A two-day training workshop entitled, ‘Trade and Market Linkages Strategy for Small Scale Producers’, was organised by CUTS Africa Resource Centre (CUTS ARC), Lusaka, in partnership with the Danish Association for International Cooperation (MS-Zambia) at Chipata, Zambia, on August 10-11, 2006.
The objectives were to enable farmers to better exploit domestic and international markets through increased knowledge and networks; to build an alliance of organisations to lobby and advocate for policies favourable to regional producers; to empower farmers to advocate for favourable trade arrangements and to establish practical market linkages at regional, national and international levels.
The workshop was organised in three sessions, which involved presentations, group discussions, and plenary sessions. Papers were presented by Farmer Support Organisation (FOSUP), Export Board of Zambia (EBZ) and by Vladimir Chilinya of CUTS ARC. Discussion themes included opportunities and challenges for small scale farmers in regional and international agriculture markets and agro-processing; establishing effective institutional linkages in agriculture trade; and creating networks to ensure farmers have access to information finance and markets etc.
The workshop identified several problems for producers, such as lack of institutional structures and failure to plan for markets before production. Participants produced several recommendations relating to the problems, including that District Farmers Associations (DFAs) have a strong role in community sensitisation on developments in the agricultural trade sector; capacity-building initiatives continue in the province and strategic partners help link DFAs financing institutions.