West Africa Cashew Project (PRO-Cashew)

West Africa Cashew Project (PRO-Cashew)

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Overview:

Cashews were introduced to West Africa in the 1960s to fight erosion and desertification. Over the past decade, increased demand, expansion of orchards, and increased government prioritization has caused raw cashew nut production to become a critical commercial activity for smallholder farmers, and a major revenue stream for governments. West African production is also growing faster than that of any other region—10 percent over the past decade, generating $1.5 billion in export sales for over 1.1 million farmers. Côte d’Ivoire is the world leader in cashew production, followed by Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

Cashew gains made by West African producers face several serious challenges: reduced yields due to aging cashew tree stocks, farmers’ limited technical and financial capacity to rehabilitate and renovate aging orchards, and an undeveloped nursery sector unable to provide timely and consistent high-performance seedlings to offset declines in productivity. This is complicated by trade policies that have boosted exports also pit countries against their neighbors, producing uncoordinated, regional policies that weaken public and private-sector support for cashew grower/seller advocacy efforts.

The five-year United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) PRO-Cashew project will work to boost the competitiveness of West African producers by improving efficiency and quality in production and trade, and by working to develop more coherent regional trade and investment policies. In doing so, the project will strengthen producer capacities as well as develop incentives to renovate and rehabilitate cashew farms, improve production and quality, and create a more competitive West African raw cashew nut for the international market.

Program Approach:

  1. Capacity Building: CNFA will build the capacity of farmers through selected farmer organizations and agro-food suppliers over the life of the project in the areas of business and orchard management, and service delivery. In collaboration with the Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew) and the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), CNFA will work with local ministries of agriculture to review training curriculums, identify gaps and mentor extension teams in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), renovation and rehabilitation (R&R), and climate- resilience.
  2. In-Kind Grants for Equipment & Inputs: CNFA will leverage matching contributions of individual grant disbursements from private, public or farmer sources to catalyze private investment, increase stakeholder partners’ and farmers’ profitability, and build the capacity of cashew farmers to renovate and rehabilitate their farms.
  3. Develop Agrodealers & Input Suppliers: CNFA will support Tree Global to improve the efficiency and sustainability of seedling production systems through public-private partnerships, establishing cost-effective, high-performance tree seedlings at central nurseries and distribute seedlings close to farms through rural-based seedling retail businesses. CNFA will also facilitate signing agreements between research entities and the central nurseries to ensure long-term public-private partnerships. PRO-Cashew will coordinate with existing efforts of the governments, World Bank and research institutes.
  4. Develop an Integrated Data System: CNFA, through Development Gateway, will identify gaps in the enabling environment for cashew data collection, storage, usage and dissemination, and address them by building a multi-country cashew data management system (Cashew-IN) that meets policymaker, farmer and private sector needs.
  5. Disperse Improved Market Information: CNFA will strengthen existing data as well as fill significant gaps in data coverage and quality. The integrated Cashew- IN will be accessed and used by farmer organizations, policymakers and private sector investors to understand the national, regional and overseas cashew markets in terms   of supply and demand. It will also monitor the cashew supply chain, support traceability for quality control, and inform evidence-based policies to increase profitability and marketability of cashews in West Africa.
  6. Improve Policy & Regulatory Framework: CNFA will engage with national and regional policy makers, private sector stakeholders, and development agency partners to facilitate and improve regional trade policy cooperation. With the support of regional research centers, CNFA will conduct an analysis of trade policies currently deployed by West African cashew-producing countries and produce annual reports on both country and regional competitiveness, government policy analysis, and foreign direct investment, with quantitative and policy analysis.

Response to Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

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Overview:

With $176 million in exports in 2015, the hazelnut is Georgia’s highest earning agricultural export and supports the livelihoods of over 40,000 families. However, the stability and profitability of the hazelnut sector, as well as the incomes of the smallholder farmers who depend upon it, are being threatened by the rapid growth of a pest known as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).

Originating in China, the BMSB is devastating the hazelnut sector by reducing the quality and quantity of hazelnut kernels. Left uncontrolled, the BMSB could set the country back years of agricultural growth and development in other sectors including apples, corn, grapes, peaches, and vegetables.

To address these challenges, the USAID Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production (REAP) project received an additional $3 million to provide technical assistance and equipment to Georgia’s National Food Agency (NFA) between April 2017 and September 2018. By working closely with the Government of Georgia to develop a State Program with a focus on monitoring and managing the BMSB’s growth, REAP strengthened the capacity of local institutions to limit the agricultural losses caused by the pest. REAP’s efforts also helped the Government of Georgia better understand the BMSB’s biology to better inform management of the infestation.

Program Approach:

  1. State Program Development Support: In partnership with local and U.S.-based entomologists, REAP managed the design and oversight of the Government of Georgia’s action plan through its local Working Group, spearheaded by the NFA. The Working Group was used to develop an implementation strategy, define the monitored area, and calculate the budget of the State Program to combat the infestation;
  2. Communications and Outreach: Because the BMSB was new to Georgia, it was crucial to increase awareness and understanding amongst Georgian farmers, citizens, and extension agents before any monitoring and management strategies could be implemented. In cooperation with the NFA, REAP developed communications materials to educate citizens, District Task Force staff, and other public and private extension agents about BMSB management. A Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping platform augmented the approach, visualizing data for the NFA and general public to track BMSB and other pests;
  3. Training: To prepare Georgia’s Ministry of Agriculture for the monitoring and management the BMSB, REAP delivered a multi-faceted training program on BMSB identification, trap establishment and maintenance, and the safe use and application of pesticides;
  4. Local Capacity Building: Experience in the U.S. and Europe indicated that the invasive BMSB will be present in Georgia for an extended period of time. To ensure that the Government of Georgia is able to manage the BMSB in the present and future, REAP worked with the Ministry of Agriculture to outfit local NFA staff and entomologists with awareness, monitoring and management through local research and a capacity-building trip to the United States;
  5. Procurement Support: To equip the Ministry of Agriculture with the tools necessary to monitor and manage the BMSB, REAP worked with the NFA to procure the required equipment to implement the State Program, such as traps, lures, and spraying equipment.
  6. Private Sector Engagement: In order to manage the infestation, CNFA partnered with Trécé Inc, a US-based leading-edge research and development provide latest solutions in insect population monitoring and control.

Leveraging Digital Solutions to Improve Farmers’ Yields in Egypt

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Across Egypt, many farmers struggle with low productivity, poor quality of produce, and post-harvest losses, resulting in a significant loss in income. Even when crops are healthy, pests can destroy a large part of the harvest, incorrect harvesting techniques can bruise fruits and vegetables and packaging can impact the quality of the produce.

Shaaban Mohamed Ghallab, a farmer in Esna Village, Egypt, previously grew onions solely for his family’s consumption at home. Despite having an interest in expanding his production and selling beyond his home, he lacked the know-how in post-harvest handling to make the change.

The ICT platform sent daily text messages to farmers on agriculture best practices in Arabic

Shaaban is just one of 132 onion farmers participating in the Feed the Future Egypt Food Security and Agribusiness Support (FAS) project that received hands-on technical training to acquire the knowledge and skills on post-harvest handling techniques as well as daily SMS text messages that serve as a timely reminder to follow through on practices learned during training.

Over the course of four weeks, participants were trained on best practices for the harvesting, sorting, and packing of onions and tomatoes for local and export markets. Key messages included; ensuring good hygiene during harvest and handling, minimizing irrigation directly prior to harvest to ensure strong stalks and prevent new root germination, integrated pest management to minimize damage from rats and crows, and proper drying of onions post-harvest. Shaaban was selected as a lead farmer, meaning he applied the best practices from the training and provided advice to farmers both in the program as well as in the broader community. As a trusted voice, farmers often looked to Shaaban for recommendations and reassurance regarding agricultural practices. “Farmers would call me and say, ‘Do we add this amount of fertilizer? Or, do we follow this practice? Yes or no?’” he said.

The FAS project also developed an information and communications technology (ICT) platform with the support of Souktel Digital Solutions to send follow-up text messages to all participating farmers. These messages were sent to remind farmers of best practices to follow leading up to harvest time as well as during harvest time to prompt farmers on how to maintain quality produce and how to correctly package produce for the markets. “Since most everyone has a phone and we do not have the ability to visit each farmer in-person daily, because of the distance in rural areas, this is an easy way to reach the farmer with key knowledge,” said Mahmoud El-Rady, the FAS Post-harvest Coordinator responsible for queuing up the messages in the system. “The SMS messages are written step by step as if someone is sitting right by the farmers side in the field,” he said.

In Shaaban’s case, one of the important reminders he received was right at harvest time, when the onion was ripe and ready to be picked. “They sent messages about how to look at the fruit and understand whether it is the right time to pick it and what is the right amount of water to give it at a specific time around harvest so it is not damaged. This is sensitive timing when every minute counts and we can’t always wait for someone to come to the field,” said Shaaban. As a lead farmer, Shaaban also encouraged other farmers to open the messages since they contained helpful information.

Since the launch of the platform, more than 4,800 messages have been sent to participating farmers that produce tomatoes, onions, and grapes. Recently, the FAS project began creating content surrounding post-harvest best practices for the cultivation of mangos. Since the platform has proven to be an effective method for communicating with farmers, this tool is being expanded to send messages on agricultural best practices during production as well as to share lessons on nutrition, particularly with women in the agro-processing workforce.

In his first year of working with the FAS project and producing onions for market sale, Shaaban sold 45 tons of onion, making a profit of 27,000 Egyptian pounds (~1,511 USD). Since Shaaban and his family were living with two other families, he used the profit from his onion sales to help purchase a new home for his own family. “I was very happy because my first goal was to just get the training on onion [production]. I did not expect that I would also get this profit,” he said. Shaaban is now looking to take the skills he’s learned and expand his farm to plant other crops that reap high profits, such as hibiscus, in addition to continuing with the production of onion.

USAID Feed the Future Egypt Food Security and Agribusiness Support Project Triples Basil Production and Increases Farmer Incomes in Assuit

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Farmer Ayman Solhy

As we walked through Al Sawalem Al Bahareya village in Assuit, a city in Northern Egypt, a sweet scent emanated from the local basil plant. Basil, the village’s main crop, occupies 700 feddans or about one-third of the village’s total 2,160 feddans of cultivated land. Basil is a strategic crop for farmers in this region since it is easy to grow and affordable to produce. Additionally, basil harvesting can occur as often as once per month over five successive months. This means it acts as a steady source of income for farmers and employment for laborers during the harvesting season.

Decreases in Basil Production Due to the Downy Mildew Parasite

In 2015, farmers in Assuit experienced a sharp drop in production as a result of the downy mildew parasite that had begun to infect basil plants in the region. After several inconsistent harvesting seasons, many farmers decided to abandon their basil crops for more consistent crops. “The basil farmers were not able to identify the type of pest that affected their basil and damaged the crop, which made them decide to remove such a strategic crop from their lands,” said Engineer Eslam Al Adawy, Technical Advisor of Feed the Future Egypt, Food Security and Agribusiness Support (FAS) project.

Farmer Abdel Mola Bakry, a board member of Al Sawalem Al Bahareya Agriculture Association, and owner of 20 feddans, including five feddans cultivated with basil, said, “In the last three years, the basil leaves became yellow, with dark dots on the back, and the stem dropped the leaves which decreased the production to 300 kg per feddan for the second and third harvest. We barely harvested three times, while we were used to harvest five times in the season in the last years. This was the reason why we decided to remove the basil crop from our lands and replace it with a more profitable crop.” Additionally, Ayman Solhy, farmer and owner of four feddans told FAS, “I used to produce an average of 4,750 kg of basil per season from the five periods of harvesting. When I faced the downy mildew three years ago, my average production decreased to 1,600 kg per year. I had no access to finance and was not able to hire enough workers for harvesting, land preparation, and transportation. I decided to remove the basil and replaced it with more profitable crops like wheat.”

On the marketing side, Hassan Thabet, a local trader, who makes a prior agreement with the farmers to buy their basil production in return for providing the farmers with advance payments, fertilizers, seeds and pesticides, advised that for the last two years the demand in the market for basil was weak. This resulted in the low selling price of basil and therefore lower incomes for farmers. “Farmers need to use organic spray in order to enable the export of basil, and we need to explore new market channels for basil,” said Hassan Thabet.

With the support of the FAS project which aims to increase the incomes of small holder farmers, the problem was identified, and the farmers were advised on the appropriate pesticide to face the downy mildew. “We did a lot of research to identify the main cause of the problem facing the basil, asked the herbs and spices experts, surfed the internet about the basil diseases, till we discovered the downy mildew. We provided farmers with the technical support to control the downy mildew, which resulted in raising the basil productivity to reach 700 kg per feddan for the second through the fifth harvests, and increased the harvest times back to five times per season instead of three,” said Engineer Eslam Al Adawy, Technical Advisor in FAS project.

Basil Market Constraints and the Way Forward

To combat this, FAS project interventions have been very instrumental in aiding qualifying farmers to produce high quality basil crops, in accordance with the required specifications of the local and export markets. Engineer Eslam Al-Adawy, FAS technical advisor explained, “We trained the farmers on identifying the targeted pest, the use of organic chemicals, the time of spraying, and the maximum residue levels in order to enable exports of the basil production and to generate higher incomes for farmers. The total production of basil per feddan reached 4700 kilos per feddan in the five rounds of harvest compared to 1600 kilos per feddan, with an average increase in sales of EGP 40,000 compared to EGP 14,400 per season, which resulted in a tremendous increase in the incomes of basil farmers in Assuit.”

Preparation of the dry basil

Improving Business for Irish Potato Aggregators Quality Dairy to Market

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Rwanda is the sixth largest producer of Irish potatoes in Africa. However, its competitiveness is challenged by low quality agro-inputs, poor storage capacity, and weak coordination between farmer groups and potential buyers, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Consequently, this leads to low yield, high post-harvest losses and, subsequently, low prices on the market.

However, the difficult situation has turned into a business opportunity for some who are frustrated by the challenges.  Enias Hangiyaremye (44) is an Irish potato aggregator near Kavumu sector in the western district of Ngororero. He started the business in 2014 and it was initially performing well, but, unfortunately, it did not go as well as anticipated due to poor business management, lack of markets, and bad debtors.

Irish potato aggregator Enias Hangiyaremye loading up produce for the market.

In 2018, Enias engaged with HW to benefit from a series of trainings for aggregators and suppliers. Funded by USAID, HW is promoting the production, marketing, and consumption of Irish potatoes together with other value chains – HIB, OFSP, maize, and horticulture – for 560,000 farmers across 10 districts. The aims is to increase farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of women and children, and increase the resilience of agricultural and food systems to a changing climate.

Together with 32 other aggregators, Enias gained skills in business management -– including quality assurance, record keeping, and contract farming – to grow his Irish potato business. He now sells 20 MT, up from 15 MT when he started with HW, and he is able to buy in bulk at the time of harvest, manage stock, and deliver to clients on time, thereby sustaining the market for farmers. Enias has also diversified the business and is now managing an input credit scheme worth 27.4 million ($31.3million) for 160 Irish potato farmers. “I help farmers to access agro inputs like Irish potato seeds, lime, and fertilizers on credit and they pay back after harvest,” observed Enias.

To promote all HW value chains, Enias, and 11 other aggregators were assisted to sign 68 contracts for the supply of 164 MT of Irish potatoes, 5,212 MT of maize, 150 MT of high iron beans, 8,472 MT of horticulture crops and 929 KG of OFSP. Sales are now worth USD $3,876,427 and farmers are able to access finance worth 1.416 billion RWF (USD $1.62 M).

Managing business is no easy task, but, through HW, aggregators are finding a niche in the unpredictable Irish potato market.

Support for Agro-Dealers improves business and access to farm input

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Agro-dealers are an essential part of the agricultural value chain system, but their business can be lucrative or daunting depending on which side of the coin you flip. Uwayisaba Pacifique (35), and mother of two, has experienced the downside of this. She has been an agro-dealer in Ngororero District for the last 9 years since 2009, and her business first registered growth, but later slowed down, making losses due to low profits and delays in the delivery of goods.

“I had to close 20 out of my 25 outlets to cut on losses and stay afloat. I used to stock 2,500 tons per year, now this has shrunk to 700 tons,” she explained. Her woes resulted from operating in a disorganized business environment with no clear guidelines to follow.

The introduction of (APTC), Agro Processing Trust Corporation, as a one distribution agency also meant that the 100Rwf per kilogram that Agro-Dealers gained had to reduce to 30 Rwf. The arrangement also had other side-effects. Agro-Dealers in a particular locality were required to wait for others to place their orders, making some run out of stock and fail to deliver on time what smallholder farmer what to buy in time for a particular season.

Pacifique Uwayisaba makes inventory of fertilizers before distribution

“My clients would find when I have run out of stock while waiting for other Agro-Dealers to make their order to have a single delivery. This was hurting my business and I lost many clients to my rivals,” Pacifique observed.

Not out of options, Pacifique joined Agro-Dealers being organized by Hinga Weze in ten districts of Gatsibo, Bugesera, Rutsiro, Nyabihu, Karongi, Nyamasheke, Nyamagabe, Kayonza, Ngoma, and Ngororero. With funding from USAID and Feed the Future, Hinga Weze is mobilizing Agro-Dealers to provide affordable and easily accessible inputs as one of the mechanisms to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food to a changing climate.

The first step for Hinga Weze was to arrange for Agro-Dealers to get certified. Pacifique has been sensitized on the 2012 Organic Law governing agrochemicals as well as the Ministerial Order of 2016 regulating agrochemicals and is now sensitizing others. So far Hinga Weze has assisted 212 Agro-Dealers to comply with the agrochemical law out of 240 Agro-Dealers that operating in the 10 districts. Pacifique is among the 7 Agro-Dealers already certificated in April 2018 by the regulating body RALIS (Rwanda Agriculture Livestock Inspection and Certification Services).

To improve on profit margin, Hinga Weze carried out an assessment on the fertilizer subsidies and pricing impact that established losses Agro-Dealers incur in business. Lobbying on their behalf, profits on agro inputs have been revised, increasing the profit margin by 10Rwf per kg from 30Rwf francs to 40Rwf.  This includes 2Rwf for the farmer promoter.

“1 felt empowered when I was given the certificate, and this new profit margin means I can increase my annual stock up again to 1,000 tons,” observed Pacifique.

Hinga Weze is mobilizing Agro-Dealers to form cooperatives, building on 30 already registered countrywide. As head of Agro-Dealers in Ngororero, Pacifique is borrowing a leaf from Nyamagabe Agro-Dealers’ cooperative that now has distribution rights around the district. Her group is now requesting to have the same distribution rights, thereby increasing the profit margin by 3Rwf per kg allocated as distribution fee.  The sky is the limit for this enterprising woman.

Scheme Offers Rural Farmers Access to Affordable Inputs on Credit

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While agro-dealers have potential to drive smallholder farming and transform agriculture, their business is often impeded by the limitations in purchasing power of their poor clientele because of low purchase power among, who are typically poor, rural farmers. The consequence has been dire on the quality of yield since most Most rural farmers are unable to access agro-chemicals and equipment, which negatively impacts the quality and size of their yields. To overcome this, agro-dealers are assisting farmers to access credit.

Kantarama Patricie is an agro-dealer who is changing improving farmers; experiences in Rurembo sector, Nyabihu district. To sustain her business, she needed to build client confidence among farmers and farmer promoters (FPs), who in turn support improved access to affordable products. Kantarama’s opportunity came when she was mobilized by HW to join an input credit scheme, a model that links farmers to agro-dealers for business on credit. The result has been promising. She has already registered enough profits where, this season alone, she has extended credit to 42 farmers (32 males and 10 females).

Kantarama is one of the agro-dealers being assisted by Hinga Weze to join the scheme. With funding USAID and Feed the Future, HW is supporting agro-dealers to use the input credit scheme model where farmers access products on credit to use on credit and are and they are able to repay the loan after harvest or sale of produce. The arrangement is part of the project’s wider mandate to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of women and children, and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate.

Now with this possibility of accessing inputs on credit, farmers are reaping from improved yield and better the benefits of improved yields and productivity. Through the input credit scheme, a total of 1,346 farmers in four districts have accessed input with a credit value of 26.1 million RWF. In Kayonza alone, 260 farmers accessed credit worth 2.13 million RWF. In Rutsiro (KOABUNYA Cooperative farmers), 972 farmers accessed input worth 2.8 million, in RWF. In Ngororero, an aggregator. called Anias, provided input credit worth 20.6 Million RWF to 72 farmers, while an aggregator in Nyabihu, Patrice, provided with Patricie, 42 farmers were assisted to with 604,400 RWF worth of input credit.

Kantarama alone was able to supply on creditsupplied 204 KGg of maize seed, H629, 500KGkg of DAP, Urea (289.5KGkg), NPK (140KGkg), Dethane (15KGkg), Ridomil (1KGg) and Rocket (five5 liters equivalent to Rwf 604,400 RWF to farmers on credit.

“I decided to provide inputs on credit to these farmers because HW built their capacity through training on financial literacy,” stated Patricie said. One of her clients, Sebageni Tharcisse, a farmer in Rurembo sector, says he was able to acquire products on credit ranging from NPK (90 KG), Urea (45KG), Dethane (10 KG), Ridomil (KG) and Rocket – two2 bottles) worth 110,000 RWF.

“I’m happy that I don’t have to sell off my sheep to be able to pay the agro-dealer, I can now pay back after harvest,” observed a visibly excited Sebageni.  With easy access to agro-inputs, farmers are set to improve their yield while agro-dealers gain vital clients and market for agrochemicals.

Access to Finance Opens Opportunities for Women in Agribusinesses

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Rwanda has registered commendable expansion in the financial sector in the recent past, enabling players in the sector to grow as well. Despite this positive trend, most women continue to miss out, are excluded or underserved. Their worst ordeal is the existence of non-financial barriers like operating in rural settings, low financial literacy and bias towards women as not being bankable enough But there is now hope for women venturing in .

Phoebe Nyirafeza proudly stands at the entrance of her business shop in Karongi

Like most women, Phoebe Nyirafeza (49), a resident of Karongi District, has faced the lows and highs of succeeding ins usually reserved for men. Faced with the pressure of fending for the family after her husband retired in 2011, Phoebe started a small factory called DAZI that processed maize flour locally known as Kawunga. Maize is abundantly produced in Karongi and this seemed an opportunity to add value to a commodity that was readily available and had market locally She produces a mixture of porridge products, of mixed cereals and cracked corn to feed domestic animals.

However, all was not smooth since her business depended on the quality of yield and seasonal hazards, and this made high quality maize scarce. Being credit-shy worsened her situation, making it hard to raise enough capital to maintain keep her business afloat Suddenly her prominence as a shrewd business woman around Rubengera Sector where she resides started to fade as business went decreased.

“This business has been challenging because I needed money to pay suppliers and to buy the best maize grades, yet prices have shot up,” Nyirafeza says with a frown on her face. The hard fact of seeing her business worth 28 million in capita lgo down was a rude awakening, Opportunity came when Hinga Weze assessed her business, offered training on record keeping, and linked her to INKUNGA Micro- Finance that provided credit worth 106,000,000 million RWF in September2018. “From the first installment of 20 million RWF, I managed to restock raw materials and repair machines. Production has already improved.”

As a USAID/Feed the Future-funded project, HW facilitates farmers to access finance, linking them to financial service providers. This is part of its wider goal of sustainably increasing smallholder farmers’ income, improving the nutritional status of women and children, and increasing the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate. Hinga Weze intends to transform 560,000 smallholder farmers in ten districts.

Phoebe Nyirafeza proudly displays her improved stock in the rented warehouse

By providing technical assistance to lenders to develop farmer-friendly loan products and build capacity for Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), Hinga Weze has enabled agribusinesses to thrive. In Karongi alone, 155 women have been assisted to receive loans worth 127,417,000 RWF. Like Phoebe, they are encouraging other women in agribusiness to improve on business record keeping, apply for credit and make their businesses thrive.

Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity

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Overview: 

Because improved technologies that are affordable, impactful, and safe have not yet penetrated the vast smallholder market in Pakistan, smallholders continue to use outdated and less effective technologies, leading to stagnant or dwindling productivity and returns, particularly in the horticulture and livestock sub-sectors.

To combat these challenges, the $8.2 million Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity (PATTA) funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been working since April 2017 to increase smallholder farmers’ access to markets, alongside their overall development impact and cost-effectiveness. By building on CNFA’s 10-year history of successful implementation in Pakistan, PATTA is galvanizing ongoing private-sector investment to commercialize the types of agricultural technologies that enable smallholders to increase their incomes, create jobs, and enhance economic growth and stability. These technologies include seeds, fertilizers, water pumps, improved plant and animal breeds, precision agriculture, and integrated soil fertility management, amongst others.

By the completion of project activities in April 2021, PATTA will have created new, strong, and sustainable private-sector relationships that meet the evolving needs of smallholder farmers and drive increased productivity and economic growth across Pakistan.

Program Approach:

CNFA is collaborating with and building upon previous investments by USAID and development programs to improve the lives of smallholder farmers through the following three-pillared approach:

  1. Enable agricultural technology-related businesses to expand, adapt, and market their products and services to meet smallholder farmers’ needs.
    CNFA is undertaking the initial and ongoing market and cost-benefit analyses, as well as outreach to key stakeholders based on the findings of these analyses. In addition, CNFA is overseeing a competitive process leading to detailed memorandums of understanding and technical support, and comprehensive technical support and capacity building. In doing so, PATTA is making the business case for sustained private-sector investments in technology transfer, adaptations, outreach, and marketing such that profitable, inclusive output marketing opportunities for smallholders over the long term can be identified.
  2. Increase smallholder farmers’ access to affordable, appropriate, and effective agricultural technologies.
    Sustaining increased access to improved technologies that are adapted to smallholder needs requires focused, strategic efforts by demand-side stakeholders who stand to profit from this outcome. These stakeholders include technology retailers like agrodealers and arthis—Pakistani agricultural agents who act as middlemen buying and selling inputs on commission and often making loans to smallholders—as well as microfinance institutions and banks that profit when they provide more loans and financial services to expanding agribusinesses and farmers’ associations. PATTA’s holistic approach of capacity building and technical support complements the new marketing and outreach plans of technology companies to inspire sustained investments in the vast smallholder market.
  3. Scale the adoption and use of agricultural technologies.
    PATTA is supporting the collective work of supply- and demand-side partners to launch and sustain demonstration activities that provide evidence of the value of improved technologies. These include the promotion of activities with a proven record of success, such as field days, demonstration plots, and peer-to-peer education by champion farmers. Such demonstration activities leverage various mediums, including radio broadcasts, videos, and mobile exhibits that reach women in purdah and other underserved groups.