Mr. Chitosa and his happy farmers

When we first walked into the Chitosa Trading grain warehouse, it was hard to envision just what this great big empty room could do to help improve the livelihoods and food security of Malawian farmers. But Mr. George Chitosa told us not to worry -– there are a few weeks to go before the harvest. In a month, this warehouse will be piled high with maize, and the farmers that sell to him will go home happy with a good price for their maize.

chitosa trading grain

chitosa trading grain
Supported through a cost-share program funded by USAID as part of the Feed the Future Initiative, Mr. Chitosa was able to build a large grain bulking warehouse, improve maize grading facilities to ensure they sell only the highest quality maize, and ensure farmers get the best price by receiving text messages about prices in 13 different markets twice a week through mobile information service called Esoko, which is also supported by USAID.

Grain bulked at Mr. Chitosa’s warehouse can be sold on the African Agricultural Commodity Exchange and purchased by buyers like the World Food Program. The bulking center creates such a reliable market for both sellers and buyers, that the Opportunity International Bank of Malawi, a commercial bank targeting the poor in under-served areas, will be providing first-time credit to 200 farmers selling to Chitosa Trading. I walked away this time with a smile on my face –- through a strong public-private partnership, a Feed the Future program was clearly making a difference in many people’s lives.

Photos by Morgana Wingard