Farmers and processor 'over the moon' about new pig markets in Malawi
23 November 2010
In September 2010 RIU reported on plans to develop pig marketing infrastructure in Malawi
. Now, thanks to financial assistance from RIU, four pig markets have been built and are set to be launched on 30 December 2010.
RIU Malawi has worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders to identify their problems and bottlenecks. They discovered a classic market failure: farmers were rearing pigs in Malawi but not finding markets; meanwhile Malawian pork processors were importing pigs from outside the country. Once RIU had established the problem they decided the best strategy was to construct four purpose-built pig markets.
RIU only supports capital programmes under exceptional circumstances - but there was a very strong business case here and funds were made available to build the markets in Balaka
RIU Malawi has also played a crucial role in working with the private sector.
The Kapani Company are pork processors and members of the RIU facilitated Livestock Platform
. They used to procure pork in South Africa, but are no longer doing so since RIU intervened.
Bwemba Cold Storage is another pork slaughtering and processing company. The owners are also very active members of the platform. Now Bwemba are expanding their capacity with a new processing plant with better facilities and creating new jobs in the food sector in Malawi.
Dr Timothy Gondwe
, a lecturer at Bunda College of Agriculture and the Livestock Platform champion, chaired a day-long meeting of the platform in Lilongwe on October 28. The meeting started to plan for the opening of the markets, including management issues and the fees to be changed to make the programme sustainable.
Dr Gondwe expressed great satisfaction with the way RIU has helped pig farmers with the markets. Platform members were also keen to explain how they felt the markets will ease one of their major marketing problems.
Esnat Zimba, the Balaka Pig Farmers Association chairperson, said:
"In Balaka we have many pig farmers but we do not have the markets. By helping us construct the market RIU has empowered us economically and socially. These markets will be used not only by members of the association but many other farmers."
She continued to explain that Balaka has over a hundred farmers who are keeping pigs; without the help of the market, vendors would not be coming to the market to buy pigs.
Qita Mvula of Mzuzu Livestock Cooperative said:
"What RIU has done to us is beyond our expectations. This structure will be here for a long time to come and as farmers we are going to benefit a lot from it."
Mvula, a retired civil servant in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security who is also a pig farmer, continued:
"The market would serve over 1,000 farmers from nine zones in the city of Mzuzu and the surrounding areas in the Northern Region of Malawi."
The Mzuzu Livestock Cooperative members were said to be "over the moon" about the market and they expressed optimism for the future of the venture.
In Mulanje District, in the southern part of Malawi, farmers are also jubilant about their pig market.
Nobel Moyo of RIU Malawi said:
"RIU participated in a three-day National Agriculture Trade Fair in Blantyre in August which was opened by the President, Prof Bingu wa Mutharika. We distributed information about the pig markets at this event and they attracted a great deal of attention, so we are anticipating them being a great success.
These four markets will be used by over 2,000 farmers. We have also helped to create an effective market which will stop the pork processors having to go abroad for pigs. We are proud of the work we have done here. 30 December will be a great celebration for RIU Malawi and the work we have done with these farmers and other stakeholders in the Livestock Platform."