As farmers become more market oriented, so extension workers need to be in a position to advise them not only on how to grow crops but also on how to market them. A knowledge of produce handling, storage and packaging is also essential. To assist governments to develop extension skills in marketing, FAO has a range of training materials and can support governments to develop training materials and courses specifically tailored to the needs of a particular country.
Horticultural marketing extension. Horticultural farmers frequently consider marketing as being their major problem. However, while they are able to identify such problems as poor prices, lack of transport and high post-harvest losses, they are often poorly equipped to identify potential solutions. Successful marketing requires learning new skills, new techniques and new ways of obtaining information. Extension officers working with ministries of agriculture or NGOs are often well-trained in horticultural production techniques but usually lack knowledge of marketing or post-harvest handling. Our Guide on Horticultural Marketing seeks to help them to develop their knowledge of these areas, in order to be better able to advise farmers about market-oriented horticulture. The emphasis is on assisting farmers to form mutually beneficial relationships with private-sector traders and agroprocessors.
Marketing costs. There are widely held misunderstandings over marketing costs. Farmers often do not understand the true costs associated with marketing their produce. Tradersʼ margins are often looked upon as being excessive by policy-makers and officials as they lack a full appreciation of all the costs involved. Our Guide to marketing costs and how to calculate them should be useful to marketing officers and extension workers who are called upon to advise farmers on marketing and prices and is intended to reduce some of the misunderstanding about the nature of costs.
Horticultural marketing videos. FAO has produced two videos designed to be used as supporting training material for the guide on "Horticultural marketing. These two videos should enhance the ability of extension workers to support farmers in their marketing activities. They are likely to be used primarily by agricultural colleges in developing countries, both in the training of future extension workers and in the provision of refresher courses for existing extensionists.
They can also be used to introduce the topic of horticultural marketing at University level and to train those who work in the horticulture industry, such as managers of retail and wholesale markets, farm managers, transporters, processors, etc. NGOs working with farmers will also find them useful.
The videos are:
1. Horticultural marketing - a training video
2. Horticultural Marketing - Extension Techniques (also available on YouTube)
Maize marketing. Until the early 1990s the marketing and storage of the major grain crops in most African countries tended to be in the hands of government agencies. The situation changed in the 1990s with many African countries gradually moving to a system where private traders buy crops from farmers, transport those crops to the cities and sell them to processors, millers and consumers. These changes mean that extension workers had to develop new skills. They had to be in a position to advise farmers on what crops to grow, on how and where to sell their crops and on how to store their crops. They needed to be able to answer farmers' questions about prices, about whether to store their crops or sell immediately and about where to buy and how to pay for inputs such as fertilizer and seed. Our publication,A Guide to Maize Marketing for Extension Officerswas developed to provide extension workers with basic information on private-sector grain marketing systems and on crop drying and storage. Emphasis is on maize, but other crops are briefly considered.
Farmers removing seedlings from a nursery to be transplanted into an operating rice paddy until harvest.