Marketing is another strong point in the NOWEFOR Strategy. At the beginning of 2008, a series of working sessions were held to come up with strategies to make production sustainable with improved markets. An input capitalisation fund for farmers within a micro credit scheme was created wherein, all capital including commission on sales are deposited after sales. This money through the aid of the Zonal Management committee (ZMC) is ploughed into the business to ensure sustainability. 3.9 million FCFA was realized by Dec 2010, mobilized from poultry, pig farmers and gardeners.
Market surveys of NOWEFOR producers of crop and livestock are conducted aimed at bringing out the maximum production capacity of NOWEFOR farmers in order to facilitate market negotiation in the organization. Also, market survey of the buyers of pigs, table birds and garden crops are done, aimed at better understanding the buyer behavior through the study of clusters of consumers, examining their purchasing process and motivation, then using the knowledge to improve on the marketing activity (making sure the farmers having maximum profit).
More than 500 farmers have been trained on group marketing techniques and on how to better exploit the market avenues around them. Village market committees formed put in place Market Representatives (MR) who are responsible for collecting the products available and supplying them to the identified buyers.
Prospects for the production of watermelon (Citrullus Lantanus) in the North West Region of Cameroon
Watermelon is one of the world’s all time favorite fruits. A cool juicy watermelon is a refreshing fruit for many. You can find it at almost every outdoor party and in the fruits section of most food markets. Of the many tropical African Countries (Senegal, Sudan, Somalia, etc.) where water melon does well, Cameroon is one of the main producers with a total production of 28000tonnes in 2002. Although little information is yet available on the production dynamics of water melon in Cameroon, the growing of this fruit is a recent activity to farmers of the North West region of the Country.
During the last 2 years, garden farmers of the North West Region have greatly embraced the cultivation of watermelon. Most young farmers in the region confess that watermelon production is presently the most highly paid garden crop reason why more and more youths are getting involved in its production and commercialization.
Based on NOWEFOR’s experience working with rural communities, community-based knowledge is hardly shared even within the community amongst community members. The progressive reduction in the traditional mode of communication has contributed to a decrease in the circulation of such experience. The ever increasing size of local communities has no doubt also had its role. Many people are reticent about sharing their experience or are convinced they have nothing to offer. One of the major tasks in opening up and sharing experience and knowledge locally consists of encouraging individuals to value their experience.
In this light, NOWEFOR is sharing its field experience, in the “stress free cultivation of watermelon”. This is a local method that is used by the farmers and provides excellent results. The good yield coupled with improved techniques on marketing agricultural produce results in better income for the farmers and thus a higher potential for watermelon business in the North West Region.