Project Everest

Work Update

Supply chains delivering local change

Jayden Husson
Jayden Husson | Jan 11, 2018 | in Agriculture Assessment

How much will the possible success of the experimental farm effect the distribution chain in Malawi?

Malawian supermarkets and food chains are importing produce from South Africa because of the quality that goes through markets. Not generally because of the price. Having large commercial farms throughout South Africa makes quality produce easy to achieve with an added benefit of relatively low costs. Through this, imports are bought and brought into Malawi to sell instead of local produce.

Having the possibility of improving yields all year round for smallholder farmers would also increase the overall produce throughout the markets. Having increased market produce would allow for a more succinct value of produce throughout all months. Which in turn will hopefully allow for a more constant distribution chain of local produce, but still dependant on the quality.

Having the measurements of the experimental farm following the recommended planting densities and companion planting, this will hopefully result in a more nutritious harvest. Allowing the produce to become better in quality through its nutritious value but also appearance. Having these key factors supermarkets, restaurants and food chains are looking for, the possibilities in changing the distribution chain from having a decent amount of imports to minimal.

Through stakeholders we have also established that most of the produce for Blantyre goes through a single market, Bvumbwe. From there it goes through other markets and to the end consumers. It was have also found that there is an agricultural research centre within Bvumbwe, potentially the reason behind why the quality is higher at Bvumbwe.

Having the ability to inject ourselves into the distribution chain through the use of our blueprint and potential payment plan, for buying back surplus produce and storing it, allowing us to sell back in later months where the demand for stored produce is high. This in turn will reduce the peak of the price spikes but could potentially increase the initial price slope by storing food and making it scarce earlier.

Allowing the possibility of producing the same quality produce as the Bvumbwe markets from small holder farmers, the distribution system could potentially be widely effected. Although minimising price at other markets and travel time for the middlemen or end consumers all while increasing quality.

But will this potential change in the distribution chain bring a more stable and flat line to Blantyre’s food prices and quality?

Campbell Chesworth Jan 14, 2018

Have you guys looked further into who, as the middle men, PE would be selling surplus produce onto? Last month we spoke about a possible relationship with hotels and restaurants and were unclear on whether taking produce to a physical market would be viable. Have you guys extrapolated on this train of thought or looking more at physical markets?


Jayden Husson Jan 23, 2018

We have looked into selling straight into hotels and restaurant with the possible surplus as it would be the most beneficial. A few of the consumers we have made contact with buy straight from the farmer whereas others buy from the middlemen. Saying this i think it was found that there was a higher quality of produce when buying straight from the farmer due to having less transport.


Rachel Chan Jan 19, 2018

It is good that you have identified that quality, not price, is the key factor that supermarkets and food chains consider. Perhaps then there is potential for farmers to supply directly to supermarkets if their produce reaches the requisite standard. There is an interesting article by World Vision on how they managed to achieve this in Timor-Leste ( ). Supermarkets agreed to send refrigerated trucks to the villages to pick up produce from the local farmers. As such, the focus would be on ensuring that farmers are growing the types of produce that supermarkets are looking to buy, and that the quality of the produce is high. This can be extended to other interested parties like hotels and restaurants.

After reading this article, a potential issue sprung to mind. If Project Everest were to act as a middleman connecting supermarkets with farmers, what kind of value would PE be able to provide? (Assuming that transport is out of the equation if supermarkets have their own refrigerated trucks.) If PE helps them to establish that initial contact, what is to stop them from directly negotiating with each other and cutting costs and layers of communication? Have you managed to find out what value these parties see in a distribution service?


Amber Johnston Jun 30, 2018

Status label added: Work Update