Farmer-to-Farmer Program: Southern Africa

Farmer-to-Farmer Program: Southern Africa

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Overview

The five-year USAID-funded John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program connects expert volunteers working in the U.S. agriculture sector with host-country farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, and other relevant institutions to strengthen agricultural value chains and promote sustainable improvements in food security and agricultural processing, production, and marketing.

The Program’s primary aim is to generate sustainable, broad-based economic growth in the agricultural sector through voluntary technical assistance. A secondary goal is to increase the U.S. public’s understanding of international development issues and programs and international understanding of the U.S. and U.S. development programs.

Approach

The Southern Africa F2F Program, implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), builds on partnerships established during the previous iteration of the program, which ran from 2018-2023. With a focus on rural enterprise development, the Program employs a market systems approach to address the barriers preventing smallholder farmers from accessing local market systems and opportunities. Technical assistance in production strengthening, enterprise development, and market facilitation helps farmers integrate into their local economies and identify opportunities for growth, improving incomes and contributing to regional economic development.

To diffuse innovative technologies and practices, the Program will also partner with Feed the Future Innovation Labs, U.S. universities, researchers, and leaders in the U.S. agribusiness sector. Additionally, the Program will continue its Processor-to-Processor initiative, a collaboration with the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS) and Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab, which pairs AOCS members with agroprocessors in Southern Africa.​

Volunteer assignments are developed and implemented with a strong focus on climate-smart agriculture and inclusive development, emphasizing work with women, youth, and individuals with disabilities. Assignments focus on the following examples, among others:

  1. Production Strengthening:
    • Integrated Pest Management
    • Integrated Soil Fertility Management
    • Climate Smart Agriculture practices
    • Improved input and seed systems
    • Best practices in crop and livestock production
  2. Market Facilitation:
    • Market analysis
    • Pricing
    • Contract negotiations
    • Traceability, certification, and food safety
    • Outgrower scheme support
  3. Enterprise Development: 
    • Business management
    • Strategic planning
    • Organizational development
    • Financial management
    • Finance access

HOW TO BECOME A HOST OR VOLUNTEER

  1. Potential hosts and volunteers contact F2F to express interest in partnering with the Program.
  2. F2F develops a scope of work for each assignment based on the requirements of the host and experience of prospective volunteers.
  3. F2F matches hosts with volunteers based on their expertise and F2F’s available assignments. Please note that recruitment time varies depending on availability and that assignments usually last three weeks.
  4. In-country F2F teams provide logistical support for hosts and volunteers and hire translators as needed.

Learn More About the F2F Program: Contact us at f2frecruitment@cnfa.org

Feed the Future Zimbabwe Non-Timber Forest Products Global Development Alliance

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Overview

The five-year Feed the Future Zimbabwe Non-Timber Forest Products Global Development Alliance (NTFP GDA) works across 23 districts of Zimbabwe to expand the market for Zimbabwean non-timber forest products (NTFPs), such as baobab, marula, Kalahari melon, and Ximenia. The NTFP GDA—a partnership between USAID, CNFA, and Organic Africa—will train and engage new farmers and wild collectors as specialty-certified suppliers and develop new processing facilities and technologies to expand the domestic and international supply of natural ingredients from Zimbabwe.

Leveraging $7.7 million in private sector investment, the NTFP GDA seeks to provide new and sustainable income-generating opportunities for 12,000 smallholder farmers and wild collectors while protecting at least 160,000 hectares of forest and farmland through the introduction of improved community-led natural resource management, carbon market engagement, and organic farming practices. It also seeks to improve the resilience of vulnerable and marginalized communities, particularly women and youth, by increasing and diversifying household incomes and strengthening environmental stewardship from the commercialization of NTFPs in Zimbabwe.

By creating income-generating opportunities that rely on nutritious and diverse forest resources and by paying premium prices for products with organic, Fair Trade, FairWild, and UEBT certifications, the GDA will incentivize the protection of natural resources and the adoption of sustainable farming practices.

Approach

The NTFP GDA will expand Organic Africa’s geographic reach and community-based supplier network, building on the company’s core values of social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

The GDA will focus on three inter-related components to achieve its overall objectives:

  1. Increased Production and Supply: Through targeted training for 12,000 smallholder farmers and wild collectors and investment in tools for the local primary processing of raw materials, the NTFP GDA will improve the supply of NTFPs that meet market standards and increase income-generating opportunities in rural communities. Engaging new suppliers and other market actors in Organic Africa’s supply chain will provide men, women, and youth with the training and tools that they need to increase yields, enhance efficiency, and meet certification requirements to achieve premium pricing.
  2. Enhanced Product Quality: The GDA will introduce new processing equipment to improve efficiency and will expand community-based and commercial processing capacity and storage with investments in new facilities and expansions to existing facilities, creating new employment opportunities. The NTFP GDA will support Organic Africa to continue strengthening traceability systems and operating procedures, helping producers earn and maintain specialty certifications like organic, FairWild, Fair Trade, and UEBT, which carry social, environmental, and financial benefits for participants. Together, CNFA and Organic Africa will leverage the increased supply of certified NTFP products in local markets, expand access to high-value export markets, and grow the domestic availability of Zimbabwean natural ingredient products.
  3. Improved Natural Resource and Forest Management: The NTFP GDA will incentivize the sustainable use and protection of biodiverse forest areas and build the capacity of farmers, wild collectors, and community groups to effectively manage their natural resources. The GDA seeks to develop a voluntary carbon market offset activity to compensate communities for implementing environmental practices that reduce, sequester, or avoid CO2 emissions.

Partners

  • Organic Africa: a socially responsible family of companies, including Organic Africa, B’ayoba, and KaZa Natural Oils, founded and operating in Zimbabwe since 2007. Organic Africa specializes in partnering with farmers and wild collectors to supply sustainably and ethically produced natural ingredients, such as baobab, rosella, and natural oils, with specialty certifications for domestic and export markets. Organic Africa is a Zimbabwean social enterprise and leading producer, exporter, and domestic supplier of specialty-certified natural ingredients products.

Amadoda Emadodeni: What it Means to be a Man

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“Indoda Emadodeni” (a man among men) is an Ndebele phrase used to distinguish a man who has accomplished feats of machismo in relation to his peers. The USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance-funded Amalima Loko activity is working with men across Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe, to reframe the term to distinguish men as leaders for gender norms change in their community.

Bra Ndosi is one of 12 men who are members of a “Male Champions” group in Nkayi district which formed in November 2022. These groups are part of a campaign led by Amalima Loko, which first began under the predecessor activity Amalima (2013-2020) in Matabeleland South. Local leadership and community members select male participants for the voluntary social groups, which seek to motivate and inspire men in target communities to become advocates for them and their peers to share in more responsibilities around the home and more equally carry the load of care work traditionally managed by women.

The approach recognizes that gender norms are often so entrenched in society that those impacted by them have never stopped to consider their effects. As men become more aware of the harmful nature of women bearing primary responsibility for the care work of the household and family, and begin to share more in those responsibilities, women are able to contribute more towards the productive advancement of the family, and children benefit from male involvement in child rearing and family health and nutrition, ultimately improving the wellbeing of the household.

“I was inspired by the realization that my wife performs more duties around the house than I do,” Ndosi said. “And unconsciously, I was taking that for granted because I thought that was her obligation towards me and the rest of the family. She would cook, go to the fields and take care of the children while I had few duties to attend to.”

Amalima Loko’s approach to Indoda Emadodeni as a behavior-change campaign seeks to address a variety of deep-rooted gender norms within communities, such as the household roles Ndosi references. Following the member identification process, the men commit to participating in a series of sessions facilitated by Amalima Loko. The sessions focus on analyzing behaviors around childcare, maternal and child nutrition and household hygiene and sanitation practices, and the role men play in these areas and in their families’ overall food security. The sessions aim to emphasize the subtle ways gender norms are perpetuated within families and communities and better equip men to support family nutrition and health and to have productive dialogues on these topics within their communities.

Ndosi’s Male Champions group has adopted the name “Amadoda Emadodeni” (men among men), inspired by the name of the approach. Since joining the group, Ndosi reports that he is now more open to learning skills around the household and better understands the importance of his family eating healthy.

“I have been learning household chores such as drying vegetables and taking care of the children in the absence of my wife,” Ndosi said. “She encourages me to come to these sessions because she has experienced firsthand how they have helped us in our marriage.”

In less than a year as a Male Champion, Ndosi’s family has improved their eating habits due to their better understanding of household nutrition and food security. When his group discussed types of nutritional foods infants, children and pregnant and lactating women need, Ndosi shared that he realized how men can support their families to get these types of food.

“I used to jealously guard my livestock because, to me and the society that I live in, that is what defined me as a man among men,” he said. “I realized that the livestock we possess are meant to take care of my family and not the other way around. Now I can afford to slaughter a chicken or a goat for my family more often, because I understand the importance of my wife and children eating healthy.”

The Indoda Emadodeni campaign first developed by Amalima to promote behavior change reached over 6,400 men, and some groups are still active. In November 2022, Amalima Loko visited one of the original Male Champions groups formed in November 2015 in Siphepha, Tsholotsho, and found that the 10 members continue to meet, even with COVID-19 restrictions that had been in place in recent years. During the visit, the men shared that they attributed the group’s continuity to their love of their families, the support they received from local leadership to mobilize other men and provide them with platforms to share their messages. One such platform is a ward-level soccer tournament held for Male Champion groups, used to share the campaign’s message and to connect with other groups from throughout the ward and their wider communities.

The Amadoda Emadodeni group in Nkayi and Amalima Loko’s Indoda Emadodeni concept have been well-received by their community. The eldest of the group, Bra Nene, shared that, “the society is responsive to our program, and they have been asking us to roll it out further to other villages.”

The group also hopes to address more cross-cutting gender norms in the future, including challenging the norms that contribute to gender-based violence. As an approach designed around the premise that behavior change is often driven by peer influence, this evolution is exactly the type of progress envisioned for the campaign from its inception.

“I understand that a man among men fends for his family and ensures that they are well taken care of in terms of food, shelter and clothing,” Ndosi said. “I hope my children will follow the footsteps of Indoda Emadodeni that we are setting.”

Amalima Loko is a five-year resilience and food security program funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance that seeks to address community-identified issues underpinning food insecurity in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe. To date, the activity has worked with 200 Male Champions groups and reached over 2,000 men.

Domba’s Women Driving Inclusive and Sustainable Market Development

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Food processing entrepreneurs Mariko Maimouna Togola and Konate Mariam Ballo are members of the Tomba Nafama Agricultural Association in the Bougouni region of Mali. Founded in 2016, the 47 women members of Tomba Nafama process local agricultural products including fonio, peanuts and ginger. “Tomba Nafama is a group of women whose main activity is the processing of their agricultural products,” said Togola.

To diversify their activities and revenue sources, Tomba Nafama members participated in “Open Day” market events organized annually by the Feed the Future Sugu Yiriwa activity in the Bougouni, Koutiala and Sikasso regions to provide local market actors with opportunities to showcase their innovations, technologies, practices, services and products. They also facilitate collaboration between agricultural stakeholders including producers, processors, traders, input suppliers and financial services providers.

“We took part in an initial Sugu Yiriwa workshop in November 2021 that brought together agri-food processors from the region of Bougouni,” said Ballo. “Subsequently, Mariam and I participated in two of the Open Day market events organized by Sugu Yiriwa in Bougouni and Sikasso. It was at this second Open Day event that we had our first introduction to Urea Molasses Mineral Blocks (UMMBs). I found myself at the same stand as a group of women from Farakala who were selling UMMBs for sheep and goats. The moment I laid eyes on the nutritious blocks, I became deeply interested as I considered the impact they could have on improving animals’ health and diversifying our association’s income. I reached out to Sugu Yiriwa requesting training for our association’s members in the manufacturing and marketing of these nutritious blocks,’’ added Togola.

Recognizing the nutritional, economic and environmental value of UMMBs, Sugu Yiriwa organized trainings on the manufacturing and marketing of UMMBs in March 2022 for 50 women and youth from Tomba Nafama and the neighboring Tomba Sabougnouma cooperative. The activity also provided the groups with 10 sheep to support their breeding efforts.

After the training, and over a period of one year, the women of Tomba Nafama manufactured and sold over 700 nutritional UMMBs, generating over $1,324 (800,000 FCFA) in sales. They subsequently secured a contract with Sugu Yiriwa for 240 nutritional blocks as part of emergency initiatives funded by USAID to reduce the effects of the global food crisis on Mali’s rural communities.

“The income generated through this contract has had a significant impact on us. We used it to purchase much-needed solar panels and batteries to provide us with a self-sufficient source of energy,” Ballo said. “As a result, we were able to relaunch our ice business, which had been suspended for over a year due to a lack of consistent electricity. We have also been able to increase our livestock production by purchasing additional sheep,” Togola added.

Livestock breeding is of paramount importance in the Sikasso, Bougouni and Koutiala regions, key areas for agricultural development in Mali. According to the 2015 annual report of the national directorate in charge of animal production and industry, the Sikasso region had over 4 million head of livestock. Livestock plays a crucial role in food security, job creation and the fight against poverty in Mali. However, livestock breeding faces a number of challenges that hamper the well-being of the animals. These challenges include climate change, which leads to the degradation of natural resources, demographic pressures and lack of access to inputs and veterinary services that limit the productivity and quality of animal products.

UMMBs offer a viable solution for small ruminant breeders during Mali’s agricultural lean season. The nutritional blocks—enriched with proteins, vitamins and minerals—are specially designed to meet the dietary needs of animals in ways that stimulate milk production and weight gain as highlighted in a study conducted by the by researchers at the Station de Recherche Zootechnique du Sahel in Niono, Mali.

This 5-month comparative study involved three groups of animals who were fed different diets. Results revealed that animals fed with nutritional blocks recorded a growth of +192 grams per day, while those fed with salt and commercial concentrate suffered weight losses ranging from -99 grams to -410 grams per day. Other studies have shown the positive effects of the blocks on milk production, which often rises from 3.8 to 4.8 liters per day in animals supplemented with UMMB blocks.

They also found that the UMMBs improved the quality of milk produced by increasing its concentration of fats and proteins, allowing farmers to generate higher incomes from their products. UMMBs have been proven to improve fodder digestibility and drastically reduce the health risks associated with undernourishment.

In addition to the benefits for animals, the production and marketing of UMMBs enables harvest residue and bush straw to be put to good use, thus helping to preserve the environment.

As a result of their success, Tomba Nafama trained other local associations to produce UMMBs. Armed with this experience, they felt ready to take on a regular role as trainers. According to Togola, “We contacted Sugu Yiriwa to explore opportunities to lead trainings for others. Feed the Future Mali Sugu Yiriwa recruited our services to train 240 women and youth from Sikasso, Bougouni and Koutiala in UMMB production as part of the second phase of the activity’s emergency initiatives. This new income will really benefit us as it will enable us to carry out our poultry and market gardening projects, and further diversify our sources of income.”

Konate Mariam Ballo, member of the Tomba Nafama Agricultural Association in Mali

Mariko Maimouna Togola, president of the Tomba Nafama Agricultural Association in Mali

Extending Animal Health in the Department of Takeita, Zinder Region

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Aichatou Ali Mamadou is a shining example of what one can achieve with passion, hard work and support from the right sources. Born and raised in the city of Zinder in Niger, she had always dreamt of pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

After completing her primary and secondary studies, she enrolled in the prestigious Inter-State School of Veterinary Sciences and Medicine (EISMV) in Dakar, Senegal, where she excelled and graduated with honors. Then, after defending her thesis, Mamadou returned to her hometown and started working as an assistant veterinarian to gain experience and work toward fulfilling her dream of opening a veterinary clinic. However, with a lack of financial and material resources, she found herself struggling to start her own business.

After considering a bank loan, Mamadou became aware of the USAID Yalwa activity’s call for local private veterinary service (LPVS) providers, as part of its plans to finance five new LPVSs and increase the number of local livestock assistants from 343 to 400.Although LPVS networks already existed in Yalwa’s other areas of intervention, they did not yet exist in the department of Takieta where USAID Yalwa supported 12 small ruminant producer organizations, bringing together 526 members distributed as follows: 221 men, 305 women and 227 youth.

USAID Yalwa’s support to LPVSs centers around three areas: 1) preliminary direct support—which supports LPVSs to obtain the authorization and documentation needed to practice and meet health service mandates as well as to establish a simple operating system for montioring profit; 2) direct support for clinic installation—which drives investment for start-up activities, construction and equipment acquisition (cold chain, means of transport, etc.); and 3) technical support to clinicians–which serves to strengthen the capacities of veterinarians and their assistants, both through managerial and technical training.

“It was an unexpected opportunity for me to learn about Yalwa’s grant because it was exactly what I needed and was looking for,’’ said Mamadou when remembering reading the call for application the first time.

Through this support, Mamadou was finally able to start her business in 2022 with all the necessary equipment, medicine and surgical materials, including cold chain storage units for vaccines and medications. She also recruited 34 individuals to work under her supervision, ensuring better animal health services could be provided throughout the Takieta department.

Her business’ success was shown in February 2023, when she accumulated around $1,300 (700,000 FCFA) in sales. This number will only continue to grow, with awareness on the importance of livestock vaccination becoming more prominent in local communities and with farmers being offered more affordable prices to receive private veterinary services.

Today, Mamadou continues to provide top-notch veterinary services and advice to farmers in her region. Through her strong expertise, dedication and commitment to animal health and leadership, she has also inspired the community around her, especially considering the rarity of women-owned veterinary clinics in Niger. Mamadou’s story is a shining example of the potential one can achieve when provided with the right tools to succeed.

Nebnooma Provincial Union of Small Ruminant Breeders Capitalizes on USAID Yidgiri’s Support and Wins Two Institutional Contracts Worth $33,659

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Small ruminants, such as sheep, are integral to unions’ market-driven sales in Burkina Faso. One of the unions supported by USAID Yidgiri in Kaya, the Nebnooma Provincial Union of Small Ruminant Breeders, has sought to enhance the productivity of the small ruminant value chain. Nebnooma currently has 39 simplified cooperatives societies (SCOOPs) and a total of 809 members, including 752 women. Although the union is nationally registered, its members have experienced challenges with generating profits from its products. 

Based on findings from a market assessment undertaken by Yidgiri in 2022, Nebnooma experienced challenges with accessing credit, holding statutory meetings for its members, and marketing its products at commercial outlets. Union leaders were also unfamiliar with the tendering process and strategies for developing offers in response to tenders from institutional market players. To increase the capacity of unions to access profitable regional markets, union leaders participated in two-fold training sessions up until early 2023. One training session focused on governance principles, whereas the second training taught union leaders how to work within the competitive market and procurement landscape, identify calls for tenders, and navigate the tendering process.  

In April, Nebnooma union leaders bid for and won a contract from the NGO Save Africa to develop a tender for the supply of 267 sheep in three lots (117 in Pissila, 60 in Boussouma, and 90 in Kaya). The contract, worth a total value of $26,961 (16,020,000 FCFA), successfully met quality criteria and delivery deadlines.  

President of the Nebnooma Union, Mady Sawadogo

The president of the Nebnooma Union, Mady SAWADOGO, expressed his satisfaction with the bid outcome, “We have applied what we have learned and we can see that things are changing for the better. For example, the Union has just acquired a 400 m2 plot of land to build its headquarters.” Additionally, the union saved $841 (500,000 FCFA) from this successful bid to invest in its operations.  

Galvanized by this success, Union Nebnooma took part in another call for tenders launched by the same NGO for the supply of 18 tons of cattle feed. Union Nebnooma was awarded a contract valued at $7,270 (4,320,000 FCFA). The Nebnooma Union’s successful bids points to Yidgiri’s broader impact on increasing the institutional capacity of unions, acting as a valuable source of income for small ruminant producers. 

ELEVATE Nutrition

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Overview

The Enhancing Local Efforts for Vital, Transformative, and Evidence-Based Nutrition (ELEVATE Nutrition) Activity is a five-year cooperative agreement funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and led by FHI 360. ELEVATE Nutrition began on October 1, 2023, and aims to advance local implementation of high-quality nutrition programs and policies that improve the nutritional status of women and children, particularly in the first 1,000 days. The Activity takes a multisectoral approach to nutrition, focusing on bridging the gap between global evidence and local implementation.

Objectives

The Activity has three strategic objectives:

  1. Sustained USAID global technical leadership in nutrition.
  2. Enhanced delivery of evidence-based nutrition policies and programs.
  3. Enhanced nutrition learning and knowledge transfer.

As part of achieving these objectives, ELEVATE Nutrition will promote sustained leadership across four key multi-sectoral nutrition areas – diet quality, prevention and management of wasting, social and behavior change and governance – in addition to providing demand driven technical assistance for countries’ nutrition priorities.

Approach

The ELEVATE Nutrition approach includes:

  1. Expanding, curating, and sharing evidence to advance the knowledge needed for implementation, focused on packaging evidence-based interventions and improving knowledge on metrics and methodologies for multisectoral nutrition programming.
  2. Providing responsive, context-specific technical assistance aligned with local priorities, enabling locally led implementation of high-quality, scalable programs and identifying sustainable opportunities for capacity strengthening.
  3. Facilitating the operationalization and financing of national nutrition policies and quality programming through proven approaches and the use of digital tools and technologies.
  4. Creating platforms and resources for straightforward access to learning and skill building that amplify local achievements in nutrition.

The Activity is grounded in USAID’s Collaborating, Learning and Adapting Framework and will emphasize building upon existing resources and platforms, employing localization principles and integrating gender and diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility into all aspects of technical assistance.

Team

To implement ELEVATE Nutrition, FHI 360 will collaborate with partners Action Against Hunger, Bixal, Oxford Policy Management, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) and GEMNet-Health. The team has expertise in evidence-based health, nutrition and food system programming in development and humanitarian settings, an established presence and robust operational platforms in USAID’s nutrition priority countries and experience leading USAID and other donor-funded global nutrition initiatives.

USAID Agriculture Program

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Overview:

The five-year, $23 million USAID Agriculture Program (2018-2023) works to accelerate the growth of agricultural sub-sectors that show strong potential to create jobs, improve incomes, and increase micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) revenues, with particular focus on the berry, culinary herb, stone fruit, perishable vegetable, pome fruit, table grape, mandarin and nut crop value chains.

To accomplish this, the Program facilitates partnerships with public and private sector actors and provides demand-driven technical assistance to farmers, agribusinesses and MSMEs in order to address value chain gaps and advance agricultural production and processing.

The Program also contains an integrated grant component to deliver cost-share grants to producers, processors, cooperatives, service/information/extension providers and associations. These grants are designed to address identified value chain gaps and develop agricultural sub-sectors, contributing to the sustainable development of the Georgian economy.

Program Approach:

  1. Increase productivity and productive capacity: The USAID Agriculture Program uses technical assistance to develop and update business plans, financial plans and market assessments, and provides competitive cost-share grants for medium-, small- and micro-enterprises (MSMEs), including producers, processors, service providers, cooperatives and associations.
  2. Build capacity to add value: The Program improves processing, storage and other techniques by providing training to farmers on production, harvesting and post-harvest techniques; and facilitates relationships between value-adding agribusinesses and smallholder or emerging commercial farmers.
  3. Meet international standards and certifications: The Program provides cost-share grants for MSMEs, facilitating market access to new domestic buyers and international markets and training producers and MSMEs on modern production and business operations.
  4. Strengthen linkages within agricultural value chains and to new markets: The Program encourages public-private partnerships by facilitating linkages and providing support to vocational education institutions, business service providers and enterprises to improve training curricula and access to private sector-led skills development opportunities. It also assists with developing business relationships and addressing financial institutions requirements to obtain capital for further growth.
  5. Strengthen capacity of cooperatives, extension and other service providers and associations: The Program facilitates the development and capacity building of business or sector associations; trains service and information providers on topics such as teaching methods, farmer outreach models and technical skills and knowledge; and supports dialog between extension providers, educational institutions and cooperatives to coordinate efforts to increase reach and effectiveness of extension.

Partners:

  1. South-East Europe Development (SEEDEV)
  2. World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO)

Growing Nutritious, Accessible and Resilient Food Systems in Burkina Faso

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USAID Yidgiri improves rural incomes and stimulates demand for nutritious foods by supporting agro-processors to grow.

The processing of locally available, nutrient-rich crops can be a source of economic opportunity for many smallholder producers in Burkina Faso. Implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), the Feed the Future-funded USAID Yidgiri Activity supports agro-processors to overcome institutional, financial, environmental and market-related barriers so that they can easily and sustainably increase the local supply of safe, nutritious foods. It also partners with producer organizations, processors and other market actors to help them understand consumer needs and preferences in order to raise nutritional awareness and facilitate increased demand for these foods at the community and household levels.

Since 2022, USAID Yidgiri has trained 236 processors and retailers, including 109 women, on improved manufacturing practices and packaging standards, good hygiene and enhanced food storage and preservation techniques, while helping them to establish strong markets for their products. Training has also focused on strengthening sales techniques, canvassing for new points of sale and marketing goods to relevant distribution networks to help improve household incomes and enhance the nutritional status of women and children.

To date, USAID Yidgiri’s support to agro-processors has led to the establishment of 96 new points of sale and the generation of almost $1 million for producers like Awa Clémence Kabore that sell orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, milk and other products made from cowpea and small ruminants.

Kabore, an entrepreneur from Kaya who sells flour and chips made from home-grown orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, received training to upgrade her sales and distribution networks after an analysis conducted by USAID Yidgiri identified her business as having the potential to grow. Equipped with new skills and ideas to expand her business, Kabore successfully connected with nearby retail stores, 10 of which agreed to stock her products, and in less than four months was able to triple her monthly income from approximately $335 (200,000 FCFA) to approximately $1,000 (598,800 FCFA).

As Awa Clémence Kabore continues to develop her business, she anticipates that she will have the financial capacity to further diversify her products and establish her own store specializing in the sale of orange-fleshed sweet potato chips.

“USAID Yidgiri lives up to its name [“grow” in the Mòoré language] by helping us grow and open up economic opportunities. The testimonies I receive from customers and food managers continue to encourage me because they reinforce that my products are innovative and of good quality,” Kabore said while looking proudly at her products.

Through trainings conducted to build the capacity of agro-processors in Burkina Faso, USAID Yidgiri provides opportunities for entrepreneurs and producer organizations to increase their incomes and develop resilient livelihoods. Likewise, CNFA works to strengthen agricultural market systems across the Sahel—especially in the cowpea, poultry and small ruminant value chains. In 2022, CNFA trained over 6,000 producers, agrodealers, processors, breeders and traders in Mali to improve their agricultural practices, established more than 300 demonstration plots for agricultural producers in Burkina Faso and almost doubled the number of Nigerien producer organizations it supported, from 384 in 2020 to 658 in 2022.