pig producers to unite in piggery associations and they take the lead in activities related to decentralized markets, e.g. establishing modalities for the markets' management, contacts with relevant stakeholders and authorities in the local district / town assembly and organization of access to, and provision of, pig production input services