By Frank Kadzakumanja

One of the main challenges smallholder farmers face in Malawi is access to better markets. For a long time farmers have complained that once they harvest there is usually high supply of commodities which gives rise to low prices. This leaves them with one option of selling at low prices to offset immediate cash needs. And that coupled with poor storage facilities makes smallholder farmers not to hold on to their produce for longer periods of time if they so wish.

It is for this reason that the Agriculture Commodity Exchange for Africa (ACE) is on a campaign of sensitizing farmers on how best they can be linked to better markets and professional storage.

On 16th to 18th December, 2013, ACE organized a three days sensitization campaign around Dedza district 85 Km south of Malawi's capital, Lilongwe where farmers were enlightened on the importance of keeping commodities in furnished warehouses, knowledge of market price information and linkage to better markets. The trainings which were conducted in Mikondo, Chafumbwa and Magomero villages also involved Cadecom farmers working under the Integrating Nutrition for Value Chain (INVC) programme. 


Farmers' referring to ACE Brochures as ACE official explains about ACE    

Ace OfficialStructured Trade Officer for ACE Mr F.Kadzakumanja addressing the farmers          

One of the Dedza farmers, Mary Moyo who grows maize, soya and groundnuts said she had been losing her commodity due to poor storage techniques as well as theft. She further said that it was always a challenge for her to sell her commodities during lean period as prices are always very low. "I am very pleased to know that ACE can link me to better markets and that I can also be linked to professional storage while I wait for better prices. From now on I will wait to hear from ACE before I decide to sell," She said.

Agriculture Extension department Officer (AEDO) for the area, Mr Austin K. Gwirizi said that farmers struggle to reap profits due to unscrupulous traders who have mobbed the area. Because farmers have no idea what the market can offer, they fall into the trap. "Now with the coming in of ACE farmers will be linked to larger markets, I am very positive that all our fears that we had about markets will be a thing of the past", he said.

Trade Agent

Farmers Registering

Mr H. Pemba (Trade agent-ACE Dedza) stressing a point on ACE Trades                            Farmers register on the Attendance Registration Form

Speaking on the closing day of the function, Trade agent for the area Mr Hudson Pemba said that he was very pleased with the turnout of farmers who came to hear about ACE services especially on how they can be linked to better markets. "I know most of you farmers here lack access to better markets. Vendors are usually the main buyers of your commodities but let me assure you that if you contact me or anyone at ACE, you will be linked to a better market. With the right information you will also be able to bargain for better prices when you are approached by vendors."He said.

Farmer Poses QuestionA farmer poses a question about Trade facilitation to an ACE official



Agricultural Commodity Exchange is implementing a structured and transparent commodities market platform that is accessible by all parties wishing to participate. It aims to create transparency and accountability through an online trading platform where buyers and sellers come together to trade assured of delivery and payment.


16th Dec, 2013:Mikondo (258 participants-133 male,125 female)

16th Dec,2013 :Chafumba EPA (139 participants-91 male, 54 female)

17th Dec,2013 :Magomero (216 participants-116 male, 96 female)

18th Dec,2013 :Magomero(193 participants-110 male, 83 female)

Total Participants:806