Agribusiness Investment for Marketing Stimulation (AIMS) uses a market systems approach to increase trade among agribusiness small and medium enterprises (A-SME) working with and through market actors to improve productivity, trade, and, ultimately, the economic situation. One of the approaches AIMS uses is business to business (B2B) events which brings together buyers and sellers to promote structured trade, linking producers to reliable markets. In a recent case, the lessons learned at B2B event helped a local organization put on its own event, increasing the overall impact AIMS had in the sector.
In June 2017, AIMS organized a horticulture B2B event with the Small Producers Development and Transport Association (SPRODETA). SPRODETA is a local registered development organization which is working with about 400 horticulture agribusinesses in Mzimba and Rumphi districts in the northern region of Malawi. SPRODETA horticulture farmers have been selling their produce to vendors at very low prices resulting in low returns and high post-harvest handling losses due to perishability of the produce. AIMS involved SPRODETA in all aspects of the event from identifying producers and buyers to attend, to facilitating buyer-seller deal negotiations.
The B2B brought together sellers from the northern districts of Malawi, and buyers including the South African chain store Shoprite, Kips restaurants chain, and major hotels. Twelve agreements stating the intent to trade 205 tons of commodities valued at $84,276 were signed at the event.
Based on the success and lessons learned at this event, SPRODETA organised a horticulture B2B on its own three months later. Using the approaches used by AIMS, SPRODETA invited two buyers–Illala Crest Lodge, a high end resort in Mzuzu city and Kwithu Kitchen, a tomato processing and marketing company. These two companies were identified reliable markets for tomatoes which had been a challenge for farmers. As a result of the event, agreements to provide produce worth 400kgs at MK320, 000 (US$440) per week were made. This deal has resulted in producers tripling their normal sales volume. “The values agreed in this session are 80% above what these farmer SMEs get from middle men for the same volume at the farm gate”, added Mr Albert Mtonga, SPRODETA Program Officer. “Looking at what happened during this B2B, SPRODETA will continue organizing more B2Bs for other districts in the northern region using the experience learned from AIMS, ” Mr. Mtonga shared.