EFFECTS OF FLUCTUATING PRICES
To ensure the smooth running of their operations, the marketing chairperson conveys the expected order for the day to the productions chairman, who then contacts the farmers to make the order.
“As the production chairperson, I am always aware of each farmer’s situation. I must be conscious of issues such as which vegetable each farmer has, when the crop will be ready for harvest and whether or not all farmers combined can meet a particular order,” says Kimunya.
According John Muya, the group’s chairman, selling their produce together has cushioned them from the effects of fluctuating food prices.
“Our contract buyer sets the buying price at a flat rate, enabling us to always fetch a fairly good price, come rain or shine,” he says.
Currently, the farmers sell a kilo of vegetables at Sh24, an amount they deem fair considering that it is peak season.
“A fixed or standardised rate is advantageous to the farmer because there are more months of availability than those of scarcity in the year,” says Gerald Watoro, a senior commercialisation and zone coordinator of Farm Concern.
Besides the ready market, the farmers have been able to overcome problems associated with transportation and the cost of spoilage.
Once the produce is harvested and handed over to the buyer, any loss incurred between harvest and the market is suffered by buyer.
Kimunya’s quarter-acre i farm earns him an average of Sh12,000 per season and another Sh4,000 from the sale of seedlings. He spends some Sh3,000 on seeds, fertiliser and water, enabling him to earn a decent living from the venture.