Field Report

Field Notes – August 22-30, 2012

Purpose: To monitor maize quality during harvest and to supervise timely delivery of contracted maize.

Participants:  Frida Kobero, Store-keeper;  Masasa Makwassa, Faida Mali -Market Link;   Francis Mgaya, General Surveillance Society;   Hanga Nyerere, Driver/Interpreter;               Tony Dawson, Field Co-ordinator

Field Notes:

  • We have delivered 4 Action Plans and should have the 5th by Tuesday, September 4th:

USOMAMA Delivery Date: 20th September

MBULUMBULU (Slahamo): 25th September

MAHAHHAA: 27th September

MBULUMBULU (Kambi ya Simba): 28th September

GALLAPO: 28th September

  • Francis Mgaya of the General Surveillance Society was in the field before this trip and he joined us. He continues to train, to monitor for quality assurance and to supervise timely delivery of contracted maize.
  • What the Farmers want:   1) Premium Price      2) Advance payment

If the Growers honour the Contract on time they should be paid on time. Accepted business standard is within 30 days.

In the contract there is a substantial penalty for late delivery and this is fine but, to be fair, there should be a clause to balance this stating the producers will be paid in a timely manner .

  • The core problem is poor communication between the World Food Programme and the farmers and between the SACCOs and the farmers and between farmer and farmer.

The majority of producers did not know anything about the Forward Contract; they had not been informed by their leaders.  Those who did have some knowledge failed to inform their fellow growers.  Several leaders were also not clear.  In the field farmers receive mixed messages.  Communication by phone is inadequate.  Had we not gone out on this Field Trip it is unlikely much maize would be delivered at all and we must go back to the field to ensure delivery.  The World Food Programme needs to be in the field more. The Purchase for Progress Team working with the producers should be consistent so the same message is delivered.

  • The Contracted period should start earlier and reflect crop performance, i.e. begin the process in May.
  • The Contract should reflect Geographical Location. Example: Mbulumbulu takes longer to mature their crop therefore the contract should extend to the end of October.
  • The Savings and Loans Societies for the most part appear to be middlemen.  For their own benefit, they hide information from the farmers they are representing.  Many SACCOs Leaders are not transparent or trustworthy.  They charge high interest rates. The suggestion is to stop dealing with the SACCOs.  The ultimate aim is to shift focus from the SACCOs to the Marketing Organizations.
  • Only one grower representative signed the Contract with the World Food Programme. The Contract ought to require a majority vote of the farmers and they should be involved in how much to ship. The annex of the contract needs to list the names of the farmers and their maize contributions.
  • It is important to work through the Village Offices.  Government/Community meetings are required.  The Co-operative Officer is key to communication.  It is extremely important that the Purchase for Progress Focal Person be the Co-operative Officer.
  • Introduce a contract written in Kiswahili.
  • Is the final price offered to the farmers to be verbal, done over the phone with one farmer representative?  If so than Usomama and Gallapo were unaware they had agreed to a preset price offer +/or the chairman failed to communicate this to the growers.

For consideration:

The selling price should be set on the day of final inspection. This would be consistent with what is written in the present Forward Contract and with what was explained to the growers on this Field Trip – line by line.

Faida Mali- Market Link and Purchase for Progress should be out in the field by 20th September to work with Francis of the General Surveillance Society to supervise delivery on the contract.

Usomama has much more grain to sell to the Food Programme. They would like another contract.

Mbulumbulu has three warehouses but only one has been renovated. They request further assistance to refurbish Upper Kitete and Kambi ya Simba.

WA Dawson 31st August, 2012

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