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Rumpi-supported Food Crop Marketing Pays Off 

By Azore Opio

In the past five years, the Rumpi Area Participatory Development Project has been active on the regional development agenda as a potentially important means of linking farmers to markets, increasing agricultural productivity, and ultimately reducing rural poverty.

Cooperative women perk up during training

Innovative Rumpi Project models are now being held up as the key to helping smallholders better manage the procurement and distribution of inputs, aggregate their surplus farm output, and bargain for better terms of trade in the marketplace.

It is in this vein that RUMPI Project commissioned MUDEC Group, a Buea-based service provider with expertise in marketing techniques, to identify women involved in selling project crops (cassava, maize, plantains, yams), train them on organised marketing and support their institutional development and organisational strengthening needs so as to  ensure their smooth functioning as cooperatives.

Thus, ten groups of women’s cooperatives from all six Divisions of the Southwest Region were trained and have since been functioning as food stuff marketing cooperatives. Loveline Chima, Secretary, Banga Bakundu Women Yam Marketing Cooperative said they are now able to assemble their commodities in one location on market days with their signboards for identification.

She said they seek out different qualities as well as quantities, determine uniform prices and hold weekly meetings to iron out their differences and to focus on strategies for sustainability.
Elsie Jackai, President, Muea Women Maize Marketing Cooperative,  told The Post that they have solicited land and planted their commodities so that next harvest season, they will effectively put into practice the group-selling techniques which they have acquired from the RUMPI Project.

Other women food crop cooperatives in Banga Bakundu and Lewoh have done the same, while women groups in Afap, Ndungated and Ngombo Ku have diversified into related commodities and transformation of others as strategies to survive during off-seasons.

Meanwhile, women cooperatives in Muea and Banga Bakundu have already carried out exchange visits during which Finance Officers of RUMPI Village Banks discussed requirements for opening joint accounts for their cooperatives. The same is underway in the other locations.
A major result that easily comes to mind is that in the short term, organised marketing of food crops strengthens the bargaining power of women as well as increases their income generating potentials.

In the medium and long-term, organised food crop marketing cooperatives offers quality commodities to the consumer, attracts competitive prices for the women thus increasing living standards and reducing poverty among the vast majority within our society.

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