Collective marketing is where a number of growers work together to sell their combined crops which may require additional storage, processing or packaging and the costs are shared by the group. Usually, these are common interest groups or producer business groups. Their main goal is to collectively achieve the required quantities of the produce and have ability to negotiate on the prices of the produce. This has the benefits of spreading costs over a larger crop volume, creating a larger presence in the market place, and focus on marketing and selling efforts. This approach plays a major role in farming throughout the world. In most countries, farmers have found that they can increase their income and efficiency by joining with other farmers to market their goods jointly, purchase their inputs and co-ordinate their farming techniques.
In collective marketing, the potato farmers pool up their produce and sell it to distant markets and distribute their profits among themselves, through the concept of “umoja ni nguvu” meaning “unity is strength”.
NPCK is on the forefront in encouraging potato farmers to form or join groups, cooperatives and unions as opposed to sole selling, encouraging bulking and aggregation of produce. In the wake of Covid 19-Corona virus pandemic, farmers are encouraged to follow the laid down preventive protocols. Collective marketing alone gives farmers the power to negotiate for better prices with one voice and leaves the buyers with fewer or limited sources of the same commodity. The main idea is to send the produce to places where it is in high demand and thus fetch higher gains. In collective marketing, a select farmer, mainly the group leader can do transactions on behalf of the group thus saving time and resources of others. It is also advantageous to the consumers as the profit margin that was taken by middle men, wholesalers and retailers at several points are abolished. Successful marketing requires significant investment of time into monitoring and understanding markets and consumer preferences, networking with potential buyers, building better relationships with existing buyers, translating market signals to farm production say through producing the correct size of potato tuber and correct potato variety, or timing the crop to coincide with market demand. NPCK have been profiling markets and linking the groups, acting as the market linkage coordinating unit.
Photo: A section of New Molo cooperative group during a training session on contract farming in Elburgon, Nakuru County.