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Report on National Contract Farming Workshop held at Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) on 15th November 2005
18 November 2005
The Malawi Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (MASIP Secretariat)


Introduction

The Ministry of Agriculture has developed a new policy on Food and Nutrition Security in which contract farming is an important issue in addressing poverty through sustainable food security and income generation.

At the national level, MASIP is collaborating with the Agricultural Policy Research Unit (APRU) in coordinating a network of stakeholders for Policy Dialogue on Contract Farming, which was held at the Malawi Institute of Management on 15th November 2005. At the regional level, the Food Agriculture and Natural Resource Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) is the driving force to individual country’s activities in trying to understand the contributions and potential pitfalls of contract farming to agricultural growth, farmers incomes and address the challenges of contract farming.

Contract Farming assumes an extensive number of arrangements that link small-scale farmers to some type of market as a way to supporting them to become successful independent commercial farmers in the long term in a developing country context. The farmers can be linked to markets by either formal or informal contracts as a result of some type of arrangement with a buyer who adds value to the raw commodity in some way (processing, storage, marketing). This arrangement however, has its merits and pitfalls all of which call for stakeholder analysis and participation in order to ensure its efficiency.

At the regional level, members have discussed a number of issues as way forward for the range of challenges of contract farmi9ng. Some of these solutions can be replicated in individual countries but some cannot hence call for local action. Lessons drawn from the Policy Dialogue and any such forum will assist in coming up with an action plan for the promotion of contract farming, a research agenda on Contact Farming issues, and in identifying new investments, markets and business models for contract farming.

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