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Auctions in markets herald higher incomes for malawi’s crop-livestock farmers
Saturday, 2020/11/21 | 06:59:26

Sep 4, 2020

Farmers in three districts of Malawi are able to earn more than they did from selling goats, thanks to a simple intervention that brought transparency, demand and competition for high quality meat.


Figure: Farmers and buyers share their understanding of goat quality criteria before commencing of the sales. Photo: Temwa Mvula


It was the competition among buyers that increased the price for heavier goats of good quality, while the goats of poor quality fetched low prices,” observed Mr Bictor Chimtondo, a goat rearing farmer, during an auction at Kachala market in Malawi.


With vibrant goat markets and growing goat populations, the demand for goat meat is increasing in urban and rural areas in Malawi. Despite their growing importance as source of nutritious meat and income, goat value chains remain poorly commercialized.


Goats are of high value for farmers in the southern Malawi. One-in-three farmers own goats; a flock size of up to 10 goats provides regular supplementary income. Women and men seem equally successful in raising profits from goats. The money from goat sales is used to buy inputs for crop production or food during periods of shortage and to pay for the education of children. However, farmers benefit very little from their sales especially due to low prices that they fetch through farm-gate sales, the predominant market channel. For instance, at the beginning of planting season, goat prices usually plummet due to increased supply. The demand for goat meat peaks only two months after, during the festive season towards the end of the year.


To push for higher quality in goat markets and better reward farmers for investing in enhancing quality of their goats, the CLIM2project piloted goat auction sales between October 2019 and February 2020 in the three project districts – Balaka, Chiradzulu and Thyolo.


Direct impacts of goat auction sales


Sales records illustrate that goats sold through auctions where they are weighed and the weight announced fetched on average 6% higher prices than those through conventional sales.


“The use of weighing scale worked to our advantage as we knew the weight of the live goat before selling. Knowing the weight of the goat helped determine the price,” says Mrs. Chisinga, who sold her goat of 24 kg at a price of K 17, 000 (US$ 23) on the market day.



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