Improved Market Information Services programs increase farmers’ income and knowledge

    | May 28, 2012

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    This week’s story about a market glut in Niger shows what can happen when farmers do not have full information about markets. In the Nigerien situation, the number of farmers producing onions had grown, and onion yields had increased. On top of that, the foreign traders who had purchased the previous season’s crop hadn’t sold it all. Thus, the market was flooded with onions. Naturally, the price dropped and the onion farmers lost money.

    The farmers wouldn’t have grown onions if they had known the situation beforehand. Information about produce markets and prices is available on Market Information Service (MIS) programs on many local radio stations. But few MIS programs do the kind of research required to give growers and buyers a full picture of the market.

    Our most recent script package contains a two-part script which talks about improvements that can be made to traditional MIS programs, which simply announce prices at local markets. Improved MIS programs go far beyond broadcasting lists of buying and selling prices for local staples. They connect buyers and sellers; they help growers choose which crops to grow next season; they educate growers on local, regional and international markets; they help growers understand markets in general (!); they help growers grasp the benefits of storing their produce and selling when prices are higher – and many, many other things.

    This two-part script can be accessed at: and