New Opportunities in Agriculture

New Opportunities in Agriculture

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Overview:

New Opportunities in Agriculture (NOA), a five-year, $2 million program funded by USAID under the RAISE PLUS IQC, boosted agricultural production by capitalizing on the strengths of traditional crops, introducing new high-value crops into market, involving women, youth and minorities in the production process and advancing and expanding value chains to draw in infrastructure investment and strengthen export capacity. From 2011 to 2015, NOA put tools in the hands of Kosovar farmers, supporting them in all aspects of production, marketing and entrepreneurial growth by providing vital training and opening market linkages to encourage and facilitate trade.  Working under contract with Tetra Tech, CNFA provided short-term technical expertise in value chain development through its USAID-funded JOhn Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program and extensive network of agribusiness consultants.

Approach:

From 2011 to 2015, NOA promoted value addition in targeted sectors, introduced new crops, including asparagus and saffron, and developed various crop-based producer groups to provide stronger linkages between producers and buyers throughout the region. It also expanded access to credit training and technical assistance for loan borrowers and officers and provided mentoring, training, workshops and technical assistance for private-sector agribusinesses, building the capacity of Kosovo’s private sector agribusinesses.

  1. Increased Affordable and Accessible Credit: NOA enables producers and other value chain actors to access capital or credit through a variety of mechanisms, such as loans and grants. A total of 142 small or medium enterprises received access to credit and grants issues for value chain operators and helped procure a variety of new agricultural equipment, allowing firms to increase productivity and reach new markets.
  2. Linked Farmers to Markets: NOA exposed Kosovar farmers and processors to new markets by organizing study tours and promotional events, as well as facilitating relationships between producers and buyers. These activities exposed producers to new technologies for crop production, new varieties to enhance yields and quality and new, higher-priced crops. In addition, these activities increased awareness amongst potential buyers of new opportunities arising from raw materials produced domestically. The program saw over $3.3 million in sales as a direct result of linkages created between farmers, processors and traders and a total of 310 delivery contracts were issued for targeted crops.
  3. Diversified and Increased Agricultural Products: NOA also expanded production by training farmers on the use of new technologies and value0adding processing, including a new processing line for bagged lettuce — the first of its kind in Kosovo. A total of 25 new technologies and management practices were introduced through the program and 1,200 farmers and processors adopted these new technologies and management practices. CNFA designed a toolbox of interventions to encourage table grape farmers to use growing techniques specific to table grapes, which included instruction on best cultural practices, improved canopy management and integrated the modified “T” trellising. This allowed for an extended growing season across all targeted crops, enabling farmers to produce earlier and earn higher prices.
  4. Improved Food Quality and Safety: NOA worked to improve food quality and safety to ensure Kosovar producers and processors abided by existing food safety regulations issued by government authorities. By working with firms to become certified and meet international standards, NOA built consumer confidence in local products in areas including water sanitation, the establishment of a Listeria exclusion and testing program, pre-harvest inspection procedures, hygiene-enhancing supplies and equipment and the development of a recall plan. Food quality and safety measures implemented through NOA helped to improve product formulations, enrich human resources and further the development of Kosovo’s food industry.

 

South Sudan Cattle Program

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Overview:

The two-year, $2 million South Sudan Cattle Program (SSCP), funded by the U.S. Department of State (2021-2014) sought to mitigate local conflicts through the development of a cattle identification and livestock ownership and registration system to reduce both cattle theft and trade of stolen cattle. With over 12 million cattle in South Sudan, the livestock industry is an important source of rural livelihoods and plays a central role in defining social status. Cattle theft is a common occurrence and stolen animals are a source of meat, milk and dowry.

Approach:

  1. Conducted Research on Conflicts: CNFA conducted on-the-ground research to identify the best practices to reduce cattle theft and inter-clan conflicts with a specific focus on the development of an improved identification method and a cattle ownership registration program.
  2. Conducted Research on Tagging Methods: A 2012 assessment identified non-radio frequency identification tags as the cheapest, easiest and most reliable method of identification, where cattle were uniquely numbered and entered into a cloud-based registry designed specifically for SSCP.
  3. Designed and Piloted Tailored Traceability System: Through a consultative process and an intensive assessment and design phase, CNFA designed a traceability system tailored to the realities of South Sudan, providing the greatest opportunities for sustainable expansion and implementation at a national level. The program then launched a pilot identification and registration system that enabled the individual cattle to be traced for life. Coupled with the identification system, SSCP activities supported the development of a computerized cattle ownership registration center.
  4. Partnered with Key Stakeholders: Another important factor was the ongoing coordination between the government of South Sudan (GOSS), especially the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries (MARF) and Community Animal Health Worker (CAHW) volunteers. Under the two-year pilot project, CNFA worked closely with the MARF to identify and catalog the ownership of over 25,000 livestock, training large teams of CAHWs who carried out the work of tagging and capturing the data for animals and owners.

The overall goal of the project was to tag 150,000 cattle with non-radio frequency ear tags. Unfortunately, SSCp was suspended in April 2014 and formally closed by the Department of State in September of the same year due to escalating safety issues as the result of the violence that began in December 2013.

As of last tagging count, 23,232 cattle were tagged and entered into the SSCP database. Over 460 community mobilization meetings were held, helping to inform over 7,220 people about the Livestock Identification and Traceability System (LITS). Many initially-skeptical community members in the targeted regions saw stolen animals returned to their rightful owners, helping spread the concept of adopting cattle-tagging practices. Thus far, over 700 community members have tagged their cattle. The ultimate goal of the project was to reduce cattle theft by 25% and preliminary results indicate over a 60% reduction in cattle theft.

 

Commercial Farm Service Program

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Overview:

CNFA implemented the two-year (2012-2014), $2 million Commercial Farm Service Program (CFSP), a program funded by USAID’s Innovation Fund for Ethiopian Agriculture (IFEA), adapting its proven Farm Service Center (FSC) solution to the Ethiopian context for the first time. By establishing FSCs as “one-stop-shops” in their communities, entrepreneurs provided a complete range of inputs, services, information and output marketing linkages to Ethiopian smallholders. This solution continued to support farmers in making the transition from subsistence to commercial production as part of the Feed the Future Ethiopia Farm Service Center Project, which CNFA implemented in Ethiopia from 2015 to 2017.

Approach:

Through mentoring and training, the program provided locally owned businesses with uniform branding, technical and business management training, expert agronomic and veterinary consultations and assistance with inventory management, marketing, agriculture extension and outreach. In support of a wholesale buying cooperative approach, the CFSP team worked with the FSC owners and operators to legally establish and register a joint venture named EGAA Agricultural Input Supply PLC.

  1. Established FSCs: Established six locally-owned retail farm service supply and service locations or FSCs with inventories, training, services and output market linkages.
  2. Created APEX Organization: CFSP created a wholesale buying cooperative, owned by and dedicated to serving the inventory needs of the FSCs and linking them to national suppliers.
  3. Supported Marketing and Business Development: Delivered trainings on uniform branding, business skills, technical and advisory capacity, quality standards and environmental and worker safety procedures across the network.
  4. Improved Farmer Capacity: Promoted FSC-led farmer outreach activities, including training seminars, demonstration plots and field days to showcase the impacts of improved inputs and improve farmer production skills.

Partnership for Economic Growth

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Overview:

The Partnership for Economic Growth (PEG) was a two-and-a-half-year, $10 million project funded by USAID (2011-2013), which supported the Somali people’s goal to improve economic growth and livelihoods in Somaliland and Puntland. Under the leadership of Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI), the project collaborated with the Ministry of Livestock, Ministry of Commerce and private sector groups to improve the environment for investment and export marketing and generate agricultural-based employment.

The livestock sector in Somaliland faced significant challenges including increased competition from neighboring nations, trade barriers due to disease control, lack of access to veterinary inputs and inefficient veterinary services. However, a strengthened livestock sector is vital, as 65% of the economy was comprised of livestock-related commerce. In partnership with private and public sectors, CNFA contributed its experience targeting all livestock value chains, assisting the sector in the following areas:

  • Capacity building of local veterinary services
  • Community Animal Health Workers (CAHW) training
  • Improved animal feed and education for fodder farmers
  • Commercial livestock feed supply systems and feedlot enterprises strengthening and improvement
  • Dairy processing facilities’ development
  • Analysis of livestock end-market
  • Rural finance services

Approach:

  1. Improved Capacity of Livestock Organizations and Enterprises: Under the Livestock Component, the largest of the PEG Project, CNFA advised local non-profit organizations and enterprises that were recipients of capacity-building and matching grants. These grants were utilized for the creation and implementation of demonstration farms, technical training in improved livestock care, dairy and fodder production techniques, livestock fattening programs and capacity building of local stakeholders.
  2. Expanded Livestock Sub-Sectors through Matching Grants to Local Enterprises: The Livestock Component collaborated with four small and medium livestock enterprises under matching grants. The goal of the matching grants was to expand various subsectors of the Somali livestock industry, including commercial livestock feed supply systems and dairy production through local organizations. Some of the PEG matching grant recipients and illustrative activities included the following:
    • Al Husseini Farm and An’Aam Farm, two Somali feedlot enterprises, received PEG grants and technical training in improved fodder production techniques. An’Aam Farm was created by an association of multiple investors, who collectively contributed more than $1 million in funds to create the farm. Al Husseini Farm operated on a much small scale, but both were fully functional feedlots providing animal fattening services to local farmers.
    • Horumar Farm, a model dairy farm established with PEG support, specialized in camel milk and fodder production. The farm received a small matching grant to provide fodder production, dairy production and dairy processing training to increase the quality of milk in the surrounding area. Inspired by the success of Horumar Farm, one Somali woman purchased several camels purely to be able to take advantage of the growing market.
    • With PEG capacity-building assistance, Togheer Women’s Livestock Traders Association initiated a small ruminant buying scheme, which purchased ruminants in rural areas and transported the animals to urban areas, primarily Buroa, or exported them regionally to an area with increased demand and higher prices. Making only a three-dollar profit per head, the association applied for a PEG grant to begin a small-scale feedlot. The fattening station increased the weight o sheep and goats, resulting in a price increase of up to 20% per animal at the end market.
  3. Expanded Regional Access to Micro-Finance and Start-Up Capital: Kaaba Microfinance Institution (K-MKFI) was able to open an office in the town of Gabiley through PEG funds, serving micro-enterprises and the informal markets in Western Somaliland. K-MKFI used an Islamic-compliant lending methodology which enabled a previously untapped market in rural areas to access finance. The majority of K-MKFI’s microfinance clients were small-scale livestock producers and traders.
  4. Conducted a Market Analysis of the Somali Livestock Value Chain: PEG contracted AIMSm a local consultancy firm, to complete an end-market analysis of the livestock value chain in Somaliland and the larger region (Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen). This analysis and the subsequent PEG knowledge transfer activity highlighted both opportunities and constraints facing the livestock value chain in the region.
  5. The Livestock Investment Chapter of the 2013 Somaliland Investment Guide: The findings of PEG’s Livestock End Market Study were synthesized in the 2013 Somaliland Investment Guide. The guide highlighted investment opportunities through a printed edition and website feature and provided a platform to expand access to investment capital and targets potential diaspora investors.

Business Connections Program

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Overview:

The two-year, $471,675 Business Connections Program (2011-2013), funded by USAID and the Government of Kazakhstan (GOKZ),  built the capacity and competitiveness of Kazakhstani small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through modernization and expansion initiatives. The program was aligned with the GOKZ’s broader national development plan to diversify the economy through the development of Kazakhstani SMEs. The Business Connections Program also supported the objectives of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and the JSC Entrepreneurship Fund (DAMU). CNFA helped identify expert agriculture trainers, plans and volunteer experts and helped create agriculture-related training materials to meet the program’s objectives.

Approach:

  1. Provided Business Management Trainings: Identified qualified U.S. agricultural business experts to develop training curriculums and deliver business management courses to Kazakhstani participants.
  2. Organized Study Tours: Led selection process of study tour participants chosen to represent Kazakhstani companies in targets industry sectors and facilitated three-week-long study tours which included industry-specific training, business meetings with U.S. companies, roundtable seminars and trade shows.
  3. Strengthened Access to Information and Learning: Redesigned the DAMU business portal to encourage information sharing and distance learning among participants.

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

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Overview:

The five-year, $7.4 million 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 2013, 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.

Approach:

CNFA relied on the expertise of U.S. volunteers from diverse backgrounds to respond to the needs of host country farmers and organizations. Volunteers were deeply experienced in their fields and represented 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, varied 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, $7.4 million 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 2008 to 2013, CNFA sent over 320 volunteers to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and a limited number of volunteers to Rwanda. The hard work put forth by volunteers and field staff made the program a success.

Approach:

CNFA relied heavily on the expertise of U.S. volunteers from diverse backgrounds to respond to the needs of host country farmers and organizations. Our volunteers possessed deep expertise in their fields and represented all ages and industries, including farmers, bankers, professors, civil servants and active and retired business people.

The assignments, ranging from two to four-week-long projects and varied in scope, trained associated service providers and agribusinesses in topics from financial management to marketing, cooperative development, agricultural production, post-harvest and processing technologies, international quality standards and rural finance.

Zaytun

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Overview:

CNFA implemented the two-year (2011-2013), $3.2 million Zaytun Project to strengthen strategic components of the table olive and olive oil value chains in the regions of Nubaria and Matrouh through the delivery of targeted technical assistance to small and medium Egyptian olive processors and training with complimentary grants-matching assistance to smallholder olive farmers.

Working with local partners like the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI) and the Egyptian Olive Council, the Zaytun Project addressed short-term problems that olive producers and processors face, while simultaneously laying the groundwork for long-term sustainable development. In collaboration with these partners, CNFA designed a strong, value-chain-based program that strengthened production and post-harvest practices of olive farmers, delivered technical assistance and training to small and medium-sized table olive oil and olive oil processors and facilitated business linkages between supported olive growers’ associations and processors. Through various policy initiatives, the Zaytun Project increased expansion into higher-value export markets and improved the reputation and image of the Egyptian olive industry.

The Zaytun Project brought Egyptian olive oil to the international stage. In collaboration with the Chamber of Food Industry, the Project developed an olive industry website to increase the exposure of the Egyptian olive sector. The success of project-sponsored processors at an international olive oil competition marked an important step in establishing the reputation of Egyptian olive oil internationally, as well as introducing a new identity of Egyptian olive oil on the international market. After this success in 2013, it is likely new categories will be created for North African olive oils in next year’s competition.

Approach:

  1. Strengthened Producers: The Zaytun Project strengthened smallholder olive producers through assistance in production practices, post-harvest handling and organized producers into viable growers associations. The project orchestrates intensive training, technical assistance, association development and study tour activities to educate olive producers on best practice techniques. The core training activity was a Farm Field School (FFS) training program, where a tired design allowed the lessons of a few technical specialists to reach thousands of police farmers. The Project compiled a manual in Arabic and English to ensure these experts could carry lessons into future training programs. Additionally, the Zaytun Project awarded four one-to-one grants to farmers’ associations that resulted in the creation and upgrade of several micro-processing units for pickling olives, as well as the funding for two composting projects. Finally, the Zaytun Project facilitated a study tour in Italy to further strengthen farm management and collective marketing of olives.
  2. Strengthened Processors: After an intensive selection phase, the Zaytun Projects strengthened olive processors through technical assistance to improve quality and engaged in value addition that led to increased exports, profits and employment. The project chose 15 processor companies to participate in a series of technical assistance, training and trade show activities. Two international experts served as consultants for these processors and directly addressed the individual obstacles facing each business. An additional marketing consultant was hired to assess production and marketing of olive oil products, provide marketing advice and collect oil samples for entrance into an international competition. The Zaytun Project compiled a manual to ensure the advice of the consultants could be preserved and easily distributed. A supplementary training session on agro-finance was organized with four Egyptian banks that resulted in the creation of the first working capital loan projects for the olive sector in the country. Through targeted training and technical assistance, the Zaytun Project fortified the techniques and opportunities of Egyptian olive processing companies.
  3. Strengthening Market Linkages: The Zaytun Project facilitated producer-processor linkages through the creation of direct relationships, resulting in an improved olive supply, strengthened commercial relations and increased sales and incomes for producers and processors. The Project also hosted a total of four market linkage workshops to bring together olive producers and processors. CNFA worked directly with producer and processor representatives with the objective of facilitating business linkages between Egyptian olive farmers and processors.

 

West Africa Seed Alliance

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Overview:

Access to inputs, such as improved seed varieties, fertilizer and crop protection products are imperative to the transformation the agricultural sector. The Seeds Project (2007-2012), part of the West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA), was created to transform West African agriculture from subsistence farming to profitable, self-sustaining and competitive commercial agriculture.

CNFA-implemented the five-year, $6.1 million project funded by USAID and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and Iowa State University. The project sought to modernize seed distribution systems, facilitate smallholder farmer access to improved seed varieties, improve seed production technologies and strengthen links to credit and markets. The Seeds Project strengthened West Africa’s seed system across Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Senegal.

Approach:

Through the Seeds Project, WASA advanced the development and implementation of national seed laws and regulations, created and strengthened private seed enterprises, provided business management and technical trainings, produced a foundation for certified seed available for distribution and conducted seed variety trials for cereals and vegetables through the following approach:

  1. Provided Business Management and Technical Trainings: The project’s Agrodealer Business Training Program built the business capacity of local seed company managers through training in business planning, supply chain management and marketing. The six-module training model included: managing working capital, managing stocks, costing and pricing, selling and marketing, record keeping and managing business relationships.
  2. Increased Agricultural Productivity: WASA worked with local institutions to build agricultural potential in specific focus areas. Bringing improved access to input supplies, availability of technology and technology transfer to farmers and increased access to credit for rural smallholders, the alliance had a significant impact on production practices throughout WASA countries. Field days were an effective medium in spreading awareness of improved farming methods. With participants spanning from local agrodealers to government officials and major supply companies, the input systems in target countries saw marked improvement.
  3. Created and Strengthened Private Seed Enterprises: WASA developed viable agricultural inputs systems and supported the overall growth of the West African agricultural sector by creating a sustainable commercial seed industry that provided small-scale farmers with affordable, timely and reliable access to high-input quality seeds and planting materials. In cooperation with input supplies, WASA organized demonstration plots and farmer field days to enhance awareness about new products and technologies.
  4. Improved Technical Training of Seed Enterprises: CNFA worked through input-supply companies and commercial trainers to build capacity for the safe usage and handling of products. WASA field demonstrations also provided an excellent educational tool to teach both agrodealers and farmers about new varieties and correct herbicide and fertilizer application.
  5. Improved Seed Output Marketing: WASA linked agrodealers and farmer producer groups to commodity traders and crop processors to create market pull for farmer production. It also assisted seed companies and associations in establishing seed marketing strategies.