Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CRS: Video: Chile Farmers in Malawi Form Marketing Clusters to Boost Earnings

Photo; Catholic Relief Services
Many of my friends and acquaintances know that I am aficionado of the chile pepper.  I am also a dedicated anti-poverty advocate. So I was very pleased when Catholic Relief Services (CRS) posted the following feature and video, which tells us how chile farmers in Malawi pooled their resources to form marketing clusters via a program funded by USAID and administered by CRS..  (Note: I changed a word to my preferred spelling of "chile") 
Malawian farmer Violet Mponda used to sell her chile peppers to local buyers for less than 50 cents per pound. Other area chile farmers did too, and all of them just couldn't come close to earning enough money for a decent life.

Then they learned about a Catholic Relief Services-led program that showed them they can have strength in numbers.

The Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement project helped them form marketing clusters, groups of 100 to 150 farmers that can attract bulk buyers and bargain for better produce prices. With increased profits, farmers like Violet can now invest in fertilizer and diversify their crops, which translates into a more sustainable income and increased financial security for them and their families. The project is expected to provide nutritious food to 215,000 rural families and help 25,000 farmers learn to treat farming as a business. 

CRS has written other features about growing chile peppers in Malawi, including an article entitled Red Hot Chili Peppers by Sara  A. Fajardo.

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