Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says agricultural cooperatives contribute to the development of agribusiness and nutrition if farmers are involved in them.
FAO representative Florence Rollie made the statement on Friday in Mangochi during a two-day retreat to review the role of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development in improving the nutrition status in the country.
Rollie said cooperatives enable farmers to attain agribusiness skills, bargaining power over their products as well as have easy access to loans that are difficult to be realised by individual farmers.
“There is power in team work, as such, farmers need to champion cooperatives if they are to appreciate the magnificence of agriculture,” she said.
Chairperson of Chibwelera Cooperative in Mangochi Hillary Nyadani revealed that since he ventured into the cooperative, he has learnt many farming systems and has been linked to many markets.
“Through this cooperative, I have been connected to potential buyers, which has enabled me to build a decent house and pay school fees for my children. In addition, there is no shortage of food in my house no matter how tough the growing season is,” he said.
Currently, the cooperative is constructing a warehouse from the proceeds it gets from its products.
“The construction of the warehouse is an indicator that most farmers are flourishing in agriculture, that is why we need a big storage facility to accommodate our products,” he said.
Mangochi district agricultural division officer (Dado) Mphatso Magombo advised farmers who are reluctant to join cooperatives to link with other farmers if they are to maximise their profits.