Field Report – July

Field Report: Commodity Management

Date: 22nd July – 28th July, 2012

Participants:

Frida Kobero, Store-keeper, World Food Programme, Arusha

Sophie Owori, Procurement Officer, World Food Programme, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam

Francis Magaya, Technician, General Surveillance Society, Arusha

WA Dawson, Field Monitor, World Food Programme, Arusha

Purpose: To review Forward Contracts and to offer practical tips on quality control and warehouse management.

Activities:

A day was spent at each of five SACCOs, beginning with Gallapo then Usomama, Didihama, Mahhahhaa and Mbulumbulu.

Sophie began each session with a review of Forward Contracts. Her words were well measured. In some cases this was the first growers had heard of this new agreement with the World Food Programme. Unfortunately, those attending the introductory session in Arusha and those participating in the recent field visit by Faida MaLi, where Forward Contracts were also explained, failed to relay any details prior to committing their members to this document. There was always time for discussion and questions.

Frida and Francis, with solid warehouse backgrounds, balanced detailed explanations of the grading and fumigation of maize with hands-on training. It was a joy to watch as growers jockeyed for the opportunity to weigh corn samples, test for moisture content, sieve and separate for quality to learn just what constitutes international standards for quality product. By the last group, every participant with a cell phone had calculated the percentages of chaff, discoloured and misshapen kernels while those without had their arms around shoulders, peering over to assist; the entire room was involved. Apart from Van Hoan Nguyen’s Pictorial Guides, the hand-outs were in Kiswahili, but with Frida’s assistance, these too were consulted. Francis used a loaf of bread and a sheet of newspaper to explain the intricacies of safely fumigating many metric tonnes of grain. These sessions should remain memorable.

Usomama SACCOS has a moisture meter which they use in the field; they bring their maize in for storage only when it has reach 12. The other SACCOS all request moisture meters from the World Food Programme. They recognize their value.

It would be ideal for Frida and Francis to follow this Field Trip with one in August and one in September to assist farmers as they select the maize they sell to the World Food Programme. This will assure 60 MT of Quality Maize will be delivered as contracted.

Observations / Comments:

  • Timely payment by WFP always comes up for discussion with growers.
  • The ‘value addition fee’ still troubles possibly because it does cost more than 55/= to clean and sort the grain.
  • Van Hoan’s Pictorial Grading/Fumigation Guides need to be translated to Kishwahilli as promised; they are valuable and growers will read and follow them.
  • Some SACCOS have functioning offices and two are equipped with computers, while others have yet to be able to file information.
  • Communication is a hurdle on all fronts:

Only two SACCOS have been able to fill out a four year, four page profile of their membership and sales records. This information was to have been obtained two missions ago.

Several SACCOS leaders failed to explain Forward Contracts with their membership prior to signing.

Several SACCOS leaders failed to explain the reasons for our visit or to inform their membership that we were coming.

One SACCOS was not aware whether Faida MaLi was coming or even why they would, yet, according to schedule, Faida MaLi was due deliver a training session the following day. (I am trying to enquire about the accuracy of this information.)

  • Usomama would like to sell more than the contracted tonnage to the World Food Programme. Currently WFP is their only reliable market.
  • The SACCOS do not know how to use the fire extinguishers provided by the World Food Programme and these extinguishers are well passed their recharge date. No SACCOS has taken the initiative to recharge their fire extinguishers.
  • If all Farmers’ Organisations are to have functioning Savings and Loans and Marketing Societies they must communicate by computer and manage an office .

WA Dawson August 1st, 2012

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One Response to Field Report – July

  1. Roneen says:

    Have you ever been busy!!! I love the lists of workshops costs and who gets what.

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