The Ministry of Trade says cooperatives can turn around the economy of the country especially when farmers focus on export crops.
Desk Officer for Cooperative Formulation and Registration in the Ministry of Trade, Henry Chimpesa, made the remarks in an interview with MBC Online following a series of training sessions conducted in Chikwawa.
Chimpesa said the ministry thought it wise to provide the training so that farmers are well prepared to take advantage of opportunities that will emanate with the establishment of mega-farms.
Participants in the training
“There’s a project through the Shire Valley Transformation programme they are constructing a big canal from the upper side of Kapichira Dam up to Bangula in Nsanje, an estimated distance of 118 kilometres. Along the canal, mega-farms will be established. smallholder farmers need to consolidate their land to a minimum of 500 hectares and start cultivating for commercial purposes not subsistence. When we seriously cultivate for commercial purposes. Our economy will improve.
“Through the Department of SMEs and Cooperatives under the Ministry of Trade we have a role to play to ensure these cooperatives are vibrant and well managed, that’s why we are training them to be successful once they roll out,” said Chimpesa.
In her remarks, the Ministry of Trade’s, Cooperative Development Officer, Rhoda Simbeye, said farmers will have access to big markets when they sell their produce together.
Farmers will have access to big markets -Simbeye
“Individual selling doesn’t pay when it comes to trading on the international level, we need cooperatives that are well organised hence the training,” said Simbeye.
Commenting on the development, Triza Kaduya from Mphampha Village in Chikwawa said the training is an eye-opener and is gender inclusive.
“Through the training, we have learnt that women need to actively participate in several socio-economic activities including farming.
“Once we get established we will also manage to kick out middlemen who make huge profits from our sweat. We believe we will be connected to better markets and get a good return from our work,” said Kaduya.
We will kick out middlemen – Kaduya
The ministry is targeting close to 13,000 farmers to be trained In cooperative formation and management.