The Produce Monitoring Board (PMB) under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in collaboration with Munafa Cooperative, Moawoma Women Development Association and the Cocoa and Coffee Commodity Association, held its first Price Risk Management (PRM) roll-out training workshop for trainees in Kenema, Kailahun and Kono. The training was funded by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) and the Common Fund for Commodity (CFC) to improve the capacity of leaders and members of Producer Organizations (POs), buying agents, dealers and other stakeholders in the produce sector on how to manage their exposure to the risks associated with the volatile produce market, how to monitor and keep track of their economic activities and the importance and elements to consider while going into contracts.
One thing which is presently evident in the produce sector of the country is the inability of Coops, POs and small businesses to grow. The lacks of knowledge on PRM is certainly one of the causes of this perennial problem in the sector, although it is not the only cause for slow growth. Many people attribute the lack of pre-financing opportunities to slow growth, but ignore to look at the issue from another perspective; if available resources are properly managed and utilized small scale businesses will surely thrive. The lack of a proper business strategy, financial history (book keeping), little knowledge about the risks involved in the produce trade, lack of knowledge about the importance of going into contracts and the volatile nature of the produce market has made development in the sector impossible.
Over the years, the PMB has been working with exporters, POs and farmer organizations to make sure that the income level of the farmer is optimized and to also foster growth in the produce sector. Therefore, the aim of the roll-out training for farmers, PO members, CAs members and other members of the value chain, is to promote their level of understanding on cost analysis, market dynamics, the types and importance of contracts, best risk management and book keeping practices.
The PRM training was a continuation of the training of trainers of trainees that was conducted by the PMB in collaboration with the ICCO and the CFC, in January 2016. The training workshop was spearheaded by the PMB and it lasted for three days with close to 30 participants from different cooperatives, producer organizations, commodity associations, exporters and the media.
The overall goal of the PRM training is to capacitate and support POs to mitigate the negative impact of price risk volatility and to strengthen them to engage the produce market head long.
During the three (3) days allocated to each district, the full package of the PRM training was delivered through power point presentations by the facilitators, before each presentation visual materials were presented to participants for them to be able to comment and raise issues as the presentation went along. Participants were encouraged to contribute and ask questions for further clarifications.
The intended outcome of the exercise was to spur participants’ application of the principles of PRM to develop their businesses, organizations and to cascade the training to their respective communities.