GOAL Malawi is an international organization which has been operating in Malawi since 2002. GOAL Malawi, with funding from Irish Aid and DFID, has been implementing a livelihoods programme in the Nsanje district. The objective of the programme is to increase agriculture productions of cash crops among smallholder farmers and link these farmers to established markets.

To support the national need for diversification of crops, and to accelerate a shift towards more market-driven products of livelihood promotion, GOAL Malawi sought a consultant to conduct an assessment identifying cash crops t suitable for the conditions in Nsanje, potential buyers, potential models of market access, and stakeholders offering required supporting services. The purpose of the assessment was to link farmers in Nsanje District to formal agro processing companies in Blantyre in order to develop the value chain and improve farmer livelihoods.

Imani worked closely with GOAL Malawi to help them design a strategy for a programme that will establish sustainable linkages between farmer microenterprises and the formal market.

Imani delivered on two broad components;

  • Firstly, Imani assessed the viability of numerous crops in order to come up with a recommended short list of options. Crops were assessed on their production viability, their market potential, their profitability, as well as other factors such as cultural preference and the need for supporting services.For each specified crop, Imani outlined a business case of how a microenterprise could become integrated in the value chain of the crop and link with a specified market player.
  • A second element of the consultancy was to outline the key factors in creating a microenterprise at the farmer level and discuss the considerations in stimulating the linkage of this enterprise with a formal market player. A range of issues were analyzed and recommendations made, these included the structure of the microenterprise, accessing finance, improving productivity level, instilling a business mind-set and enhancing the ability to engage with the market.