Rice farmers benefiting from NASFAM association

Written by  Eunice Ndhlovu

Kilombelo rice farmers in the country are reaping the benefits of working in associations as National Small Holder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) is providing ready market for the crop.

Bags of rice that farmers are selling through the association Bags of rice that farmers are selling through the association

According to Nelson Chimpesa Phiri, Warehouse Manager for NASFAM in Nkhotakota, the association is working with over 2000 farmers who are growing Kilombelo rice, a brand that NASFAM is well known for.

Chimpesa Phiri said farmers at the moment are organized and able to produce quality rice that the organisation buys each season since 2004.

“We work with four associations from Nkhotakota and Nkhatabay districts who grow rice under supervision of our extension workers. Farmers are able to take care of the crop and check moisture content that is required for our storage here,” said Chimpesa Phiri.

He said the warehouse in Nkhotakota is able to produce 30 metric tons of milled rice in a day.

“'The demand for Kilombero rice is growing in the country's cities and abroad and we are working hard to increase the yield that will meet the demand,” indicated the Warehouse Manager.

One of the farmers who produce Kilombero rice in Nkhotakota, Margaret Chanika from Linga Cooperative, said since she joined NASFAM club her farming has improved tremendously.

"I used to produce 15 bags of paddy rice but now I produced 30 or more bags a year that also fetch good money for me and my household. I own a decent house and I rear livestock and all this comes from my rice sales,” disclosed Chanika.

Another farmer Gladson Chabwera also from Linga Cooperative hails NASFAM for the ready market of rice.

Chabwera said in the past middle men used to buy their commodity at very low prices but as farmers they could not negotiate.

“Selling rice as a group has empowered us to have a say on prices of our rice. We can ably tell NASFAM what we think is the best price for the season and discuss without problems,” explained Chabwera.

NASFAM has increased the uptake of Kilombero rice which is the only type of rice the organisation deals with by working with farmers in Nkhotakota, Nkhatabay, Mangochi and Karonga which is well known for Kilombero rice in the country.

The Association has a factory in Kanengo where rice grown from all districts in the country is graded and polished to maintain the standards and quality of the brand.

With over 30 tons capacity of grading and polishing per day, NASFAM exports Kilombero rice to Scotland and Zimbabwe after feeding the home country Malawi.

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