On Monday, January 18, 2016, AGCO kicked off its fifth annual AGCO Africa Summit in Berlin, Germany. Hundreds from around the world gathered together to discuss how to make Africa more food secure through inclusive and sustainable growth. CNFA President and CEO Sylvain Roy joined an impressive lineup of panelists and specifically addressed the importance of developing both agrodealerships and the livestock industry during the “Nutrition and Food Security: Examining Incentives for Private Sector Driven Growth” panel discussion.
During his presentation, Roy mentioned the following:
“Access to high-quality agricultural inputs is a crucial element in boosting farm productivity and competitiveness while improving nutrition. Since 1996, CNFA has supported the development of an important agrodealer network across Africa and also in other countries throughout Eastern Europe and South Asia. Because of these agrodealerships, smallholder farmers are able to reduce their travel time to and from agrodealer outlets, access a range of high-quality inputs, and receive various services such as machinery and veterinary assistance.
“In addition to the development of agrodealerships, we must continue to invest resources to strengthen Africa’s livestock industry. Our strategy involves engaging with private actors in the middle of the value chain to encourage stronger commercial relationships between processors, traders, exporters and livestock producers. In Ethiopia, this approach is being championed in the dairy, meat and live animal sectors where new markets have opened for those industries as a result.
“I’m proud to be part of this conference and greatly appreciate AGCO’s continued support in finding collaborative solutions to ensuring a sustainable food supply for Africa.”
On Thursday, January 7, USAID Director of Southern African Affairs, Bradley Bessire, and Deputy Mission Director, Bruce Abrams, visited Amalia project sites in the Gwanda district as part of a two-day field visit for Mr. Bessire in Zimbabwe. The trip’s objective was to contextualize the USAID/Zimbabwe portfolio and to evaluate the scope and severity of the current lean season and El Niño’s impact on food security in Zimbabwe. The USAID delegation first visited two completed Amalima Cash For Assets (CFA) initiatives: the rehabilitated Mtshabezi dip tank and newly constructed Mbuyane Dam. Visitors also met with the Vukuzenzele Villiage Savings & Loan (VS&L) group and spent time at a distribution at the Mtshabezi Clinic.
Cash for Assets is a component of Amalima’s strategy to building community resilience that gets vital cash in the hands of vulnerable households and supports Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) plans in the program’s four target districts. Amalima pays beneficiaries a daily wage for labor in support of the production of shared community assets, as prioritized in the community’s DRR plan. The Mtshabezi dip tank, one of these shared assets, now helps prevent tick-borne diseases for 1,800 cattle belonging to 200 households, in turn strengthening livelihoods in a place where the climate is not favorable for crop production. The Mbuyane dam will provide a source of water for around 3,000 livestock to drink from in an area where access to and availability of water is a significant challenge.
The USAID delegation met with the Vukuzenzele Villiage Savings & Loan (VS&L) group, which includes 17 women using group savings to engage in poultry production as a joint income-generating activity. The group rears indigenous chickens, and has saved more than $1,400 to date. The members of Vukuzenzele VS&L also participate in Amalima conservation agriculture (CA) training and have worked together this season to ensure that each member’s plot is prepared using CA techniques.
The delegation also visited a food distribution at Mtshabezi Clinic, which highlighted Amalima’s response to the low 2014/2015 rainfall season and resulting poor harvests. In 2015, Amalima received USAID approval to provide an additional protective ration of lentils, sorghum, and fortified vegetable oil during lean season months (November – April) to supplement the existing individual beneficiary ration (fortified corn soy blend and vegetable oil). This helped to ensure that increased food insecurity and ration sharing brought on by the drought does not hinder program progress in preventing chronic malnutrition. At a nearby homestead, our USAID visitors also participated in a healthy cooking demonstration using a fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly Amalima eco-stove.
Deputy Mission Director Bruce Abrams stressed to communities that Amalima’s purpose and USAID’s aim is to shift from dependence on food assistance towards complete self-sufficiency through improved agricultural and livestock production, income generation and community resilience. Throughout the visit, the current El Niño drought conditions were a topic of interest. The group solicited feedback from each community the Amalima team visited, taking account of their experiences and comparisons with past seasons.
The drought makes food security an even greater issue for 2016.
By: CNFA Farmer-to-Farmer Team
This article is a contribution to a four-week blog series celebrating 30 years of USAID’s John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program.
From November 16 – December 11, 2015, partners of the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program are sharing their knowledge and experience in providing volunteer technical assistance to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, service providers, and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries. Closely aligned with Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, the F2F Program works to support inclusive agriculture sector growth, facilitate private sector engagement in the agriculture sector, enhance development of local capacity, and promote climate-smart development. Targeted volunteer assignments address host-led priorities to expand economic growth in ways which increase incomes and improve access to nutritious food. This blog series aims to capture and share the experiences of hosts, volunteers, and program partners.
Bruce Williams owns Lakeside Farm Inc., a farming and timber business in Virginia and North Carolina, and is a veteran Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer who has worked with the program since 1995. He is also the President and owner of Agronomy and Horticulture Services, L.L.C., which leads pesticide safety recertification and training programs. Bruce recently sat down with CNFA’s F2F Country Director for Mozambique, Antonio Aljofre, to speak about the impact and future of the Farmer-to-Farmer program.
Bruce Williams: Hi Antonio, how are you? Glad to hear you are visiting stateside. Is this the first time you have been to Washington D.C.?
Antonio Aljofre: Yes, it’s my first time to U.S. It has been a great opportunity to meet our colleagues and see how things are moving here in the U.S.
BW: Oh wow, yes, it’s quite impressive up there to see all the museums. I hope you’re getting time to get around to see some of the sights.
AA: Yeah, well time has been very busy, but I have seen some incredible things so far. As you know, in Mozambique, you worked with very smallholder farmers. I was able to meet some smallholder farmers in the U.S., and they were totally different.
BW: Oh, yes, it’s a different world altogether.
AA: So let’s get started, how has your experience been volunteering with Farmer-to-Farmer? I know that you have been not just to Mozambique, but to Bolivia, Moldova, and Nepal, among others, and most recently completed an intensive pesticide assignment in Angola.
BW: Yeah, that was a lot of work but I enjoyed it. I learned a lot – it has been very beneficial because I get to learn new things, learn about new people. I almost feel guilty because I usually learn a lot more on these trips than what I give. I see all sorts of new insects and plant diseases, and I learn a lot about people and about culture. All of the assignments are fun, some of them are more work, but the common thread is that they are all interesting.