The red paprika’ s are beautifully shining in the sun, they are planted in neat rows. The crop looks healthy, with over ten red fruits in many plants. The lead farmer has a wealth of experience, already for 15 years he cultivates paprika’s and knows how to do it.
He speaks proudly about his experience to the group of male and female famers who have come to see his field. He expects this field to yield paprika with a value of US2,000.
Jim took me to the paprika farmers southwest of the capital of Malawi: Lilongwe. He is manager of a large company which grows many crops and products, and also buys from small farmers in the area. Two wealthy Englishmen have invested money in the company of Jim which should become profitable but also has to contribute to the development of communities in the area. Jim seeks cooperation with NGOs such as Christian Aid and ICCO.
Together with local consultants, I advise Christian Aid and ICCO in Malawi on how the can engage with companies and can invest their funds in upgrading value chains with the aim to benefit poor farmers. CA and ICCO could, for example, invest in extension services to farmers to improve the quality of the paprika’s. As a result the farmer will get a better price and the buyer better quality. If it works both parties will benefit.