An Overview of NASFAM

The National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi (NASFAM) is the largest smallholder owned membership organisation in Malawi. It is founded on the principles of collective action and is democratically governed by its members.

 All NASFAM's operations are guided by its vision to be:

 “the leading smallholder-owned business and development organisation in Malawi, producing economic and social benefits for members, their communities and the country”.


with the mission of NASFAM being:

 “to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Through a sustainable network of smallholder-owned business organisations, NASFAM promotes farming as a business in order to develop the commercial capacity of its members, and delivers programmes which enhance member productivity”

Funded by the US Government, the NASFAM concept was set up in 1995 to support and organise smallholder tobacco production. Since that time, the NASFAM focus has diversified to production of other cash and food crops. NASFAM, as it is now, was legally registered under the Trustees Incorporation Act in February 1998.

 

How NASFAM is organised

NASFAM is a farmer-member controlled system. This control starts at Association level. The NASFAM system is organised into a unique extension network to support its membership of around 100,000 smallholder farmers. The smallest operational unit of NASFAM is the Club, made up of 10-15 individual farmers. Clubs combine to form Action Groups that are the key points in the extension network for dissemination of information to members, and for the bulking of member crops. Action Groups combine to form NASFAM's Associations.  Currently, NASFAM has 43 associations.

NASFAM Associations are legally registered entities, member-owned and managed by annually elected farmer Boards. The Associations are grouped by geographical location under 14 Association Management Centres (AMCs). These provide management and operational support to the Associations in terms of production, marketing and community development. The AMCs are in turn supported and managed by the NASFAM Head Office structure.

 

Membership Services

NASFAM functions are split into Commercial and Development activities. These provide members with both the commercial and development services they need.  Commercial services include improved access to output and input (e.g. seed and fertiliser) markets and expanding range of value-addition opportunities. 

Development services include comprehensive training support in best agricultural practices using conservation principles adapted to climate challenges; programmes on HIV and AIDS, gender equality, food and nutrition security and association governance. Services are propagated through direct member contact supported by radio and ICT approaches and supported by active engagement in the policy arena.

NASFAM's Commercial and Development operations are respectively divided between an independently registered for-profit company and a legally registered NGO. Both are governed by a Farmer Board, which is democratically elected each year by the membership.