Haswel Filiton of Demera Cooperative
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Haswell Filiton and I am married with 3 children. I come from Seketse village in T/A Kabudula in Lilongwe, Malawi. I am a Demera Cooperative member. I am also the current secretary of the cooperative.
I am responsible for bookkeeping and taking notes from the organised meetings. I document all the transactions by the co-op when the money is withdrawn from or deposited to the bank.
When did you join the cooperative?
At first, it was just an informal association. Later, in 2018, we received cooperative training (via Empower Malawi) and we became a full cooperative affiliated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry. This was when Empower Malawi started working with us to empower us with capacity building to help us grow.
Why did you choose to participate in the cooperative?
Back in the day, I was farming on my own and I was finding it difficult to sell my farm produce as I also had to find markets on my own. I have been able to participate in the co-op and sell our products as a group which helps us to have one agreed price of our produce and sell together for a good profit. The co-op also helps to gather all the farm produce together and sell at once, which eases the cost of transportation. It has been very productive to participate in the co-op as I am able to learn about more things with regard to modern farming.
As a cooperative participant can you tell us how you have benefited from the coop?
I was growing only maize and at a small scale but since I joined the cooperative I started growing many types of crops to the extent that I grew 5 acres of maize, 2 acres of soy, 1.5 acres of paprika and sold them through the cooperative and I managed to build a new house with iron sheets. Honestly, my family is living happily now.
I have participated in training from the cooperative for capacity-building as these were areas that I was not very much knowledgeable of. I am now able to produce and manage budgets, see how much to spend on farm inputs, on my family, and much more.
It has been a wonderful journey working with cooperatives as I have been very much encouraged to work as a group. I am able to differentiate selling the farm products on my own and selling through the cooperative as the profit is much higher.