Photo by Simon Scott Photography
Farmers need information about many things when they are growing crops: good seeds, soil fertility, low-cost inputs, how to recognize disease, and how to ward off pests. This information helps them make decisions that help them harvest as much as possible.
But to ensure they get the best return for their hard work, they also need market information.
That is why Abood FM in the Morogoro Region of Tanzania, turned their farmer program, Kilimo Bora (Better Farming in Swahili), into a “Radio Marketplace,” as part of the Soy ni Pesa project (which means “soy is money” in Swahili).
June is harvest time for soybean farmers in Morogoro. So when the farmers tune in to Kilimo Bora at that time of year, they want to hear about market opportunities and prices.
A Radio Marketplace program is a market information program supported by Farm Radio International. The program explores a different marketing topic each week, interviewing farmers, vendors, processors, transporters, policymakers, and input dealers. Topics can include: the power of marketing in groups, the benefits and challenges of contract farming, and identifying just who the buyers and processors are for a particular crop.
One episode of Radio Marketplace on Kilimo Bora gave listeners a tour of Tanfeeds International’s operations. The mini-documentary explained how the company processes soy—along with maize and other ingredients—to make high-protein animal feed and soya oil for human use. The program gave managing director Faustin Lekule an opportunity to explain the qualities Tanfeeds looks for when it purchases soybeans from farmers.
These types of discussions give farmers the information they need to negotiate with buyers.
Radio Marketplace programs address the “four Ps” of marketing: right product, right place, right price, and right promotion. By better understanding who their buyers are and what the buyers’ needs are, farmers can better negotiate a fair price and make the best decisions for themselves, whether that means grading their product, growing the right varieties, or simply selling as a group.
This work is part of the N2Africa project, which is a large-scale project focused on putting nitrogen fixation to work for small-scale farmers growing legume crops in Africa. This work was supported by the Catholic Relief Services, with a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.