Rural farmers in Zambezia province have always gotten a raw deal when it comes to selling their crops when it came to selling their crops each farmer was an island selling small quantities at a very cheap price to middle men who later sold to big commercial buyers.
Due to a lack of any coordinated effort to change the situation of the farmers their state of poverty continued albeit any increase of their production level. Project Osanzaya funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Mozambique has as one of its pillar strategies the increase of rural farmers’ agricultural Sales in five districts of Zambezia. This strategy involves bringing together the farmers into farmers associations which later form unions and these Unions bring together their harvest and sell as one unit. The advantage being they are no longer selling their harvest in bits and pieces and getting robbed in broad daylight but are now selling their produce in tons, directly to the commercial buyers cutting out the middle man and getting value for their hard earned produce. One such Union that has achieved a first is Alto- Benfica which has sold its maize to WFP (world food program). This is one buyer in the region with the most stringent quality standards, requiring maize of very good quality.
The Union’s maize was tested by WFP’s consultant Inter-tek and passed on August 2011. The Union sold a total of 60 tons of maize to WFP to the tune of US$ 19,615. The Union received their money through their bank account which the project helped them to open with BIM (international bank of Mozambique).
The union of Alto-Benfica is one of the (3) three unions that have sold to WFP out of a total of 27 unions the project assists. The other unions have sold to other local companies such as OLAM, Alif Quimica, Export Market, Madal and Cargil, with WFP offering the highest price per kg of maize. Through this USAID funded initiative farmers have gone from selling their produce one little 5kg tin at a time to negotiating their price with the some of the countries’ biggest buyers some without project assistance and selling in very large volumes.