Farmer-to-Farmer: Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia

Farmer-to-Farmer: Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia

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Overview:

The five-year John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer program in Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia, funded through USAID, focused on select agricultural value chains, identifying needs at every level from production to marketing.

From 2008 to 2014, CNFA sent more than 340 volunteers focusing on fruits and vegetables, dairy, and livestock value chains to Belarus, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Program Approach:

CNFA relies heavily on the expertise of U.S. volunteers from diverse backgrounds to respond to the needs of host country farmers and organizations. The volunteers are experts in their fields and represent all ages and industries as farmers, bankers, professors, civil servants, and active and retired business people. The assignments, ranging from two-to-four-week long projects, vary in scope, from training associated service providers and agribusinesses in financial management to marketing, cooperative development, agricultural production, post-harvest and processing technologies, international quality standards, and rural finance.

Farmer-to-Farmer: East Africa

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Overview:

The five-year John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer program in East Africa, funded through USAID, focused on select agricultural value chains, identifying needs at every level from production to marketing.

From 2009 to 2014, CNFA sent over 320 volunteers to Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and a limited number of volunteers to Rwanda. CNFA is proud of the hard work put forth by volunteers and field staff to make the program a success.

Program Approach:

CNFA relies heavily on the expertise of U.S. volunteers from diverse backgrounds to respond to the needs of host country farmers and organizations. Our volunteers are experts in their fields and represent all ages and industries. They are farmers, bankers, professors, civil servants, and active and retired business people. The assignments, ranging from two-to-four-week long projects, vary in scope, from training associated service providers and agribusinesses in financial management to marketing, cooperative development, agricultural production, post-harvest and processing technologies, international quality standards, and rural finance.

Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan

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Overview:

Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan (FAIDA) was a three-year USAID-funded project that assisted the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the private sector in developing legal framework and improved market infrastructure. As a result of program activities, financial sector institutions and their business partners were better able to create value, providing growth and employment opportunities for Afghans.

Agriculture is the most common source of income for citizens in Afghanistan. Accordingly, FAIDA focused on agribusiness growth to provide the economic stability necessary to expand the job market in rural areas. Working under subcontract with Chemonics International, CNFA handled micro-level activities to expand the depth and reach of Afghanistan’s financial sector to agricultural value chains and underserved MSMEs.

Program Approach:

  • Access to Credit for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs):CNFA’s Enterprise Component focused on two central objectives: the facilitation of access to business loans for Afghan enterprises and entrepreneurs by providing technical assistance, including drafting business plans and gathering loan underwriting documents; as well as providing assistance to banks in recruiting and training loan officers in newly developed Shariah-compliant loan products.
  • Access to Finance (A2F) Fair in Kabul: CNFA facilitated the organization of FAIDA’s first Access to Finance (A2F) Fair in Kabul in 2012. Over 40 financial institutions, including banks, microfinance institutions, insurance companies, and telecommunications and business support services, exhibited their products and services to over 1,500 Afghan firms and visitors. The event hosted workshops on topics such as Access to Finance for Women, Construction Finance, Trade Finance, Leasing, and Insurance;
  • Agriculture Value Chain Financing Opportunities:CNFA laid the groundwork to complete the following under FAIDA Ag-extension:
    • Assisted the Afghan National Seed Organization (ANSOR) to develop an Islamic loan product to extend to approximately 40 of its 100 members who wanted to access Sharia-compliant loans, and to increase the size and number of its conventional loans;
    • Assisted seven women’s cooperatives that were pre-selected by the MAIL, UNDP, and ACE to develop business plans and loan applications for the expansion of their existing enterprises;
    • Examined the feasibility of and facilitated lending for the establishment of grain storage facilities utilizing a warehouse receipt system, to stabilize the supply and price of basic grain throughout the year;
    • Provided Sharia-compliant lending to poultry feed millers to purchase ingredients, manufacture feed, and provide it on credit to broiler producers.
  • Access to Finance through Farm Service Center Association of Afghanistan (FSCAA):CNFA facilitated the creation of the FSCAA in 2009 under the USAID Afghanistan Farm Service Alliance (AFSA) to serve as an apex organization. The FSCAA drove expansion and enhancement of a network of FSC stores and improved commercial input supply infrastructure in Afghanistan, and gained a unique opportunity to strengthen its national presence and play a vital role in the development of the agricultural sector. FAIDA’s initiatives focused on ensuring the FSCAA’s financial sustainability and building a strong association that offered professional and technical services to its 25 agribusiness members;
  • Promoting Bank Credit through Associations:CNFA identified agriculture, construction, and carpet as sectors that would best benefit from FAIDA activities. FAIDA worked with the Afghan Builders Association, Kabul Chambers of Commerce, agriculture cooperatives, and associations, such as the FSCAA, to facilitate bank lending and ensured their capability of advising members on methods to acquire bank credit;
  • Incorporating Gender Equity:FAIDA provided targeted business development training and mobile money activities for Afghan women. CNFA’s Enterprise Component promoted loans to women entrepreneurs through the release of requests for proposals (RFP). At the micro-level, FAIDA facilitated direct access to finance and business training for women through numerous activities:
    • Partnership with Mobile Network Operator (MNO) Etisalat to promote women’s access to finance with the MoWA and the Kabul Women’s Garden;
    • Development of a concept note and credit scheme for the Afghan Women’s Business Federation to link women’s MSMEs with the formal financial sector;
    • Training of 42 businesswomen from Nangahar on developing business plans, financing their projects, and marketing during a successful two-day Business and Gender workshop in Jalalabad, Nangahar – the first in a series of workshops held throughout the country.

Afghanistan Farm Service Alliance

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Overview:

The Afghanistan Farm Service Alliance (AFSA) program was launched as an innovative Global Development Alliance (GDA) program dedicated to increasing the incomes of farmers in Afghanistan through the support and development of a robust input supply network. Funded in two phases, CNFA led this four-year, $9.5 million program and established 18 Farm Service Centers (FSCs) in 17 provinces, ensuring affordable and reliable access for Afghan farmers to quality inputs and services such as seeds, fertilizer, crop protection products, and agriculture extension, as well as access to credit. FSCs received matching grant funding, as well as capacity building training and business network development support. The matching grant model proved to be highly successful, with grant funding stimulating more than $49 million added sales of licit goods by FSCs.

Program Approach:

The overall goal of AFSA was to increase the incomes of farmers in Afghanistan. To reach this goal, CNFA and its AFSA partners achieved these primary objectives:

  • Established sustainable and improved commercial input supply and farm service infrastructure in Afghanistan;
  • Ensured that farmers have affordable and reliable access to quality inputs and services, including seeds, fertilizers, crop protection products, and agriculture extension;
  • Linked farmers to expanding cash market opportunities to help them benefit from productivity and quality improvements brought about by the use of new inputs;
  • Effectively integrated women into the agricultural workforce through woman-owned FSCs and by mobilizing women farmer groups and organizations;
  • Served as a pioneering example of the “Afghan First” philosophy, successfully completing a transition to an all-Afghan team in 2010.

Farm Service Center Model: CNFA built a foundation for long-term agricultural development by catalyzing the growth of rural FSCs. FSCs improve access to high-quality inputs and provide platforms for agricultural extension, access to credit, post-harvest handling, and output marketing services. CNFA trained FSC owners and managers in business and inventory management, business plan development, new business development, marketing, and record keeping.

Association Development: CNFA facilitated the creation of the Farm Service Center Association of Afghanistan (FSCAA), a business alliance of FSC owners, which acts as a steering committee to ensure the improvement of services for its member FSCs.

Women’s FSCs: In February of 2009, AFSA established the first women-owned and operated FSC in Afghanistan. The women-led FSCs offer agricultural supplies catered to products that women produce, including canned and pickled goods, and provide training specifically geared to female agriculturalists.

Amalima

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Overview:

Amalima, a seven-year USAID Development Food Aid Program (DFAP) (2013-2020), works with over 56,000 households to sustainably improve household food security and nutrition in Zimbabwe’s districts of Bulilima, Gwanda, Mangwe (Matabeleland South), and Tsholotsho (Matabeleland North).

Amalima draws its name from the Ndebele word for the social contract by which families come together to help each other engage in productive activities such as land cultivation, livestock tending, and asset building.

Program Approach:

  1. Improve Sustainable Access to and Availability of Food: Amalima promotes climate and conservation-sensitive agriculture practices and encourages the adoption of improved agriculture and livestock production practices;
  2. Strengthen Community Resilience to Shocks: Amalima partners with communities to improve livelihoods and build resilience by creating and strengthening disaster risk reduction (DRR) committees through cash for asset activities, household asset vouchers, and village savings and lending (VS&L) groups that promote income generating activities and savings to build household resiliency;
  3. Improve Nutrition and Health: Amalima improves the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) practices, dietary diversity, and micro-nutrient intake of pregnant and lactating women and children under two by distributing supplementary feeding rations and enhancing nutrition care practices with a combination of capacity building, mentoring, and community-based messaging delivered through care groups and community health clubs;
  4. Promote Gender Equality: Amalima empowers women to play a key role in food security and resiliency at the household and community levels through increased access to and control over incomes, while promoting men and women to take increasingly equal responsibilities for both productive and reproductive activities.

Partners:

  • Organization of Rural Associations for Progress
  • Dabane
  • International Medical Corps
  • Africare
  • Manoff Group

Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth

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Overview:

The USAID Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth (REGIS-AG) program (2015-2020) is designed to increase incomes of vulnerable households by improving the performance and inclusiveness of the cowpea, poultry, and small ruminant value chains. Implemented in Niger and Burkina Faso, REGIS-AG is one of many projects operating under USAID’s Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) initiative, supported by a consortium of partners and led by CNFA.

Program Approach:

  1. Resilience to Environmental, Security, and Economic Shocks: A key function of the project is to improve community resistance to shocks by sustainably rehabilitating markets, facilitating village-savings programs, and improving access to shared and household assets along three value chains: cowpea, poultry, and small ruminants;
  2. Facilitation Approach to Catalyzing Market Systems: REGIS-AG uses a “facilitation approach” that aims to improve the function of markets and create sustainable change without becoming embedded in the system. REGIS-AG also aims to identify opportunities through value chain and end-market analysis, and to strengthen relationships across its value chains;
  3. Strengthen Input Supply and Other Supporting Services to Improve Smallholder and Agro-pastoralist Access to Interconnected Markets: CNFA concentrates on improving the delivery of and access to veterinary services and feed provision centers for poultry and small ruminants, and improving the supply of agricultural inputs for cowpeas with a specific emphasis on Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) bags for improved storage practices;
  4. Increase Access to Finance, Innovation, and Private Sector Investments: REGIS-AG works with private sector investments to design and market financial products that will expand access to services, particularly for women. It also works to improve the enabling environment for local and regional private sector investment by building the trust between value chain actors and increasing their voice at the policy level;
  5. Gender and Women’s Empowerment: REGIS-AG employs a comprehensive approach to engage both men and women in overcoming structural biases and barriers in the three target value chains through education and integration into the formal market economy.

Partners:

Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Association Nigérienne pour la Dynamisation des Initiatives Locales (Karkara), Association for Catalyzing Pastoral Development in Niger (AREN), Association Nodde Nooto (A2N), and the Association pour la Gestion de l’Environnement et le Développement (AGED).

Farmer-to-Farmer: Southern Africa (Closed 2018)

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CNFA implemented the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program in Southern Africa starting in 2008. From 2008-2018, CNFA’s F2F operated in the countries of Angola, Malawi, and Mozambique and aimed to generate rapid, sustained economic growth in the agricultural sector through short-term technical assistance provided by expert U.S. volunteers, including farmers, bankers, professors, civil servants, and active and retired business people. Lasting two-to-four weeks, volunteer assignments focused on a range of topics, from training farmers’ associations in improved production techniques to teaching cooperatives better financial management and marketing.

CNFA volunteers were guided and supported by our highly trained home and local staff. Through the storytelling of returned volunteers, F2F increased the broader American public’s understanding of international development issues and the critical importance of U.S. development programs.

Program Approach:

Since 2008, CNFA worked with agribusinesses, extension agencies, cooperatives, and farmers to provide expertise on topics including crop production, post-harvest handling and marketing of seeds, cooperative and association development, business plan development, communications and marketing support, and financial management.

  1. Increased Agricultural Sector Productivity and Profitability: CNFA’s approach focused on increasing smallholder productivity and profitability by targeting high-potential value chains in each target country;
  2. Improved Conservation and Sustainable Use of Environmental and Natural Resources: CNFA balanced increased agricultural productivity with improved conservation and sustainable resource use. Examples of volunteer roles include: water management, integrated pest management (IPM), and integrated soil fertility management;
  3. Expanded Agricultural Sector Access to Financial Services: CNFA linked smallholder farmer organizations and SMEs with credit via appropriate channels, including micro-finance institutions, banks, supplier credit, leasing, equity investment, and blended capital from investors;
  4. Strengthened Agricultural Sector Institutions: CNFA strengthened farmer organizations, including cooperatives and associations, local NGOs, industry associations that support improved input supply, and agricultural universities.

Agricultural Growth Program – Livestock Market Development

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Overview: 

The Agricultural Growth Program-Livestock Market Development (AGP-LMD) (2012-2018) was a livestock market development project funded by USAID. As part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future (FTF) Initiative. AGP-LMD fostered growth, created jobs for rural households, and reduced hunger and malnutrition through increased competitiveness of selected livestock value chains in meat and dairy.

The project was part of USAID’s broader contribution to the Government of Ethiopia’s Agricultural Growth Program, aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and market access for crop and livestock products in targeted areas while bolstering the participation of women and youth. Additionally, CNFA supported local partner organizations in leading interventions through existing cooperatives, associations, government agencies, and private firms, spurring sustainable economic growth in Ethiopia.

Program Approach: 

  1. Increased Productivity and Competitiveness of Selected Livestock Value Chains: AGP-LMD provided training to livestock producers, enabling them to increase their livestock production, expand private farm supply businesses to better provide commercial farm inputs and services, and increase their competitiveness in domestic and international markets.

 

  1. Improved Enabling Environment for Livestock Value Chains: The AGP-LMD team facilitated policy discussions to reform bottlenecks and involved stakeholders through workshops and platforms. The program leveraged capacity-building for public and private sector actors, coordinated linkages with other USAID programs, and applied research to yield successful interventions. Over the life of the project, AGP-LMD developed and supported 11 livestock-related policies, regulations, and administrative procedures.
  1. Improved Quality and Diversity of Household Diets: AGP-LMD integrated communications and community mobilization efforts related to nutritional practices in program activities,  targeting improvements in quality and diversity of diet for children under two and people living with HIV/AIDS. Through development agents and health extension workers, AGP-LMD reached more than 160,000 people with nutrition messaging.

Direct collaboration between the project and the Government of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries resulted in the launch of the Ethiopian Livestock Identification and Traceability System (ETLITS) in 2017. Implemented by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and financially supported by USAID, ETLITS enables organizations and businesses to track the lifespan of livestock and their production, processing, distribution, and transport into the broader retail market, as well as to help ensure animal health and food safety.

  1. Women’s Empowerment: AGP-LMD trained more than 400 women entrepreneurs in business and leadership, equipping them with skills like time management, strategic planning, business relationship management, and ICT to help them participate more formally in the marketplace, increase their savings, improve the quality of their products, and strengthen their decision-making power within the household.

Partners:

  • Netherlands Development Organization
  • International Medical Corps
  • Self-Help Africa- Ethiopia
  • Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara
  • Relief Society of Tigray
  • Institute for International Education
  • The Oromo Grassroots Development Initiative

 

Agro-Inputs Project

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CNFA implemented the USAID-funded Agro-Inputs Project (AIP) to improve the knowledge of and access to quality agricultural inputs for farmers in the Feed the Future (FTF) zone of Bangladesh. Through the establishment of a sustainable Agro-Input Retailers Network (AIRN), CNFA provided trainings and technical assistance on business management and ethics, basic agronomics, safe use and handling of pesticides, and other related topics to 3,000 agro-input retailers. AIP activities specifically targeted 300 women retailers through grant funding, tailored training, and advisory activities to encourage women’s participation in the agro-inputs sector. These AIRN members are expected to serve 1 million smallholder farmers, impacting more than 5 million individuals across 20 southern districts of Bangladesh and generating more than $100 million in sales.

Program Approach:

Building on extensive experience in the development of agro-dealer networks across Europe and Africa, CNFA’s approach supported the development of AIRN as a high-quality technical training and advisory service provider to ultimately increase smallholder production and productivity. Recognizing the importance of gender sensitivity and environmental consciousness to this approach, CNFA integrated both into every aspect of AIP to ensure equity and sustainability in our programming. AIP’s core interventions included:

  1. Established AIRN, a first-of-its-kind agro-inputs training organization and service provider in the FTF zone;
  2. Improved the effectiveness of the agricultural inputs market information system (MIS) through distribution of Monthly Price Outlook Bulletins supported by an innovative GIS platform containing data on input distributions networks, client concentrations, cropping patterns, and product and price trends to our retailers. In addition, the project aimed to create demand for improved quality inputs among farmers through 500 input demonstration plots;
  3. Enhanced Knowledge and Application of Quality Standards: CNFA improved recognition of and demand for quality inputs through a multi-media awareness campaign designed to encourage retailers and farmers to purchase quality agro-inputs. In addition, AIP worked with industry associations, their members, and the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) to improve industry standards for major crops;
  4. Strengthened Local Organizations: CNFA helped local organizations to become future implementers of USAID activities. Capacity building and financial assistance was provided to industry association partners AIRN, Bangladesh Fertilizer Association, and Bangladesh Crop Protection Association, as well as to a wide range of local NGOs and private sector entities.

Partnering Input Supply Companies:

  • Bayer Cropscience
  • Getco Agro Vision Limited
  • Lal Teer Seed Limited
  • Syngenta Bangladesh Limited