More products and sales for EDA farmers in Agricultural Fair
Tegucigalpa, November 17, 2007.- In an effort to help farmers to attract and keep their clientele by improving ways to handle fresh products, thus reducing losses caused by mechanical damage and dehydration, the Farmers Training and Development Activity (FTDA) of MCA-Honduras is testing a pilot project with four of FTDA´s beneficiary farmers at the weekly Agricultural Fair of Tegucigalpa.
The pilot project is promoting new types of sales-exhibition stands, structures, product handling and customers relations, in order to develop new production systems and offer fresh fruits and vegetables in good conditions.
Mrs. Maribel Zúniga practically did all her shopping at the stand of Don Rufinos Amador, an FTDA beneficiary.
"This new systems is very convenient since you can find everything displayed in order and with good selection… it's very pleasant to see how tidy and clean everything is” expressed Maribel Zúniga, one of the many clients that are pleased with the changes.
Jimy Ponce, President of the Association of Agricultural and Handycrafts Producers of the Fair in Tegucigalpa, expressed his satisfaction for the assistant provided by FTDA.
This activity is being sponsored by other promoters such as Swisscontact and the Fair´s organizers, which are interested in assisting farmers to improve their operations and sales in the local market, and to promote strong bases to transform them into international exporters, complying with specifications required to certify their farms according to international levels.
Due to current conditions at the fair, products remain exposed to sun, placed on wooden platforms covered with plastic sheets or directly on the floor; the roofs of the stands are in bad shape; and, being inconveniently exhibited and in bulk, products are usually damaged by buyers, also present array does not allow contact between clients and buyers.
The training being offered by MCA-Honduras comprises marketing techniques such as the use of bright colors and the arrangement of displays to facilitated access and selection of products – narrow shelves, goods disposed in one or two layers, goods stored in boxes for easy replacement –, all in an effort to reduce losses and improve food safety of all products.
Sales at the fair reach about 15 million lempiras weekly, and the adoption of innovative marketing practices to exhibit goods might result in better results for both clients and farmers.
Although this pilot project is being conducted with just a few of FTDA beneficiaries, there are about 18 farmers currently participating in the fair that are already receiving technical assistant in soil preparation, cultivation practices, harvesting, post-harvesting and marketing.
The idea behind these sales points designed to compete with supermarkets and after the success obtained (products sold faster, other farmers were interested to learn about the new system and customers reacted positively) is to encourage the fair´s vendors to improve their stands. FTDA´s objective is also aimed to stimulate the vendors´ competitive attitude by increasing the added value of the complete sales process.
An example of how products are displayed to preserve their freshness and good quality.
"Since we started working with FTDA, we have been moving our products in boxes, but this is the first time that we present our goods for sale this way. With FTDA specialists we have been able to improve our profit in more that 25 and 35%”, said Mr. Terencio Raudales, one of the participants in the pilot project in Ocotal, Monte Redondo, Francisco Morazán.