Catholic Relief Services’ agriculture marketing groups help farmers get the best prices for their crops.
Timothy is now able to provide four changes of clothes, three meals a day and blankets for every one of his five children, thanks to an abundant chili pepper harvest and a CRS-organized group that helps him get the best price for his crops.Watch the video
Timothy Machicka, his wife and five children live in Malawi, a country in southeastern Africa. More than half of the people in Malawi live on less than one dollar per day. Timothy’s family was no exception. He struggled to grow potatoes and corn on his small plot of land, and did whatever odd jobs he could find to earn money. Still, often Timothy’s family only had one meal per day. Then Timothy joined an agriculture program run by CRS. Timothy learned that chili peppers are a crop that can grow without much water and that they are popular in the market. CRS gave him tools and training, and
Timothy planted chili peppers on his land. CRS also helped Timothy form a group with other famers in his village. The group provides strength in numbers; together, farmers buy fertilizer at wholesale prices, which is much more affordable than the retail price. As a group, they negotiate with buyers at the market, and are able to get better prices than they would alone. Buyers also benefit from working with the group. They can tell the famers what types of crops will sell best in the market and they save time and money by working with the group as a whole instead of visiting each farmer individually.
Timothy learned from the buyers that they like to have the peppers sorted into different packages according to their quality. Bright red peppers are worth the most, orange peppers are second, and yellow peppers are third. Timothy’s family helps him sort the peppers before he takes them to market. The buyers are happy to have the peppers already sorted and packed.
Timothy’s chili harvest was so successful this year that he rented more land for next year’s crop. He is proud to give his family what he couldn’t provide before: three meals a day, and clothes and blankets for his five children.