Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity

Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

In Liberia, CNFA has implemented the Feed the Future Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA) (2015-2020), funded by USAID. LADA aims to increase incomes of smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs throughout Liberia to expand access to and use of agricultural inputs, improve post-harvest handling activities, and streamline high-potential agricultural value chains.

Program Approach:

  1. Linking Markets Through Private Sector Engagement: LADA uses a results-driven and sustainability approach to increase private sector investment in agricultural input systems, post-harvest handling, transport, and processing activities, and to strengthen the market environment with information, advocacy, and support;
  1. Training and Capacity Building: LADA has established 24 different aggregation clusters across the country to select appropriate agribusinesses, sustainable and transparent cooperatives, and has established agro-dealers to provide specialized trainings and certifications;
  2. Financial Management: LADA manages a credit guarantee facility to catalyze the extension of credit to agro-dealers by supply companies and financial institutions to mitigate the high risk associated with agricultural lending. Another financial tool, the Agribusiness Investment Network (AIN), is housed in BSC Monrovia in order to provide a platform through which agricultural and agribusiness agents, NGOs, and financial institutions can interact;
  3. Increasing Access to Market Information and Digital Financial Services: Enclude, a CNFA partner, is exploring the development of a DFS product portfolio, delivery channels, and risk management mechanisms for LADA. This technology will allow smallholders to make better-informed decisions for production, processing, and marketing processes through value chain gap analyses;
  4. Youth, Gender and Social Capital: LADA targets youth in the project’s agro-dealer development interventions and will link smallholder farming youth groups to aggregators and buyers. CNFA also employs a full-time Gender Specialist who maps gender roles and decision-making power within the targeted value chains, ascertains gender roles, and examines issues related to women’s time, workloads, access to information, and control over resources.

Partners:

  1. Enclude
  2. Business Start-Up Center Monrovia’s network
  3. The Global Cold Chain Alliance

Feed the Future Egypt Food Security and Agribusiness Support

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

CNFA has implemented the USAID Feed the Future Egypt Food Security and Agribusiness Support project (2015-2020) to increase incomes and improve food security for at least 14,000 Upper Egyptian smallholder farmers across seven focal governorates – including Assiut, Aswan, Beni-Suef, Luxor, Minya, Qena, and Sohag. Over five years, the project will improve health and educational opportunities for women and youth as well as increase household purchasing power.

Program Approach:

Egypt FAS uses an “agricultural value chain” approach to improve horticulture productivity, access to markets, value-adding activities, and commercial linkages with input and service suppliers.

  1. Improved Market Systems: FAS supports improved on-farm production, more efficient post-harvest processes, and improved marketing of agriculture crops and products;
  2. Improved Nutritional Status of Women and Children: FAS integrates nutrition-sensitive agriculture by increasing income opportunities and nutrition education in its target regions;
  3. Gender Inclusivity and Sensitivity: Gender is a cross-cutting issue in the FAS project and is considered throughout the program;
  4. Improved Agricultural Inputs and Services: FAS strengthens input suppliers, agriculture processors and support services, and leverages proven ICT capabilities to bring interventions to scale;
  5. Governance and Private Sector Engagement: The project creates a policy-enabling environment and instills an understanding of the role of value chain governance as well as the recognition of the importance of inter-firm relationships and stakeholder participation.

Partners:

  1. Winrock International
  2. Arizona State University
  3. World Food Logistics Organization

For One Woman, Amalima Training and Eco-stove Offer a New Outlook on Life

Posted On: Filed Under:

Esnath Tshuma, 45, lives in Tjompani village with her 13 year-old nephew, Tandana. Esnath is a strong-willed woman who has worked hard throughout the years, but her life irrevocably changed after sustaining a severe injury three years ago. In November of 2012, Esnath was repairing a fence in her field, when she turned and lodged her foot in the fence. She fell, twisting her leg and fracturing a bone in the process. The injury resulted in paralysis of her leg and impaired mobility of her right hand. She is now limited to walking with crutches, as well as a using a plastic yard chair in lieu of a proper wheelchair to maneuver around her compound.

Her husband travelled to South Africa to look for work in August 2015, but has not been able to find a steady source of income. She receives a bit of money from her brother who works in Bulawayo, but since her injury, she has been relying on the kindness of her neighbors and the sale of her own personal items, like used blankets and dresses, to make ends meet.

“After my injury in 2012, I felt like I couldn’t do anything and was spending a lot of time sitting around idle,” said Esnath. She explained that due to her disability, she was no longer able to perform most of her daily activities like fetching water, collecting firewood, and farming. Cooking over an open fire on the ground was a particularly uncomfortable task, but she was unwilling to give up this role.

Esnath was thrilled when in early 2014, her sister-in-law, Tshihomanana Tshuma, offered to build her a clay stove that would allow her to sit while cooking. Tshihomanana participated in an Amalima training to learn how to build an environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient ‘eco-stove.’ After learning how to work with the clay, she realized that she could easily build a platform for Esnath’s eco-stove to allow for cooking while seated. The results were perfect; not only is Esnath able to complete her daily chores with increased comfort, but due to the eco-stove’s fuel-efficiency, her young nephew saves time and energy searching for increasingly scarce firewood in the bush.

Tshihomanana learned about Amalima’s Community Health Clubs (CHC) through the eco-stove training, and asked Esnath to join her in participating. CHCs promote increased awareness of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices in communities through completion of a 20 module Participatory Health and Hygiene Education (PHHE) training. CHCs foster learning for change through promotion of practical improvements at the household level to change the behaviors of community members in favor of a more hygienic environment. In March 2014, 16 women and one man from Tjompani village established the Mukani CHC and began receiving lessons from Nosizo Dube, their neighbor and Community Based Facilitator (CBF).

“After joining the CHC, I realized that I could stand up for myself and do something with my life,” noted Esnath. The lessons highlighted vital steps to improving hygiene that Esnath was capable of completing at home, such as sweeping, washing hands at critical times, using a 2-cup water system, rubbish disposal and cleaning dishes. Perhaps more importantly, belonging to the club gave her a special comradery with her group members. The members proved to be more than just a social outlet; recognizing her needs, the group pitched in to build Esnath a tippy-tap hand washing station, a private bathing area, and a rubbish pit at her homestead.

Mukani Success Story CNFA

Left: Esnath and Tshihomanana with her private bathing area. Right: Mukani members wash hands at Esnath’s tippy-tap.

After completing the PHHE sessions, all 17 Mukani CHC members graduated at a community-wide ceremony. After this milestone, the members recognized a positive momentum with their initiative and made the decision to continue working together as a Village Savings and Lending (VS&L) group. To make this transition, they received training on VS&L methodology from Amalima, including group formation, constitution development, group fund development, loans and loan appraisal, and record keeping.

Mukani group held its first VS&L meeting in August 2015. Their objective is to save for short-term needs such as food, kitchen utensils and school fees, as well as to pool financial resources for larger, higher-impact income generating activities. The group’s long-term goal is to establish a poultry business with their savings. At each meeting, hosted by a different member on rotation, members make a $10 contribution. Each month $10 is set aside for group savings and investment in their poultry business, which they hope to establish later this year. The remaining cash is used to provide the hosting member with kitchen utensils and a goat valued at approximately $35. The balance is then shared out evenly among members for their household use. The group has $70 saved to date.

mukani

Tandana and Esnath together at home.

Esnath already has plans to grow her small livestock herd with the goat she received from hosting the December 2015 meeting. She is also looking forward to being involved in the poultry income generating activity to become economically self-sufficient; the group considered her accessibility when selecting where the chicken coop will be located.

After receiving her eco-stove and joining the Mukani club, Esnath recognized her ability to lead a full life. The training Esnath received from Amalima is invaluable, yet the support and friendship from her group members has been as vital to her livelihood. She is grateful for the opportunity to join the CHC. “It has given me a sense of purpose,” she says.

Lead Father Champions Child Care

Posted On: Filed Under:

This story, written by Allison DiVincenzo and Katie Murray, first appeared in USAID’s bimonthly publication, FrontLines.

Richard Ndebele wears many hats. Farmer. Grandfather. Laborer. Mentor. And now, by working with USAID, trailblazer.

Ndebele, 65, lives in Impu village, a rural, semiarid stretch of southwestern Zimbabwe currently facing a historic drought as a result of El Niño. In many ways, Impu village is no different from the rest of the country, where 2.8 million people are estimated to be food insecure this year. However, this area is characterized by low rainfall even in a good year, not to mention particularly high levels of poverty and stunting levels over 24 percent.

USAID, through its five-year, $43 million Amalima activity, is working in Impu village and the surrounding rural areas to strengthen communities’ resilience to shocks, such as drought, by enhancing nutrition and food security, improving livelihoods and helping communities plan and prepare for disasters. Amalima is the Zimbabwean Ndebele language word for a custom where people work together to help themselves through productive activities like preparing land for farming or repairing a dam.

Confident, respected and forward-thinking, Ndebele, a grandfather to five, has taken an active role in many aspects of Amalima. As a member of the Impu village Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Committee, Ndebele received training from the activity to identify and define disasters common in the community and to develop an action plan to respond. And in a gender reversal for this patriarchic society, he is a “lead father,” leading peer-to-peer support groups that help mothers learn how to better feed and care for their children.

A Flea Bath for Cattle

In his role identifying potential disasters, Ndebele, along with other members of the DRR Committee, identified their top priority: the rehabilitation of a dilapidated old dip tank, which was subsequently reconstructed under the supervision of USAID technical experts. Functioning like a large flea bath for cattle, a quick swim through the dip tank protects cattle against disease-carrying ticks. Ndebele worked with 103 other members of the community to repair the dip tank, receiving $30 a month in exchange for his labor.

 

Zimbabwe_Richard with dip tank E

Richard Ndebele at dip tank. Photo: Allison DiVincenzo, USAID

“The wages really came as a relief, as I managed to buy food for my family,” said Ndebele, who also bought a goat with his earnings, a potential income-generator for his family.

Now over 1,800 cattle belonging to 200 households can use the dip tank, preventing disease and death caused by ticks and protecting livelihoods in a place where economic stability is tenuous. Ndebele is now part of a committee that will manage use of the dip tank, ensuring it will never again fall into disrepair.

This is one of 32 facilities built or rebuilt through the project. “Not only do these construction projects build resilience against future droughts, but with compensation for the laborers, they meet the immediate needs of people in a very vulnerable situation,” said USAID/Zimbabwe Mission Director Stephanie Funk. “USAID’s Amalima activity has put much-needed cash in the hands of nearly 4,000 workers.”

Women’s Work?

In his role as lead father, Ndebele is breaking down gender barriers by volunteering to facilitate a care group, which is usually run by a woman. In addition to promoting better nutrition for small children, these groups provide a forum for group discussion on the challenges women face in their communities. Amalima has more than 24,000 care group participants led by 1,700 lead mothers. Ndebele, however, is one of only three lead fathers.

He meets with the 10 members of his care group once a month on the dusty ground under a large, shady tree. There they share key health and nutrition messages. He also treks to each of their homes to provide individual mentorship, assess adoption of behaviors and speak with influential family members, such as grandmothers or husbands. Ndebele encourages husbands to provide support in household and childcare activities in an effort to improve the family’s nutrition and food security.

In rural Zimbabwe, women are responsible for household chores and childcare activities, as well as the most time- and labor-intensive agricultural tasks. Impu village and its neighboring communities adhere to a predominantly patriarchal culture that affords limited rights to women and where men are reluctant to take part in duties perceived as womanly.

Zimbabwe_Richard at food distro E_0

Richard Ndebele at food distribution in Zimbabwe’s Impu village. Photo: Allison DiVincenzo, USAID

When Ndebele first started as a lead father, he says, “Men used to laugh behind my back. But they stopped once they needed my help.” By teaching improved infant and young child feeding practices through his care group meetings, his peers now understand he is helping families raise strong, intelligent boys and girls that will better contribute to their household and community’s prosperity.

Ndebele strongly believes that health and nutrition are issues relevant to the entire community and should not be ignored by men. Still, it is the women who are encouraged by the lead father’s advice and wisdom.

Care group member Silvia Moyo learned about the important nutritional benefits of breastfeeding. With Ndebele’s encouragement, Moyo relayed that information to her husband and talked to him about the challenge of making time for breastfeeding when she has so many household duties.

Moyo and her husband together formed a solution that works for their family. “I am very determined to breastfeed my son so that he grows up intelligent and takes care of me when I’m old,” said Moyo. “I’m very happy with the support my husband will be giving me. We will help each other in the household and also use an eco-stove to save time.”

Ndebele’s pioneering role as a lead father is raising awareness of the benefits of male involvement in childcare activities and setting an example for young boys. “Men come to me and ask questions about nutrition, health and their children’s porridge,” he said.

Already the project is seeing positive results. According to preliminary data, the proportion of infants under 6 months who are exclusively breast fed is now 84 percent, up from 45 percent at the start of the activity.

Ndebele believes he and his village are at the forefront of improving their food and nutrition security, and building resilience to natural disasters. “It has built in us a sense of togetherness and helped us realize that, as a group, we can achieve many things,” he said.

First Female Agro-Retailer Certified by the Agro-Inputs Retailers’ Network

Posted On: Filed Under:

Following the death of her husband 27 years ago, Parvin Aziz was uncertain of her family’s future. In Bangladesh, widows face social and economic hardships and often remain dependent on male family members or children for their livelihoods.  Every day Parvin dreamed of a better life in which she could provide for her two children. She understood she would have to be strong, smart and remain productive for their benefit. “I didn’t know what to do until my in-laws encouraged me to take over my husband’s seed business. I was lucky I had the support of my in-laws when I continued the family’s agro-inputs business.”

The AIRN learned about Parvin’s entrepreneurial spirt and offered her the opportunity to attend trainings to build her capacity as an agro-input retailer. “When I discovered the AIRN I recognized it as an opportunity to improve my business and to learn more about quality agro-inputs,” remarked Parvin. “Now, I encourage female entrepreneurs to become involved in the agro-inputs business because it helped me raise my family. I know how important it is for mothers to earn money for their families,” she added.  Parvin completed a three-day training on business management, safe use of pesticides and best agronomic practices which resulted in her certification as the first female AIRN Accredited member.

The increasing participation of women in the commercial sale of agro-inputs means more women are able to contribute to their family’s income. It improves women’s decision making power over allocation of household income and is beneficial to the whole family. Since becoming a certified AIRN retailer, Parvin has indicated that positive outcomes of running her business include increased self-confidence, improved business management skills and knowledge of nutritious crops, as well as an increased ability to provide quality embedded services to farmer-customers. The AIRN is continuing to focus its effort on recruiting female agro-input retailers like Parvin to promote the importance of female entrepreneurs so that more women can support their families and participate in the agricultural economy. By the end of the project, AIP will help create at least 300 women-owned retailers which will join the AIRN.

The AIRN is a network of agro-input retailers committed to selling quality agro-input products. It was created by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by CNFA. The AIRN members undergo trainings that improve their knowledge about quality agro-inputs, which expand their business and increase their profits. With quality agro-inputs there is quality production to feed families and improve the agricultural economy in Bangladesh.

Mobile Literacy Training Enables Women Entrepreneurs to Make Informed Decisions

Posted On: Filed Under:

(Above: Ms. Almaz Delgeba with her mobile while attending her milking cows.)

Mrs. Almaz Delgeba is a female entrepreneur who lives in Lera, Berebera district of Selta zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). Almaz is a leader of a dairy association in her locality, with 13 members scattered in a rural setting. One of her duties is to facilitate meetings beween association members where participants can market information as well as announce upcoming meetings. For Almaz, a middle-aged woman with six dependent children, moving around the village to convey messages was very challenging. A year ago, however, she was approached by USAID’s AGP-LMD Project and asked to take training on mobile use for women entrepreneurs, which led to the purchase of a mobile phone.

At the training, Almaz learned how to use a calculator, how to fill in money and how to save contacts.   “At the beginning, the only thing I knew was how to receive and make phone calls. The practical training on how to use more of the tools on my mobile is now helping me to exchange timely market information and to also manage some parts of the finances in a better way,” said Almaz.

“There have been many cases when I had to use my mobile for emergency calls to the animal health workers in the locality when the milking cows got sick. Timely treatment enabled them to recover,” elaborated Almaz, who is also in charge of looking after the three milking cows quartered in her compound. Without a mobile phone and the know-how to use it, Almaz’s only option would be to walk or to send one of her boys if he wasn’t in school.  “If I take transport to pass the message, it would cost me 30 birr; making the call may cost me 10 birr,” she added.

Almaz still finds it challenging to recharge her mobile phone. Her village doesn’t have power, so she needs to travel to the nearby town to recharge.

“I daily spend two birr to recharge. The transport cost makes it more costly,” she said; though the benefits for her do outweigh the costs. Her association, which began with three heifers a year ago, is now supplying milk to a nearby café; and two of the heifers have given birth. Thanks to her phone she was able to check the prices of milk in other towns before fixing her association’s price at 14 to 15 birr per liter. “Within the next 3–6 months, my plan is to buy a better mobile with more tools, as what I have sometimes cuts off in the middle of a talk. I will make sure that the new one includes a radio, as it will teach me about different things while I perform my duties,” added Almaz.

Almaz is grateful for the support from USAID; and she has shared her know-how with five of the association’s 13 members who own mobile phones in order to help them benefit as well.

USAID Empowers Self-Employed Women to Become Entrepreneurs

Posted On: Filed Under:

Five years ago, Hajira Beyene, and her family of 12 became beneficiaries of the Ethiopian government’s safety net program – an initiative that supports the poorest of the poor in food insecure districts of the country to help them meet their basic needs and become self-sufficient – in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). For 38-year-old Hajira, who is the head of her family, the 750 birr she received a month from the safety net program, along with food rations, was helpful, but far from enough.

Hajira knew she had to take matters into her own hands to ensure that her family would survive and escape poverty. She decided to start rearing and selling goats, by using one female goat that she received from a charitable organization known as Goal, and selling seasonal vegetables, which she planted in her yard when the rains allowed. Despite her efforts, lack of technical and business skills hamstrung Hajira’s efforts and left her without fair return, keeping her family reliant on the safety net program.

Hajira is one of the 63 women from the Amhara, SNNP and Tigray regions who received a four-month training on business management and leadership skills organized by USAID’s Agricultural Growth Program-Livestock Market Development (AGP-LMD) project from February to May 2015. The training taught the women how to become successful business operators by offering training in resource management, as well as improving their participation in the leadership and decision-making process of their businesses.

 

“The knowledge I gained from the training has entered my bones, not just my head,” Hajira siad.

 

The training has given her the confidence to take immediate action in purchasing one more goat for rearing by better managing some cash she had. “I purchased a new goat for 650 birr. She is expecting and will be giving birth in two months’ time, and the twin from the old goat will be ready for sale in a few months. Unlike before, I plan to sell them at a better price, and save the income from one of the goats’ sales, so that I can plan to build a better barn for the expansion,” said Hajira who mentioned lack of capital, as her main challenge.
According to Hajira before the training she never considered borrowing from the savings and credit association in her village for fear of not being able to pay back the money “Every 15 days, I contribute five birr to the association. If I borrow money, I need to pay it back within three months together with the interest based on the borrowed amount. My fear of doing so was always based on not having the source to pay back,” explained Hajira, who thinks that the training has now given her the self-confidence to overcome this difficulty as she will practice better financial management thanks to the knowledge she gained from the training.

As the safety net program of the government is set to terminate this year with a probability of being replaced with a different program, this training by USAID is a timely contribution to support Hajira’s transformation, and that of other women, into self-reliance. “There was a time when my first born had to drop out of school after he reached the ninth grade, because I couldn’t put him a school uniform. Although he is a year behind his class mates, I was able to work hard and send him back to school,” Hajira, who herself dropped out of school from the sixth grade as a result of unwanted marriage, said. She is firm in wanting to invest more in her children’s education, including her nine-year-old grandchild who is in the first grade, and whom she supports after he lost both of his parents at an early age.

Improving Livelihoods and Enterprise Development

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

The Improving Livelihoods and Enterprise Development Program (I-LED) was a three-year initiative to assist communities affected by the October 2005 Kashmir earthquake. I-LED focused on generating increased incomes, employment, and an improved asset base for the earthquake-affected populations in the Siran and Kaghan Valleys in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Bagh District in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK). The Livelihoods component, completed in 2008, delivered replacements of key farming systems, capacity building, and reconstruction of affected infrastructure. Complementing these efforts, I-LED developed agricultural and tourism value chains that resulted in the creation and support of 3,082 new and existing enterprises that provided full-time equivalent employment to more than 4,914 individuals by the project’s conclusion.

Program Approach:

  • Worked with communities to identify and prioritize needs and provided support for communities to restore livestock and re-establish crop systems;
  • Promoted industries with growth potential by strengthening key subsectors through grants training and technical assistance, which led to increased competitiveness of local Pakistani enterprises;
  • Engaged community groups and government stakeholders to facilitate stronger public-private partnerships, supported a positive role for government in enterprise development, and helped producers and processors improve economic opportunities through formal organization;
  • Value-Chain Development & Enterprise Development:I-LED was built upon revitalized agricultural production that introduced sustainable value-adding activities such as milk collection schemes and potato seed storages that created market and employment opportunities for farmers. By organizing producers and processors into clusters and associations, CNFA increased opportunities for collective marketing and purchasing as well as group advocacy. I-LED sought to generate new employment and income opportunities, improve competitiveness of products and services, and increase access to markets by providing the resources necessary to develop value chains and establish new enterprises;
  • Forage Crops:I-LED supported “Cut and Carry” fodder projects for each of the 176 feedlot grant recipients to improve the availability of green fodder. Recipients participated in trainings on land preparation, seed sowing, and fodder management;
  • Dairy Sector Improvement:The dairy sector strategy was two-fold: increase the production capacity of dairy farms and develop clearly defined milk production zones within close proximity of major regional markets. Trainings were provided on proper animal care to increase the sustainability of impact in the dairy sector;
  • Small Ruminants and Poultry:CNFA designed and conducted numerous training activities for farmers and associations. I-LED awarded livelihoods and enterprise grants to restore livestock populations and improve the production capacity and quality of animal products;
  • Grants and Training: I-LED eventually transitioned toward economic value-chain and local economic development using enterprise matching grants, value-chain grants, and farm store grants;
  • Support of Women Entrepreneurs:I-LED involved women and men equitably in the community engagement process and women made up 28% of program beneficiaries who received direct training;
  • Community Organization & Association Development: The Local Economic Development component focused on strengthening clusters and associations by promoting teamwork, enhancing local decision making, and maximizing usage of local resources. I-LED established linkages between local banks, enterprises, and associations to provide better access to loans and business services for entrepreneurs;
  • Community Physical Infrastructure (CPI):To facilitate the transition from relief to economic development, I-LED restored and reconstructed numerous physical structures vital to local communities, such as irrigation structures, shops, and public facilities.

Commercial Strengthening of Smallholder Cocoa Production

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

Launched in 2009, the three-year Commercial Strengthening of Smallholder Cocoa Production (CSSCPP), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aimed to stimulate capital investment and enhance the lives of farmers in the Ghanaian cocoa business. CSSCPP promoted improved production techniques, increased access to inputs and finance, and crop diversification. Through the use of strategically designed matching grants, this project leveraged $5.8 million in private investment.

CNFA, in collaboration with the National Cocoa Producer Association, Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union, and Chemico Limited, provided support to cocoa farmers through training, certification programs, land tenure, and association development.

Program Approach:

  • Collaborated with agro-input suppliers and farmers to build 20 Business Development Centers for cocoa buying, as well as training and association meetings;
  • Provided training in best practices and crop diversification to enhance production of cocoa and other crops;
  • Worked with financial institutions to institute new credit programs to mitigate risk for farmers.

Association Development: In order to promote more convenient access to inputs, training, finance, and collective marketing, CNFA supported farmers to organize into groups, clusters, and associations, allowing for better service of the maximum number of farmers through project activities to give farmers easy access (within six kilometers) to products and services.

Development of Integrated Warehouses: CNFA collaborated with agro-input suppliers and farmer associations to build model pilot mini-warehouses to serve cocoa producers. Each mini-warehouse has two separate areas: a cocoa buying and certification area operated by local buying companies and a room for the producer groups to use for association meetings, trainings, and other events. A small, independent agro-dealer shop selling agro-inputs (seeds, fertilizers, and crop protection chemicals) is typically located nearby. By offering inputs for many crops rather than just cocoa, these agro-dealers encourage crop diversification.

Technical Improvement and Certification: Farmers and agro-dealers received technical training on cocoa production. In addition, demonstration plots and farmer field days, organized with input suppliers, encouraged crop diversification and improved cocoa production practices. After determining the cost-benefit tradeoffs of various certification schemes, the program provided information and training, should the farmers choose to secure internationally recognized certifications like Fair Trade, UTZ, and Rainforest Alliance. As a result of project training and certification services, beneficiary farmers’ yields increased by 189% and incomes increased by 309%.

Stimulating Capital Investment: CNFA conducted an extensive study of land tenure issues as they impact the cocoa industry, focusing on the impact on very small-scale producers, women, and sharecroppers. In addition, CNFA piloted land-titling training for landowners and worked with financial institutions to pilot new credit and crop insurance to mitigate farmer risk.