This year AgroBIG is promoting market linkages through Farmers’ Marketing Groups (FMG) and Marketing Task Forces (MTF) created in the eight AgroBIG target woredas. They will enable intensified information sharing between suppliers and buyers and facilitate farmer’s access to market.
The Farmers’ Marketing Groups are value chain specific farmers’ informal marketing groups formed at kebele level by 10-20 member farmers. The purpose of the groups is to establish well defined market systems to promote access to market and to enhance farmers’ income by supplying quality products.
A total of 180 Farmers’ Marketing Groups have been established in 65 kebeles. Most of the already established FMGs, altogether 127 groups, concentrate on horticulture products. Out of the 180 FMGs, 31 groups focus in poultry, 20 in dairy and two in small animal fattening.
The marketing groups are expected to stimulate both input and output marketing activities. They will carry out assessments of the input demand of the members as well as their product supply. They provide genuine and timely market information for the farmers, organise farm visits for buyers and also support in product sales.
The Marketing Task Force is a group of experts and officials from the region, woredas and kebeles that aims to support value chain actors by creating and enhancing a healthier working environment for the marketing groups and buyers in order to ensure the benefit of both parties.
As of January 2020, a total of 76 Marketing Task Forces have been created, one at regional level, two at zone level, eight at woreda level and a total of 65 at kebele level.
The task forces’ core functions include protecting the marketing groups and buyers from the negative influence of illegal brokers and traders and assisting the marketing groups to access genuine market information and support them in the buying and selling activities at farm level. In addition, they organise experience sharing forums for the marketing groups and cooperatives and provide capacity building in marketing skills and knowledge.
In order to support the operations of both the Farmers’ Marketing Groups and Marketing Task Forces, an operational guide has been developed and capacity building activities have been carried out. For the moment, 87 marketing groups and all 76 task forces have been trained. Technical trainings on developing business plans, calculating gross margins etc. will be continued in the upcoming months.
The expected outcome includes benefiting producers and consumers alike. Consumers will be able to access fresh products through shortened market channels. Farmers in turn will improve their income by advanced marketing practices and by eventually reducing the role of illegal brokers and traders.