Commercial Strengthening of Smallholder Cocoa Production

Commercial Strengthening of Smallholder Cocoa Production

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Overview:

Launched in 2009, the three-year, $2.9 million Commercial Strengthening of Smallholder Cocoa Production (CSSCPP), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2009-2012), aimed to stimulate capital investment and enhance the lives of farmers in the Ghanaian cocoa business. CSSCPP promoted improved production techniques and increased access to inputs, finance and crop diversification. Through the use of strategically designed matching grants, the project also leveraged $5.8 million in private investment.

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

Approach:

  1. Improved Association Development: To promote more convenient access to inputs, training, finance and collective marketing, CNFA supported farmers in organizing into groups, clusters and associations, allowing for better service of the maximum number of farmers through project activities to give farmers easy access (within six kilometers) to products and services.
  2. Developed Integrated Warehouse: CNFA collaborated with agro-input suppliers and farmer associations to build model pilot mini-warehouses to serve cocoa producers. Each mini-warehouse had two separate areas: a cocoa buying and certification area operated by local buying companies, and a room for the producers to use for association meetings, trainings and other events. A small, independent agro-dealer shop selling agro-inputs (seeds, fertilizers and crop protection chemicals) was typically located nearby. By offering inputs for many crops rather than just cocoa, these agrodealers encouraged crop diversification.
  3. Improved Technical Capacity and Certification: Farmers and agro-dealers received technical training on cocoa production. In addition, demonstration plots and farmer field days organized with input suppliers encouraged crop diversification and improved cocoa production practices. After determining the cost-benefit tradeoffs of various certification schemes, the project provided information and training for farmers who chose to secure internationally recognized certifications like Fair Trade, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance. As a result of project training and certification services, beneficiary farmers’ yields increased by 189% and incomes increased by 309%.
  4. Stimulated Capital Investment: CNFA conducted an extensive study of land tenure issues as they impact the cocoa industry, focusing on the impact on the very small-scale producers, women and sharecroppers. In addition, CNFA piloted land-titling training for landowners and worked with financial institutions to pilot new credit and crop insurance to mitigate farmer risk.

 

Access to Mechanization Project

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Overview

Through the three-year (2009-2012), $5.1 million USAID-funded Access to Mechanization Project (AMP), CNFA used a commercially sustainable and market-oriented methodology to develop machinery service providers across Georgia. Building on CNFA’s existing nationwide presence, AMP combined matching investments, commercial finance and technical training to establish Machinery Service Centers (MSCs) and provide custom machinery services to small farmers.

Approach

  1. Provided Volunteer Technical Assistance: Utilized local consultants and F2F volunteers to provide technical assistance to ensure sustainable operation and long-term availability of services.
  2. Improved Competitive Environment for Machinery Services: AMP improved the competitive environment for machinery services by reducing the cost to farmers as a result of increased supply of machinery and service businesses.
  3. Improved Access to Finance: Leveraged grant funds with local partner matching investment, including large-scale involvement of commercial finance to maximize impact and investment in rural economy.

Ongoing support from CNFA Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) volunteers was an integral part of implementing AMP. A total of 25 volunteer assignments, focused primarily on conducting various types of trainings, were completed during the project. Through F2F, AMP:

  1. Business Management Training Sessions: F2F volunteers conducted a wide array of trainings on business management. With the assistance of the AMP Training Coordinator, volunteers selected local trainers, finalized business and extension training topics and developed standardized training materials for dissemination.
  2. Financial and Credit Trainings: F2F volunteers led basic financial trainings for AMP’s farmers on credit lending, record keeping and risk assessment, which were especially useful for farmer clients looking to better understand their budgets and recognize when they could rent equipment from MSCs.
  3. Environment Trainings: AMP organized volunteer-led trainings focused on environmentally friendly agricultural practices for MSC owners and trainers of a local extension training provider consortium. Training was conducted on irrigation and drainage systems, pest and disease control, technologies of land cultivation and agricultural mechanization.
  4. Marketing and Communications Support: AMP fielded volunteers to help develop communications and marketing strategies for MSC owners, demonstrating the services they could offer. Additionally, volunteers worked with the Georgian Public Broadcaster to design the format of the Agricultural TV show “Farmer’s Day” and create a full-scale business plan to facilitate the funding of the show.

Improving Livelihoods and Enterprise Development

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Overview:

The $31.2 million Improving Livelihoods and Enterprise Development Program (I-LED) (2006-2010) assisted communities affected by the October 2005 Kashmir earthquake. I-LED focused on generating increased incomes, employment and an improved asset base for the earthquake-affected populations in the Siran and Kaghan Valleys in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Bagh District in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK). The Livelihoods component, completed in 2008, delivered replacements of key farming systems, capacity building and reconstruction of affected infrastructure. Complementing these efforts, I-LED developed agricultural and tourism value chains that resulted in the creation and support of 3,082 new and existing enterprises that provided full-time equivalent employment to more than 4,914 individuals by the project’s conclusion.

Approach:

I-LED worked with communities to identify and prioritize needs and provided support for communities to restore livestock and re-establish crop systems. It promoted industries with growth potential by strengthening key subsectors through grants training and technical assistance, which led to increased competitiveness of local Pakistani enterprises. It also engaged community groups and government stakeholders to facilitate stronger public-private partnerships, supported a positive role for government in enterprise development and helped producers and processors improve economic opportunities through formal organizations.

  1. Value Chain and Enterprise Development: I-LED was built upon revitalized agricultural production that introduced sustainable value-adding activities such as milk collection schemes and potato seed storage that created market and employment opportunities for farmers. By organizing producers and processors into clusters and associations, CNFA increased opportunities for collective marketing and purchasing as well as group advocacy. By the end of the program, I-LED generated new employment and income opportunities, improved competitiveness of products and services and increased access to markets by providing the resources necessary to develop value chains and establish new enterprises.
  2. Enhance Forage Crops: I-LED supported “Cut and Carry” fodder projects for each of the176 feedlot grant recipients to improve the availability of green fodder. Recipients participated in trainings on land preparation, seed sowing and fodder management.
  3. Improved Dairy Sector: I-LED’s dairy sector strategy was two-fold: to increase the production capacity of dairy farms and to develop clearly defined milk production zones in close proximity to major regional markets. Trainings were provided on proper animal care to increase the sustainable impact on the dairy sector.
  4. Supported Small Ruminant and Poultry Producers: CNFA designed and conducted numerous training activities for farmers and associations. I-LED awarded livelihoods and enterprise grants to restore livestock populations and improve the production capacity and quality of animal products.
  5. Provided Grants and Training: I-LED helped transition communities toward economic value-chain and local economic development using enterprise matching grants, value-chain grants and farm store grants.
  6. Supported Women Entrepreneurs: I-LED involved women and men equitably in the community engagement process with women making up 28% of program beneficiaries to receive direct training.
  7. Developed Community Organization and Associations: The Local Economic Development component focused on strengthening clusters and associations by promoting teamwork, enhancing local decision making and maximizing usage of local resources. I-LED established linkages between local banks, enterprises and associations to provide better access to loans and business services for entrepreneurs.
  8. Improved Community Physical Infrastructure (CPI): To facilitate the transition from relief to economic development, I-LED restored and reconstructed numerous physical structures vital to local communities such as mitigation structures, shops and public facilities.

Agribusiness Development Activity

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Overview:

CNFA implemented the four-year (2006-2010), $20 million Agribusiness Development Activity (ADA), funded under the Millennium Challenge Georgia Fund (MCG) as part of the Compact between the Government of Georgia and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), to catalyze local matching investments from Georgian partner enterprises and farmers. Through matching grants, farmers received access to innovative agricultural production technology, inputs, quality control practices and output marketing as well as stronger market linkages and reliable sources of inputs and methods to market higher-value products.

Approach:

  1. Supported Local Enterprise Development: ADA awarded resources to groups of farmers and enterprises applying innovative business solutions and technology to boost household incomes and net revenues. Applications submitted included a business plan built for domestic market demand.
  2. Facilitated Improvements to Agricultural Value Chains: Value chain improvements were accomplished through technical assistance via long- and short-term consultants and volunteers, formal and informal training and access to grants and capital mobilization proposed by bidders responding to ADA’s request. The Value Chain Initiative built strategic commercial linkages between producers, processors and markets in promising Georgian agricultural sectors, including dairy, meat and poultry products, fruits, citrus, nuts, vegetables and potatoes.
  3. Conducted Rural Outreach: ADA launched a mass media campaign to empower Georgians to make better choices about their business environment and families through access to information.

The Agribusiness Project

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Overview:

The five-year, $90 million Pakistan Agribusiness Project (TAP), funded by USAID/Pakistan, strengthened local capacity within key value chains to increase sales in domestic and foreign markets. From 2011 to 2016, the project bolstered economic growth, created employment opportunities and amplified the competitiveness of horticulture and livestock value chains. TAP also increased the effectiveness of smallholder enterprises, enhanced agriculture productivity and was the first USAID economic growth program led by a Pakistani organization, the Agribusiness Support Fund (ASF).

As ASF’s stateside partner, CNFA assisted ASF in strengthening grant management, accounting, reporting, monitoring and evaluation and environmental and information management systems and procedures, as well as providing technical assistance for the development of horticulture and livestock value chains.

Approach:

  1. Supported with Technical Assistance: CNFA provided capacity-building support to farmers, associations and agribusiness enterprises across the target value chains.
  2. Provided Grant Funding: Through TAP, CNFA customized cost-sharing grant products across the key value chains.
  3. Improved Agribusiness Marketing: Provided international support for agricultural marketing and brand development to identify and capitalize on high-price market opportunities and develop linkages.
  4. Promoted Sub-Sector Development: CNFA established several “Value Chain Platforms: to promote the development of specific subsectors and create linkages between the stakeholders involved in value chains.

Monitoring and Evaluation and Data Collection: CNFA provided technical support regarding USAID regulations, baseline studies, participatory rapid horticulture and livestock appraisal assessments, gender analysis, data collection tools, development of indicators and training project staff in development evaluation to comply with ASF’s Performance Monitoring Plan (PMP). This included designing the activity reporting formats, developing the data entry, analysis and reporting software and defining the data in-and-outflow mechanism. This assistance also included efforts to build the capacity of TAP regional teams in the operation of the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems.

Environmental Compliance: CNFA helped ensure that the project and its associated grant activities complied with USAID environmental regulations. This cooperative effort drew on CNFA’s experience in knowledge management, compliance, M&E studies and reporting environmental impacts of project interventions. CNFA spearheaded the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Agribusiness Project, which involved identifying potential environmental and social issues that could develop as a result of project activities. As a result of CNFA’s technical assistance on the EA, USAID approval was obtained, clearing the way for large grants. CNFA also helped ASF by training regional M&E staff and developing an environmental compliance system that incorporated USAID’s approval for grant activities.

Geographical Information System (GIS) and Management Information System (MIS): The CNFA GIS team provided technical support to the Agribusiness Project by developing GIS maps reflecting project regions, value chains, activity sites and beneficiaries. In addition to developing more than 300 maps, the CNFA team used Google Earth to create animated video tours for the targeted value chains. GIS support in the design, implementation and monitoring of the project accomplished the following:

  • Mapped project interventions and beneficiaries across the targeted value chains and regions.
  • Provided environmental screening on project activities.
  • Tracked project progress on activities and performance indicators.
  • Identified value chain clusters with respect to regions and value chain actors including producers, processors, market agents and service providers.
  • Located exact locations of project beneficiaries and grantees.

CNFA also initiated the development of a Geographical Information-based Decision Support System, available on- and offline for project data management to provide centralized information readily available to all relevant stakeholders. CNFA supported the Agribusiness Project in its development, maintenance and transfer of M&E and information technology systems for impact assessment and reporting to a web-based, integrated management information system (IMIS). This system automated the functions of human resources, finance, procurement, grants management, M&E and GIS to increase the efficiency of internal communication and improve decision-making capacity of management.

Capacity Building: CNFA provided technical assistance and capacity building for both TAP staff and beneficiaries. The CNFA Capacity Building Advisor assisted TAP in various project components, including short-listing business development service providers for a more comprehensive TAP capacity building grant. CNFA’s team supported needs assessments, drafting of scopes of work and the development of implementation plans for a capacity development program for Farm Service Centers (FSCs) in FATA, a market linkages program between National Food Limited and progressive red chili farmers and a capacity development program for representatives of the horticulture and livestock value chains in the AJK region. Additionally, CNFA assisted ASF in organizing exposure visits for representatives of the FSCs from FATA.

Agribusiness Development Project

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Overview:

The five-year (2004-2009) USAID-funded Agribusiness Development Project (ADP) in Moldova, implemented by CNFA, improved the international competitiveness and trade performance of the country’s high-value agriculture sector, ultimately increasing rural incomes and employment. The $19.2 million project was successful in preparing Moldovan enterprises to meet the challenges of the international market. ADP strengthened the capacity of all participants in the value chain in Moldova, including producers, processors, aggregators and exporters. The approach emphasized the identification of markets for individual products, the use of value-chain drivers, production of marketable products, financing for replication and the dissemination of market information.

Approach:

  1. Developed High-Value Agriculture Sector: ADP focused on developing the high-value agriculture sector by increasing the quality of crops through new technologies, including cold storage, better pre- and post-harvest handling techniques and improved seeds. By the end of the project, participating firms had exported over $105 million in processed agricultural products, an increase of more than 23 percent.
  2. Promoted International Quality Assurance & Certifications: To boost exports to higher-value international markets, ADP facilitated largescale gains in crop quality assurance and certification in food safety and quality standards.
  3. Expanded Access to Markets: Due to Russia’s 2005 embargo on Moldovan fresh fruits and vegetables, ADP began identifying and cataloging new markets for Moldovan produce. Target market conformation studies were conducted in the Baltics, Belarus, Germany, Poland, Romania and Ukraine to assess the demand and market qualifications for 12 products, including apples, sweet peppers, tomatoes, table grapes and other fresh fruits and vegetables. ADP conducted detailed rapid market appraisals in Romania, Russia and Ukraine to give greater market detail and identify specific buyers. Domestic and international study tours followed to allow more than 1,500 people to make important international buying contacts.
  4. Leveraged Private Investment Through Matching Grants: ADP employed matching grants to increase local buy-in and promote investment in new technologies, awarding 23 producers and processors with grants worth $1.3 million to implement modern technologies including cold storage and new drying facilities. With a matching ratio of two-to-one, the grants leveraged an additional $2.9 million from local enterprises. Producers were able to increase their annual sales from $500,000 to over $4.2 million, almost $2 million in high-value products. Similarly, processors increased their sales of high-value products from $1.3 million to $6.1 million.
  5. Promoted Market Information: To ensure producers and processors had access to the latest market information and training material, CNFA worked with the National Extension Network, a local Moldovan non-profit development agency, to create Export Moldova. Export Moldova provided market surveys and training materials on international safety certifications, modern agricultural practices and planning and management.

Georgia Agricultural Risk Reduction Program

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Overview:

The one-year (2008-2009), $19.5 million USAID-funded Georgia Agricultural Risk Reduction Program (GARRP) impacted the needs of roughly 40,000 farm families in their recovery from the economic impact of the Georgian-Russian conflict. The project addressed crucial food security and income generation issues in the affected communities of the Gori, Kareli and Kaspi districts.

Through GARRP, CNFA provided livelihood assistance to local farmers, as well as resettled internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had been issued agricultural land, to ensure successful spring crop planting and orchard assistance. In addition, CNFA operated a three-track voucher system for corn, orchards and winter wheat.

Approach

  1. Improved Yields: Vouchers for seed, fertilizer and machinery were distributed to more than 10,000 farm families, including 2,300 IDP families. CNFA mobilized local machinery service providers and organized the provision of plowing, cultivation, planting and fertilizer application services.
  2. Provided Electronic Voucher Cards: More than 17,900 farm families received electronic voucher cards for orchard inputs to be used in eight retail locations, modernizing orchard production.
  3. Supported Farmers in Harvesting Winter Wheat: The third prong of the voucher program targeted families either late in receiving land or whose land had been recently decontaminated from unexploded ordinances. This component distributed vouchers for seed and machinery services for 700 IDP families and 2,670 farm families.

By winter, 2009, the wheat planted at the beginning of GARRP was fully harvested, adding up to more than 41,000 metric tons and worth $10.1 million for program beneficiaries. Not only did this represent a vital return to self-sufficiency for the 7,862 wheat beneficiaries, but due to the failure of the wheat harvest in the east of the country, the total yield amounted to two-thirds of the total Georgian wheat harvest for the year, making it critical for the food security of the country.

In the last phase of the program, 32,000 farm families received vouchers to plant 2,750 hectares of winter wheat and 12,650 hectares of wheat fertilizer. Over 95,000 individuals benefited from the final phase, representing the completion of delivery of critical livelihood support to every farm and IDP family affected by the conflict

Agricultural Input Markets Strengthening Project

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Overview:

CNFA implemented the two-year, $250,000 USAID-funded Agricultural Input MArkets Strengthening Project (AIMS) to fill identified market gaps in Mozambique from 2006 to 2008. AIMS developed the capability of private sector agrodealers to respond to increased demand for productive inputs and opportunities for market-oriented agricultural production. Overall. AIMS opened up and established more competitive markets and agrodealer networks as primary channels through which farmers could access improved agricultural technologies, which led to better crop quality and increased incomes.

Approach:

  1. Increased Availability of Agricultural Inputs: AIMS strengthened farmers’ access to inputs, including fertilizer and improved seed and crop protection products in the Beira and Nacala corridors where prospects for commercial agriculture production are improving.
  2. Encouraged Adoption of New Technology: The project boosted the adoption of best input technology packages for key commodities in the Beira and Nacala corridors, based on profitability and potential for adoption by smallholders.
  3. Improved Agricultural Input Affordability: AIMS reduced fertilizer and seed costs to smallholder farmers and increased input quality and diversity in the market, increasing crop productivity of selected commodities in target areas.
  4. Strengthened Farmer Market Access: Through linkages with new input and output markets, AIMS enhanced commercialization of smallholder agriculture.

Partners:

Private Sector Development Initiative

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Overview:

The two-year, $12 million Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) was implemented by the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) with CNFA, INternational Executive Service Corps (IESC) and Citizens Development Corps (CDC) as subcontractors from 2004 to 2006. The goal of the initiative was to help expand a competitive private sector in Iraq by offering business training and other business support services to Iraqi entrepreneurs. As the leader of the Value Chain and Marketing Development component, CNFA identified, assessed and analyzed marker opportunities throughout the entire agricultural value chain to ensure that interventions were appropriately targeted. CNFA also developed a comprehensive agribusiness strategy that addressed agribusiness development needs, priority sectors and specific interventions to strengthen weaknesses within specific value chains.

Approach:

  1. Developed and Disseminated Training: The training component of PSDI was geared toward improving business skills and knowledge among the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector of the Iraqi private sector, as well as among local SME supporting institutions (banks, Chambers of Commerce, business associations and training institutions).
  2. Provided Technical Assistance: CNFA provided technical assistance through American and Iraqi consultants. The technical assistance component was designed to reinforce the skills developed in training programs and to complement the provision of grants when possible.
  3. Distributed Grants: CNFA was responsible for the selection of grantees and disbursement of $3 million in grant funds through 347 separate grant packages.