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Getting more grain to markets in Malawi


More than 5,000 farmers in central and southern Malawi will sell to new regional markets via expansion of warehouses that serve as grain bulking centers, thanks to a cost-sharing grant from USAID’s Market Linkages Initiative (MLI), managed by CARANA. The upgrade to Chitsosa Trading Company will double the capacity of the current warehouses and train farmers in post-harvest handling and crop conditioning, which should reduce post-harvest losses and boost crop quality.

Chitsosa and MLI representatives inspect refurbishment of a warehouse.

Chitsosa sells maize, groundnuts and soya to major traders in Malawi and neighboring Tanzania, making it a secure buyer for smallholder farmers. The expansion will allow it to buy directly from 50 village aggregation centers, while farmer training and new equipment like moisture meters and fumigation sheets will confirm Chitsosa’s reputation for quality—and allow farmers to get better prices for their crops.

The grant pays a third of the total $270,000 cost for refurbishment and technical assistance. MLI’s grant program helps move farmers from self-subsistence to wealth creation by connecting them to reliable buyers. So far, 15 grants worth more than $1.1 million have been approved in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda, with 16 awaiting review.

Published October 2010