Malawi Market Link: Understanding small farmers’ profits through an excel model

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2016-12-01
Authors
Reicks, Olivia
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Honors Projects and Posters
University Honors Program

The Honors project is potentially the most valuable component of an Honors education. Typically Honors students choose to do their projects in their area of study, but some will pick a topic of interest unrelated to their major.

The Honors Program requires that the project be presented at a poster presentation event. Poster presentations are held each semester. Most students present during their senior year, but may do so earlier if their honors project has been completed.

This site presents project descriptions and selected posters for Honors projects completed since the Fall 2015 semester.

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Malawi is food insecure due, in part, to lack of consistent marketplace access. This essay analyzes a linear simulation model in excel. The purpose of the model is to understand which variables affect the quantity of pigeon peas shipped from farm to market in small villages. The model’s objective function maximizes small farmers’ profits in Malawi. The variables in the model are base price, infrastructure rate, distance traveled, warehouse rate, and days to sell date. Due to inconsistent data in rural Africa, the model’s input variables may be easily changed. For example, the user of the model could see how changes in base price affect the quantity shipped. The quantity shipped is used to calculate the small farmers’ profits. The results of the model show the importance of economies of scale and differences in transportation and warehousing costs.

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