USAID Yalwa

USAID Yalwa

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Enhancing Markets and Nutrition in Niger

Overview:

The five-year USAID Yalwa activity strengthens the capacities of farmers, producer organizations, agribusinesses and rural households in the Maradi, Tillabéri and Zinder regions of Niger to meet the growing demand for affordable, safe and nutritious food.

Yalwa, means “fulfillment” or “blossoming” in the Hausa language. USAID Yalwa supports USAID’s regional Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) program, which works with the Government of Niger to help citizens escape poverty and build resilience to natural, economic, and other shocks. USAID Yalwa includes a ground-breaking component on food market systems and follows five years of progress generated by the USAID-funded Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth (REGIS-AG) program, also implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA).

Program Approach:

USAID Yalwa’s market systems facilitation approach is based on collaboration with catalytic local actors and networks. Yalwa will work primarily through unions to provide services to producer groups (access to agro-inputs, fnance, skills development, etc.), while building their capacity to provide services without project  support. The approach leverages commercial investments to build long-term linkages between buyers and sellers, ensure delivery of inputs and services, and
supply nutritious food. It also builds the skills of farmers, traders, and processors so they can earn a profit from their businesses, seek out nutritious foods, and become self-reliant.

Yalwa targets 105,000 farmers in over 195 villages, and 160 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by fulfilling the following purposes:

  1. Enhance performance of market systems in the cowpea, small ruminant and poultry value chains.
  2. Increase the use of high-quality inputs and services such as seeds, fertilizers, and livestock and poultry feed, improving food production and storage, and supporting improved marketing, production, and access to finance and climate information.
  3. Increase local consumption of nutritious, safe and affordable foods by promoting demand and helping market actors to supply the food to targeted populations.
  4. Promote inclusive markets for women and youth by identifying barriers to market participation, and working with communities to encourage youth and women’s entrepreneurship and leadership.

Partners: 

USAID Yidgiri

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Enhancing Markets and Nutrition in Burkina Faso

Overview:

The five-year United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Yidgiri activity is designed to strengthen market systems, sustainably improve household incomes, and enhance the nutritional status of women and children in Burkina Faso.

Aptly named Yidgiri, or “grow” in the Mòoré language, USAID Yidgiri is part of the second phase of the USAID Regional Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) project, which supports vulnerable communities in Burkina Faso to effectively prepare for and manage recurrent crises and pursue sustainable pathways out of poverty. By 2025, USAID Yidgiri aims to improve the resilience of market systems by establishing profitable linkages between producers and buyers in the Centre Nord, Sahel, and Est regions of Burkina Faso and facilitating access to local and regional markets throughout the Sahel.

Program Approach:

USAID Yidgiri aims to strengthen the resilience of market systems by building individual and institutional capacities among agricultural market actors in Burkina Faso. USAID Yidgiri has three focus areas:

  1. Enhance performance of commodity market systems by establishing profitable market linkages between producers and buyers, improving livestock market system structure and governance, and enhancing the capacity of market system actors, including farmers, producer organizations and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to access financial services and products.
  2. Increase utilization of quality inputs and services by supporting business clusters, organizing seasonal commodity fairs, facilitating partnerships between producer organizations and industrial and institutional buyers, and stimulating and leveraging financial services. USAID Yidgiri works at the systems level to decrease costs, improve quality, and educate farmers on the most efficient and effective use of available inputs and services.
  3. Increase local consumption of nutritious, safe and affordable foods by improving demand, facilitating the market-driven development of diverse sources of food, and employing social behavior change (SBC) interventions to ensure that all activities resonate with targeted rural markets, especially women and youth.

Partners: 

Providing Access to Finance in Nigeria: The Babban Gona Story

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Photo Courtesy of Babban Gona

Although agriculture is the mainstay of Nigeria’s rural economy—and an important contributor to Nigerian economic growth and food security—most of the nation’s “agro- preneurs” still encounter significant difficulties to accessing the financing they need to increase the profitability and sustainability of their businesses. These hurdles have persisted even in the wake of decades of government and donor-funded agricultural development initiatives.

To address this challenge, the USAID-funded Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity supported Babban Gona, a Nigerian agricultural social enterprise, to overcome these hurdles.

The Activity—implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) —helps to broaden agribusinesses’ access to finance and investment by mitigating the risks they face when seeking funding to expand and scale up operations. For Babban Gona, the Activity provided expertise to review the legal articles, financial projections, and contractual agreements to meet the expectations of all parties. As a result, Babban Gona was able to successfully negotiate the offers and conclude agreements with the financiers.

The new funding equated to $18 million for Babban Gona. This was processed in two transactions —an equity investment from KfW Development Bank, based in Germany, and a subsequent debt facility from the Agriculture Financing Initiative (AgriFI).

“It is a true privilege to welcome KfW as a Babban Gona shareholder and board member,” said Adaeze Usoh, Babban Gona’s Corporate Finance Minister. “This partnership would not have been possible without the support of the USAID Agribusiness Investment Activity.”

Babban Gona provides four key services to its farmers, or “outgrowers” — innovative financial services; agricultural input services at competitive prices; training and capacity development to establish strong farmer groups; and access to markets to generate increased profits. Babban Gona will primarily use the new funds gained to add new storage capacity as well as expand the locations and number of the firm’s outgrowers.

“I am impressed with the Babban Gona business model and am confident that the lives and businesses of their smallholder farmer out-growers will greatly improve through the financial and extension support being provided,” said Dr. Adam Saffer, the Activity’s Chief of Party and Managing Director.

Over the next four years, the Activity will continue to support Nigerian producer groups, aggregators, processors, and other services within the agribusiness value chain in gaining access to affordable finance and attracting investment. Saffer also said, “The social and economic potential of the agriculture sector is one of Nigeria’s greatest competitive and comparative advantages, and we aim to help producers, off-takers, and financiers alike realize this through a better mutual understanding of each other’s expectations.”

Additional details of the Activity can be found here

 

Private Sector Activity (PSA)

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In 2015, the Government of Azerbaijan (GOAJ) developed strategic sector roadmaps for developing the economy, with a special focus on nonoil sectors such as agriculture. The need for developing non-oil sectors, especially agriculture – which officially employs half the Azerbaijani workforce – became obvious as the world price for oil began declining in 2014. Since then, the GOAJ implemented a reform agenda supporting incentives for non-oil exports by facilitating greater exposure to regional markets, implementing administrative reforms to remove barriers for trade, registering agricultural associations, and establishing new government agencies to support small and medium sized business.

The USAID Private Sector Activity (PSA) is a five-year, $15 million initiative that utilizes a partnership and co-investment approach to support a more resilient Azerbaijan economy and improve the business enabling environment. To accomplish this, the Activity supports the non-oil sector by improving the competitiveness of the private sector (with a special emphasis on agriculture and other rural economic activities), building the capacity of business support services, and reducing the barriers that hinder the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The Private Sector Activity is building on the successes of USAID’s support to agricultural producers and processors in Azerbaijan achieved over the last 20 years. In partnership with the Azerbaijani government and the private sector, the Activity helps address their priorities for modernization and improvement of public and private sector support and service delivery. This supports the diversification of Azerbaijan’s economy by strengthening the capacity of public institutions to carry out new responsibilities and adjust to institutional change to implement the reforms outlined in the strategic roadmap. The Activity achieves this through activities designed to:

  1. Develop a more diversified economy: USAID provides assistance that supports the increased diversification of the non-oil economy in Azerbaijan, specifically but not limited to the agricultural sector. As such, the Activity assists small and medium-sized farmers to become commercially viable, competing in local or export markets. The project also works with processors, traders, and cold storage operators to improve their adherence to international standards. The activity builds capacity in support of developing the agricultural sector and value chains in which the activity works, as well as in support of USAID’s Global Development Alliance (GDA) initiatives.
  2. Improve the business environment for micro, small and medium-sized businesses: Because businesses face administrative barriers that stifle competition, dissuade investment, and constrain trade, the Activity works with associations and MSMEs to identify these barriers, communicate them to the relevant government agencies, and target their elimination. These efforts help to increase the benefits of economic growth and remove obstacles to competition, investment, trade and integration into the global economy. The Activity also contributes to the harmonization of Azerbaijan’s legislation and institutions with  international standards and recognized best practices. As a result, businesses have increased opportunities to produce, trade, export and earn income.
  3. Support Azerbaijan’s economic reforms: The Activity increases Azerbaijan’s economic stability by supporting economic reform initiatives to help boost the non-oil sector. To accomplish this, the project has developed a rapid, flexible response mechanism to provide technical specialists and material support to Azerbaijani officials who require assistance to identify public sector reforms. It will then recommend reform implementation options and monitor the progress of reforms offering assistance as needed. Support will include both short-term and long-term technical assistance to Azerbaijani counterparts, potentially including specialists in: Monetary Policy; Banking Supervision; Financial Intelligence; Public Financial Management; and others as identified by Azerbaijan’s government and private sector, as well as USAID.

Cross-cutting themes:

  1. GOAJ collaboration
  2. Private sector engagement
  3. Women’s economic participation

Partners:

  1. Nathan Associates Inc. (USA)
  2. WCC International (USA)

New Facility Helps Boost Revenues and Expand Market Access for Georgian Farmers

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Georgia is the world’s fourth-largest producer of hazelnuts. Production of the popular nut—one of that nation’s leading agricultural exports—supports the livelihoods of more than 50,000 Georgian growers and processors.

Unfortunately, inadequate post-harvest handling services and outdated Husking, Drying, and Storage (HDS) facilities have hindered many smallholder Georgian farmers from producing crops of consistently high quality—resulting in crop losses, lower prices and reduced profitability.

But now a new hazelnut HDS facility is helping to turn that situation around for one hazelnut-growing community. The facility, established with the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Georgia Hazelnut Improvement Project (G-HIP), opened its doors in September 2019 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by USAID Mission Director Peter Wiebler, local farmers and partners.

The new hazelnut facility—located in the Koki village, Zugdidi Municipality, Samegrelo Region, and owned and operated by Koki 2014 LLC—is designed to offer farmers husking, drying and storage services that will help them better process their crops and improve product quality in order to boost revenues and expand market access.

The project is part of efforts spearheaded by G-HIP’s Global Development Alliance (GDA), a coalition of USAID, Ferrero and Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) which leverages the partners’ technical and financial resources to advance development of the hazelnut industry.

Koki—which contributed $210,509 of its own cash to cover construction of the HDS facility, as well as expenses for new staff salaries, laboratory tools and marketing—used a $50,000 USAID/G-HIP grant to procure drying silos, heated air blowers, fans and a storage electric pallet stacker to outfit the new 800-square-meter HDS facility, which is expected to employ 17 individuals and serve approximately 300 local farmers. The $50,000 USAID/G-HIP grant was co-financed equally through the Agricultural and Rural Development Agency under the Georgian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, and AgriGeorgia/Ferrero for a total project cost of $260,509.

The facility will be capable of drying up to 1,000 tons of hazelnuts per year. With an estimated value of $1,800 per ton, this represents $1.8 million in potential revenue to improve the income and livelihoods of local hazelnut farmers and the 900 members of their families.

Improving the Georgian hazelnut sector’s post-harvest handling through new husking, drying and storing facilities represents just one part of G-HIP’s overall program objectives. Over the next year, G-HIP will also continue to provide training and technical assistance alongside the Georgian Hazelnut Growers’ Association and the Hazelnut Exporters and Processors Association, with the aim of further strengthening capacity, facilitating market linkages and improving growers’ knowledge of market requirements. G-HIP along with AgriGeorgia/Ferrero, will also support the establishment of a certification course in hazelnut cultivation and postharvest handling.

 

 

 

West Africa Cashew Project (PRO-Cashew)

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Overview:

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

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

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

Program Approach:

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

Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity

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Overview: 

The five-year USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity aims to strengthen the enabling environment for agribusiness finance and investment. To achieve this goal, the Activity focuses on four interrelated components: improving the enabling environment for agricultural sector growth; broadening access to finance by mitigating the credit risks of agribusinesses; promoting and facilitating investment opportunities for agribusinesses to expand and scale up operations; and sustainably enhancing the performance of agribusiness micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs). In line with the U.S. and Nigerian governments’ commitment to growing the non-oil-based economy, these efforts will increase the depth, breadth, dynamism, and competitiveness of Nigeria’s agribusiness sector.

Beginning in December 2018 and closing in December 2023, the $15.7 million Agribusiness Investment Activity, with Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) as the prime implementing partner, aims to viably and sustainably link thousands of MSMEs and producer organizations with high-performing commercial actors in the rice, maize, soybean, aquaculture, and cowpea value chains. As a result of streamlined regulations, more effective policies, improved production and processing practices, and significantly increased finance and investment flows, the Activity will increase the competitiveness and returns of both large, medium and small-scale agricultural enterprises. The overall objective of the Activity is to measurably improve the agribusiness investment climate in Nigeria, which plays a pivotal role in attracting foreign direct and domestic investment, leading to food security and improved nutrition.

Methodology

The Agribusiness Investment Activity’s four main components are:

  1. Improving the Agribusiness Enabling Environment: The policy, legal and regulatory burdens faced by agribusinesses – whether farmers, processors, or traders – constrain their productivity and growth. This initiative seeks to implement reforms to improve Nigeria’s agricultural and agribusiness enabling environment. This component focuses on making relevant policies, laws, and regulations less cumbersome, lowering the cost of compliance; reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers to promote more exports and import substitution; addressing infrastructure, land ownership, logistical constraints; minimizing the time it takes to perform statutory business functions; and limiting the scope for bureaucratic discretion.
  2. Broadening Access to Finance: The infrastructure and market reach of both formal and informal banking services remains inadequate in many regions, presenting a significant barrier for rural agricultural smallholder farmers (SHF) and MSMEs. The Agribusiness Investment Activity works to expand access to financial services across the value chains through informal, community-based savings plans; formal and informal credit; guarantee programs; insurance offerings, and more. Working with both lenders and borrowers, this component also supports initiatives that facilitate new and innovative funding approaches that expand access to capital and facilitate greater lending to the agriculture sector.
  3. Facilitating Investment: To catalyze new agribusiness investments, the Agribusiness Investment Activity works with both investors and investees to create commercially viable linkages. This includes building investors’ understanding and appetite to invest in the agribusiness sector as well as improving the investment readiness of agribusinesses and supporting enterprises desiring to scale-up operations. Through a demand-driven, private sector-led value chain approach, this component directly supports agribusinesses with technical assistance in areas such as identifying investment opportunities as well as helping firms meet investors’ selection criteria. By providing business development services and supporting strategic partnerships, the Activity strengthens market linkages and the competitiveness of smallholder farmers and agribusiness MSMEs to take advantage of emerging investment opportunities.
  4. Enhancing Agribusiness MSME Performance: Improving the performance of agribusinesses is a process that requires behavioral change. Most agribusinesses need direct technical assistance in adopting best practices as well as meeting the minimum assessment criteria of financial institutions (FIs) and investment groups. This component works directly with agribusinesses to improve financial, managerial and operational efficiency to enable them to become more competitive and able to access finance and investment opportunities.

Program Approach:

The Agribusiness Investment Activity employs a unique strategy by focusing on larger agribusinesses (called “Lead Firms”) as the central engine of its work. Through supporting the Lead Firms’ growth and expansion objectives, the Activity assists out-growers, financiers, investors, input suppliers, agrodealers, and service providers within their value chains. While the primary focus is on facilitating finance and investment, the Activity does not directly offer finance, investment, grants, or any other cash-based incentives. Rather, it identifies the best sources of financial and non-financial resources and supports it partners in accessing them. This includes identifying and advocating for the reform of the most pivotal legal and regulatory constraints.

The Agribusiness Investment Activity strictly focuses on the following five value chains: Rice, Maize, Soybean, Cowpea, and Aquaculture. Furthermore, it has a geographic concentration on the following seven states: Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi, and Niger.

The Agribusiness Investment Activity strategy includes but is not limited to the following key pillars:

  1. Working with public and private sector partners, including agribusinesses, financial institutions, investment groups, and business development service providers to facilitate greater engagement with MSMEs and potential agro-entrepreneurs in their value chains.
  2. Connecting agribusiness MSMEs to business development services (e.g., business plans, loan applications) that support them from inception to the formation of profitable, sustainable enterprises. Special emphasis will be given to MSMEs that are women and youth-owned or have the potential to hire significant numbers of women and youth.
  3. Supporting the development of new financial products suitable for agribusiness MSMEs and building public awareness as to where and how to access existing financial facilities.
  4. Linking MSMEs with larger firms in the selected value chains to facilitate viable and sustainable business linkages.
  5. Addressing policies that restrict or constrain the ease of doing business, including registration, licensing, obtaining land, collateral restrictions, and access to finance and investment.

 

AMD Sector Overview Videos

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Response to Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

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Overview:

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

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

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

Program Approach:

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