What works: Connecting Farmers to Market

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This post is part of a series where Nourishing the Planet asks its readers: What works? Every week we’ll ask the question and every week you can join the conversation!

A farmer may have the secret technique for growing bushels and bushels of potatoes, but without a connection to the market, that extra yield is not worth much. Whether they’re carting goods by bicycle to nearby towns or selling their crop to a middleman, getting produce to the market means income for farmers.

These are just some the programs helping to connect farmers to the market. Tell us what works! (Photo Credit: Bernard Pollack)

In Sudan’s Kebkabyia province, Abdall Omer Saeedo, a vegetable producer, has to travel 10 kilometers twice a week to the nearest market to sell his crops, including green fodder. Without a cart or truck, he paid others to pack and transport his crops. But the money he earned wasn’t enough to cover his production, packing, and transport costs. Nor did it cover the cost of seeds for the next season, education for his children, and other household needs. The UK charity Practical Action helped Saeedo by working with local metal workers to design and build a cart he could use with his donkey to transport his goods to and from the market twice a week.

Practical Action has also developed a project that provides farmers in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Kenya with bicycle trailers that can carry over 400 pounds of goods to market.

In Cape Town, South Africa, Abalimi Bezekhaya has converted several empty lots in the township into gardens run by 6 to 8 farmers who grow organic vegetables and indigenous plants. And in 2008, Abalimi Bezekhaya began their Harvest of Hope program, purchasing surplus produce from their different plots, packaging them in boxes, and delivering the boxes to area schools where parents can purchase them to take home.

And headquartered in Lusaka, Zambia, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has been organizing its 19 member nations to build a regional economic market. By coordinating the development of infrastructure and trade regulations, COMESA hopes to build African agricultural markets, creating sustainable economic and social progress.

These are just some of the programs helping to connect farmers to the market, but we know there are more out there. Do you know what they are?

Tell Nourishing the Planet what works and have your answers featured on the blog.  Email me at Dnierenberg@Worldwatch.org or tweet your response to @WorldWatchAg

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