Linking Mango Farmers to New Markets in Egypt

Linking Mango Farmers to New Markets in Egypt

Posted On: Filed Under:

A turquoise blue pickup truck pulls into Al Obour Market, carrying crate on crate of ripe mangoes stacked in the truck bed. It’s the crack of dawn and the energy at Al Obour, one of the largest fruit and vegetable markets in Cairo, Egypt, begins to shift from the stillness that takes hold for only a few hours overnight to bustling activity at the first sight of light as farmers and buyers congregate to make deals on grapes, watermelon, tomatoes, or any other produce. Simultaneously, a group of nine farmers open the door of their white van and step on to the sidewalk of the market, sleep still at the corner of their eyes.

The FAS team leads a mango post-harvest training in Aswan, Egypt

These farmers made the 14-hour drive from Aswan with the support of the Feed the Future Egypt Food Security and Agribusiness Support (FAS) project, which aims to increase the incomes and improve food security for at least 14,000 Upper Egyptian smallholder farmers, to connect with buyers that could potentially offer higher prices than the local market in Aswan. This day did not occur in isolation but was instead the product of months of training and preparation for these farmers.

As one of the largest markets in Cairo, the buyers at Al Obour Market will not purchase just any mangoes. Instead, they seek out quality mango, perfectly ripe and free of bruising. The farmers in Aswan originally struggled with post-harvest losses and producing high-quality mangoes that could earn higher prices. Part of the problem came from lack of access to inputs, whereas others revolved around harvesting techniques, such as when farmers shook the trees until the mangoes fell to the ground. In order to address these issues, the FAS harvest and post-harvest team conducted on-farm training to 49 mango farmers in Aswan. The four-day training introduced participating farmers to new harvesting techniques in order to retain the quality and reduce damages of the mangoes during harvest. For example, the FAS team designed a new tool that enabled farmers to pick the mangoes directly from the tree, keeping the fruit fresh and free from bruising. Attending mango farmers also learned about the importance of sorting and packing the mango fruits in carton boxes, which helps retain the high-quality of the fruit, resulting in higher prices for farmers.

But the training didn’t just stop once the mangoes were properly picked and packed. The FAS project also aims to improve farmers and producer organizations’ marketing of agricultural crops, ultimately allowing farmers to reap higher profits. The Aswan mango farmers previously sold to middlemen before the fruit had matured for a low price in order to get fast cash to pay off agricultural expenses. The FAS marketing team conducted extensive training with farmers in marketing and negotiation to give farmers the knowledge and confidence to connect directly with buyers. The project also encouraged farmers to come together and sell with other farmers in order to gain bargaining power.

Usama Abdel Rahman, a FAS Marketing Officer from Aswan, played a key role in training farmers in the negotiation skills that would be utilized in Al Obour Market. “The trainings were very interactive. We would use scripts and role play to give farmers firsthand experience in negotiation,” he said.

So, when the day came for the farmers to meet with the buyers, they were well prepared. Farmers represented nine agriculture associations in Aswan and brought along with them a 1.5 ton sample of their mangoes. As a group, the farmers walked around the market and sat down more than a few times with buyers to talk logistics and numbers. Ultimately, all nine of the farmers made their sale to Haj Adly Abdel Gabbar of Al Itehad Company. Whereas these farmers on average sell their mangoes for LE 6 per kilo in Aswan market, this trader facilitated selling the mangoes at LE 11.5 per kilo, nearly doubling the price. Haj Abdel Gabbar was clear that the farmers aren’t the only ones that benefit, as he received 10% commission for facilitating such a purchase.

“I am also happy because I get to deal with the farmers directly and these mangoes here are very good quality. This will result in increasing the profit margin for farmers which will improve their economic status which reflects positively on the economic development of the country,” he said.

This day stood as a testament of the tangible knowledge and skills these farmers have acquired through the FAS project and their ability to utilize these skills to connect with new markets and sell their produce at higher prices. Although a small step, these farmers left Al Obour market making it known that Aswan has the potential to become a reliable source of quality mango.

Leveraging Digital Solutions to Improve Farmers’ Yields in Egypt

Posted On: Filed Under:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pomegranates Grow into New Market Channels

Posted On: Filed Under:

With the goal of expanding marketing channels and increasing sales revenues of smallholder pomegranate farmers, USAID’s Feed the Future Egypt, Food Security and Agribusiness Support (FAS) project organized a farmers’ visit to Al Obour wholesale market. The goal of the visit was to successfully negotiate profitable sales agreements by applying sales negotiation best practices which they learned from the FAS project. Five farmers, representing the two largest agricultural associations in Assiut, participated in the visit on September 20th, 2018. Two of the five farmers came from Al Akal Al Bahary Association, which has 65 farmers who collectively own 130 feddans. They produce about 1,000 tons of pomegranate a year. The other three farmers came from Bader Association, which has a membership of 630 farmers who collectively own 750 feddans. They produce about 11,250 tons of pomegranate a year.

FAS production and marketing team train the farmers on negotiation skills

Two days before the visit, the five farmers received hands-on field training from the FAS marketing and post-harvest teams on collecting, sorting, and packing pomegranate to meet Al Obour wholesale market’s required specifications and can help farmers increase their sales opportunities and profit margins. The day before the visit, FAS production and marketing team members trained the farmers on negotiation skills so they could be better equipped to negotiate favorable deals with Al Obour market traders. The FAS team explained to farmers the importance of carefully collecting information on traders and crop prices in the market; the more market information farmers have, the better equipped they are to fetch favorable prices for their crops. FAS provided the farmers with handouts containing sample questions farmers can use to collect market information. In addition, the training covered the importance of identifying the specifications required by dealers and exporters, which will enable farmers to better adhere to specifications to increase possible market channels. The FAS project has identified Al Obour market as an optimal location for pomegranate sales compared to other markets because the market is well connected with pomegranate exporters.

Early in the morning on market day, the five farmers delivered 25 cartons, 5 kilos each, of their high-quality pomegranates to be displayed at Al Obour market. They then applied lessons from their previous days’ training by meeting with traders to collect marketing information. In addition, the Al Obour traders reinforced the importance of sorting, grading, and packing the pomegranates by providing an informal lesson to complement the training they received from the FAS technical team. Farmers then negotiated sales prices with the dealers; in general, buyers will buy the commodities according to the prevailing daily market price, while the dealer will receive a commission from the buyer for services rendered. This commission ranges between 5% to 15% of the purchase amount.


Haj Amro Abo Elela, a well-known trader at Al Obour market, agreed to display the 5 FAS farmers pomegranates at the market with the goal of selling them on the export market. Mr. Abo Elela agreed to an 8% sales commission for any successful export sales, on the condition that the farmers deliver the pomegranates according to the market’s grading, sorting, and packing standards. An eight percent sales commission is considered by farmers to be a favorable commission for export sales.

Haj Gamal Saad, another trader at Al Obour market, agreed to visit the 5 pomegranate farms to review the quality of the pomegranates and the farm facilities. During that visit, he expressed interest in facilitating the sale of their produce, in accordance with the best market price, and with a 5% commission (5%-15% is the current range of acceptable market commission rates).


The visit to Al Obour market allowed the farmers to learn about wholesale operations, sales processes, and to realize the great potential for increased profit margins that they can yield by engaging with traders who can sell their pomegranates for export. By exposing associations and cooperatives to new market channels for one crop, the USAID FAS project also helps member farmers tap into new market channels for other types of crops that they are growing by expanding their awareness of market opportunities.

Farmer Refaat Mohamed Hassan, representative of Al Akal Al Bahary Association explained that “the visit to Al Obour market was beneficial to us (farmers), because we collected a great database which we will use to compare the sales prices and to negotiate the best profitable deals.” Mr. Hassan practiced his new market analysis and negotiation skills by comparing the sales prices in different markets; he ended up selling 15 tons of pomegranate at the Soal wholesale market for EGP 56,250 compared to the EGP 45,000 that he could have sold them for at the local market, which resulted in a 25% income increase.


USAID Egypt Food Security & Agribusiness Support (FAS) Project Links Local Onion Farmers to an International Exporter

Posted On: Filed Under:

The FAS project supported the Negoaa Mazen agriculture cooperative, based in Sohag governorate, to complete an export contract with ELI company, an Albanian exporter, in which the cooperative sold 45 Metric Tons of high quality onions to ELI. This was the first time an international exporter directly contracted a cooperative without its own packhouse facilities. This success demonstrates the potential a well-managed cooperative has for negotiating and organizing member farmers to deliver on contracts. The elimination of middlemen in this exchange both increased prices available to farmers, and improved information exchange by creating a direct link between farmers and an export market actor.

The onions were sold at a competitive price of LE 5000 per Metric Ton, amounting to a total transaction value of LE 225,000 that is about 10% higher than would otherwise have been available to the farmers for onions of similar quality.

This successful contract between Negoaa Mazen agriculture cooperative and ELI is part of the FAS project’s overall objective to increase smallholder farmer incomes by facilitating opportunities for farmers to sell horticultural crops to export markets. One strategy the project follows for achieving this is to build and encourage formation of new relationships through trade show participation. At the Fruit Logistica Trade Fair in Berlin in February 2019, FAS project had the opportunity to connect with numerous international exporters such as ELI and encourage them to connect with cooperatives and associations with whom the project works, such as Negoaa Mazen. By helping to forge relationships between the buyer and local supplier, the FAS project empowered the Negoaa Mazen Cooperative to negotiate sales terms, and to contract neighboring groups to help them meet buyer demand.

The Negoaa Mazen Cooperative was established in 1962 in Sohag Governorate.  It offers agriculture and marketing services to around 2,000 smallholder farmer members, who collectively own 2,000 feddans of land, about 200 feddans of which are owned by women. Crops include green beans, wheat, onion, sugar cane, and clover. The FAS project provided technical support and regular monitoring for cooperative members to help improve their crop yields and ensure that their product would meet export quality standards. Training and technical assistance included fertilization programs, irrigation, integrated pest management (IPM), and best practices for harvesting. The project also advised farmers on good input supplies to improve product quality and increase their productivity.

In addition to providing the cooperative with technical support on production, the FAS project built Negoaa Mazen Cooperative’s capacity to both maintain high standards of product quality in compliance with exporter requirements, as well as to negotiate suitable contract terms. The FAS project also worked with both parties to help them comply with domestic regulations and manage logistics such as connecting with a local shipping company to export the onions. “We gained experience dealing with the international market, became aware of international standards required by this exporter, and were trained on the proper handling of onion for export by the project,” said farmer Ahmed Saleh, Chairman of Negoaa Mazen Cooperative.

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

Posted On: Filed Under:

Farmer Ayman Solhy

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

Decreases in Basil Production Due to the Downy Mildew Parasite

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

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

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

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

Basil Market Constraints and the Way Forward

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

Preparation of the dry basil

Changing Male Perception towards Domestic Duties

Posted On: Filed Under:

Although Rwanda has registered remarkable improvements in gender equality, some men continue to shun domestic duties as reserved for women. Those that get involved in domestic chores often end up being ridiculed by fellow males as ‘inganzwa’ (a reference to a husband who is subservient to his wife), a tendency that discourages males from supporting their wives at home. However, one farmer has vowed to change this status quo.

Elaste Mbonimpaye, (35), resides in Kabusunzu village, Isangano cell, Ndego sector in Kayonza district. He supports his wife at home but is always dismayed by the attitude of fellow males towards domestic chores. Luckily, he was selected by his community to become a male gender champion. These are groups organized by HW to mobilize males to engage in gender and nutrition-related activities. Through current community volunteers – 150 male gender champions, 150 female role models, and 100 Youth for Change, HW is mobilizing communities to adopt dietary diversity and proper nutrition. The aim is to improve the nutritional status for women and children and to increase yield and incomes for 560,000 farmers.

Elaste joined a care group in September 2018 and received training on gender equality and female empowerment with focus on equitable decision – making regarding family incomes and equal division of labor. Leading by example, he showed how this has changed his own household. That is all he needed to mobilize and train 30 farmers in his group and their spouses, who are now able to take joint decisions and divide home chores.

His wife, Nakure Médiatrice, is evidence of how increased support with childcare enabled her to have enough spare time to engage in the activities of a women savings group. She invested 40,000 RWF of her savings into a small retail shop of fresh foods and vegetables.

“I’m now closer to my children while my wife is now generating income for the family,” observed Elaste.

From the savings, they were able to acquire three additional plots of land, paid for community health insurance for the whole family, and bought scholastic materials for their children.

The family is still counting their gains. The wife has since gained confidence to make decisions at home and that has opened many windows of opportunity. She now has spare time to educate other women on how to manage domestic affairs and also takes care of herself.

Support for Agrodealers improves business and access to farm input

Posted On: Filed Under:

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

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

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

Pacifique Uwayisaba makes inventory of fertilizers before distribution

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

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

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

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

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

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

USAID supports farmer education and community action to combat Fall Armyworm in Rwanda

Posted On: Filed Under:

Bugesera, Karongi, Nyabihu and Ngororero districts are among the hardest-hit areas of the deadly Fall Army Worm (FAW) pest attacking maize. FAW is an invasive pest that can cause significant yield losses if not well managed. It can reproduce multiple times each year and the moth can fly up to 100 km per night. However, the pest can be controlled through use of appropriate pesticides and early detection.

Over 760 hectares have been the most impacted by FAW across three districts of Bugesera, Ngororero, Nyabihu and Karongi and farmers are feeling the effects. FAW is expected to wreak havoc if farmers don’t aren’t prepared to combat it in time. Farmers need the knowledge about the early warnings of the pest markings before it multiplies. Last year alone, 2017 FAW infested an estimated 17,521ha of maize out of over 60,000 ha in season 2018 B. Farmers were thus more than alarmed about the potential losses to their crops.

To respond to this challenge, USAID through its Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity, which aims to sustainably improve agricultural productivity, increase smallholder farmers’ income and nutritional status, rapidly moved to work with stakeholders on the ground and farmers to combat FAW to reduce its destruction of yields particularly for maize in season B 2018.


Hinga Weze’s agronomist helping farmers hand-pick the Fall Armywarm in Karongi district where Hinga Weze has activities

Hinga Weze worked hard to build the capacity of key players to fight FAW through trainings on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) delivered through Farmer Field Schools and Farmer Promoters reaching over 29,000 farmers. One of these farmers, Musabimana Pilipila, 35, is a smallholder farmer in Sangati Cell, Nyabivumu Sector in Karongi District. She was among those hit-hard by the FAW. She expected the yield from her 0.4 ha to benefit her family of four children. However, FAW attacked her plantations of maize. As a participant of Hinga Weze, Pilipila has been able to access pesticides and acquire new knowledge on effective pesticide application through a local agrodealer. Her prospects seem promising as she explained that ‘’I have been able to fight FAW massively through support by accessing appropriate pesticides and modern spraying equipment, thanks to Hinga Weze staff who have been with me throughout the process’’ she says

Hinga Weze bought and distributed spraying and protective equipment (pumps and protection equipment) to all 10 districts’ intervention areas and Hinga Weze district staff continue to train farmers on how to use safe pesticides to combat FAW. Also, Hinga Weze has linked hundreds of farmers with agro-dealers for access to the pesticides of their choice. So far, 245 agro-dealers are working with Hinga Weze to provide modern affordable spraying equipment and better seeds to farmers across the 10 target districts.

Since maize is a staple food for Rwandans, Hinga Weze district staff have been supporting farmers together with district stakeholders in targeted districts to fight FAW infestation. ‘’On many occasions I am personally involved picking FAW with farmers to demonstrate the urgency of intervention to fight FAW on time’’ says the Hinga Weze agronomist of Karongi district.

Scheme Offers Rural Farmers Access to Affordable Inputs on Credit

Posted On: Filed Under:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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