IIED webinar: Incentive-based contract farming and agricultural commodities exchanges

News, 17 September 2018
Join our webinar on 3 October 2018 to discuss experiences of supporting farmers in contract farming arrangements

A man from Malawi holds cotton in his hands

An initiative led by IIED is generating lessons on how rural producers, their associations and wider communities can best empower themselves to articulate their development priorities, make informed choices, and negotiate effectively for equitable partnerships with progressive private sector actors in commercial agriculture. 

This webinar, part of the 'Empowering Producers In Commercial agriculture’ (EPIC) project, will share and debate experiences of incentive-based contract farming in Malawi. It will also look at activities linking soy producers to agricultural commodity exchanges and cotton farmers to local ginners.

Contract farming can vary widely, but in broad terms it is a pre-agreed supply agreement between farmers and a buyer under which the farmers usually agree to grow and supply a specific quantity and quality of produce to the buyer, and the buyer undertakes to not only buy the produce, but also to provide inputs (seeds, fertilisers and so on) on credit. While many contract farming arrangements promote compliance by sanctioning default, this scheme encourages the parties to work together by providing incentives such as improved access to economic benefits.

Agricultural commodity exchanges provide warehousing services to farmers and trade their combined produce, and can help farmers to secure higher prices. But many small-scale rural producers struggle to access commodity exchanges, partly because of constrained information and finance. The scheme used incentive-based contract farming to overcome these barriers.

This online seminar is designed for civil society organisations in low- and middle-income countries working to support communities in the context of commercial investments in agriculture and other natural resource sectors.

To join the webinar, email legaltools@iied.org before 28 September 2018.

This is the second in a series of events organised under EPIC, which is funded by UK aid from the UK government (DFID) through its Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA) programme. CASA seeks to increase economic opportunities for smallholders by demonstrating the commercial viability of businesses with significant smallholder supply chains and by attracting more investment into the sector.

The webinar is convened by IIED and is part of IIED's work on 'Legal tools for citizen empowerment', a collaborative initiative that aims to help local communities protect their rights in relation to natural resource investments.

Outline programme

IIED senior researcher Emily Polack will introduce the webinar

Cuan Opperman, from the DFID-funded Malawi Oilseed Sector Transformation (MOST) programme, will provide an overview of incentive-based contract farming as developed by MOST in Malawi, including its work to link soy producers to agricultural commodity exchanges and cotton farmers to local ginners.

Snowden Mbalafana, from the Cotton Farmers Association of Malawi, will discuss a particular experience in the cotton sector.

IIED associate Thierry Berger will then moderate a facilitated discussion with webinar participants. This is expected to look at questions of interest to practitioners working on similar issues in different contexts such as:

  • What were the most effective tools and approaches for supporting farmers in contract farming arrangements, and why? 
  • What conditions need to be in place for the approaches to work? 
  • What challenges are likely to arise, and how can they be addressed? and
  • Top tips for adapting the approaches to other contexts.

Event details

Title: Incentive-based contract farming and agricultural commodities exchanges – lessons from Malawi
Date: Wednesday, 3 October 2018
Time: 12-1.30pm (GMT+1)
Designed for: Civil society organisations in low- or middle-income countries
Where: From your desk or portable internet device. Webinars are online workshops that people can attend via the internet
To join the webinar: email legaltools@iied.org before 28 September 2018.

About the speakers

Cuan Opperman is team leader at the Malawi Oilseed Sector Transformation Programme (MOST). He is a private sector development specialist with more than 28 years of work experience in leading implementation and providing technical advice on market development, trade, investment and enterprise development throughout Africa and globally.

Snoweden Mbalafana is Secretary of the Cotton Farmers Association of Malawi.


For more information about IIED's legal tools work, email legaltools@iied.org.

Was this page useful to you?