We are working with more than 1,500 farmers and many more of their neighbours in the Chipata and Katete districts of the Eastern Province.
The farmers are organised in groups of 20 to 70, generally self-selected and formed into registered Farmers Associations or Cooperatives. EPFC develops an appropriate contract which describes the supply of seeds, training, other services and product marketing. Each group has a number of lead and contact farmers who provide a communication network throughout the EPFC organisation. Some of the groups have built local storage sheds with capacity of around 50 tons and an office from which to run the group. The next development steps will be an increased mechanisation and the further improvement of local infrastructure.
For most areas, we are the only partner seen regularly through the year. At times, our visits will bring training and advice about different crops, other visits will be regular joint inspections of the fields with practical and expert help, while later in the season we provide information about markets, help with shelling and product selection and finally buying across the farm gate.