The National Agricultural Fair that took place between the 12th and 15th of September 2018 was a very insightful experience for us at Pump Aid. It was organised by the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) and the Ministry of Agriculture amongst others; and it involved over 150 organisations, and included top government officials including the President of Malawi, Prof Peter Mutharika.
We were represented by Chikondi Kaomba (Programmes Manager of the Mchinji District), Patricia Tebulo (Project Facilitator of the Kasungu District) and Chiyembekezo Ndala (Programmes Manager of the Kasungu District).
Overall Purpose of the Fair
The agricultural fair gave us the opportunity to expand our business network to include development partners and farmers across the country. It also helped us to ensure that vulnerable communities have access to water (using rope and washer pumps) for both irrigation and household use at a reasonable cost.
The fair was a great environment for us to identify potential business partners or organisations willing to purchase our products. We also anticipated expanding our footprint to establish a public private partnership with stakeholders that will work with Pump Aid Beyond Water.
During the fair, we were able to showcase rope pumps for irrigation and domestic purposes. We also interacted with business partners within the agriculture and the WASH sector, giving them the opportunity to operate it, understand its functionality and maintain it.
Activities that took place
Through taking part in a well-established fair we were able to facilitate market linkages in the agricultural value chain. Furthermore, we had the opportunity to not only distribute material such as leaflets, brochures and posters but also participate in discussions with potential customers about the maintenance of pumps, the capacity , the cost of installation and also where they can access the pumps in the southern region of Malawi.
Taking a more proactive approach, we demonstrated to potential customers how to operate the pumps and also how to maintain it. The customers were given the opportunity to test the pump and understand how it works and also how to fix it when the need arises. Lastly, we were able to appreciate what other organisations were doing and look at the strength and weakness of our competitors and the areas whereby we can improve.
As a result taking part in the agricultural fair was a learning curve and a great and fulfilling opportunity for us at Pump Aid. It allowed us to:
Identify potential buyers.
Establish business networks promoting small-scale irrigation and WASH.
Learn marketing strategies from other organisations and how they position their products.
Advertise the pumps.
Through this fair, Pump Aid continues to strive to achieve our mission of bring lasting positing change to the lives of people through improving the quality, availability and use of water within vulnerable Malawian communities in need and beyond.