APRA Working Paper 82: Interrogating the Effectiveness of Farmer Producer Organisations in Enhancing Smallholder Commercialisation – Frontline Experiences From Central Malawi
Written by: Masautso Chimombo, Mirriam Matita, Loveness Mgalamadzi, Blessings Chinsinga, Ephraim Wadonda Chirwa, Stevier Kaiyatsa and Jacob Mazalale
Many years of significant investment into the production and adoption of productivity-enhancing technologies and practices in agriculture have not yielded the desired results. Most smallholder farmers in Africa remain trapped in poverty. Having realised that addressing production challenges alone is not enough to impact the lives of poor smallholder farmers, resources and attention have now shifted to the marketing side of agriculture. Organising farmers into farmer producer organisations (FPOs), like clubs, associations and cooperatives, has been one of the strategies aimed at commercialising smallholder agriculture. In Malawi, smallholder farmers have been organised into FPOs of various types and sizes. This qualitative study interrogated the effectiveness of FPOs in Malawi in meeting their objectives, including the objective of enhancing commercialisation of smallholder farmers through increased access to farm inputs, markets, and agricultural extension and advisory services.