USAID Yalwa

USAID Yalwa

Posted On: Filed Under:

Enhancing Markets and Nutrition in Niger

Overview:

The $29.1 million five-year Feed the Future-funded USAID Yalwa (2020-2025) 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, finance, 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 these foods 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

Posted On: Filed Under:

Enhancing Markets and Nutrition in Burkina Faso

Overview:

The $19.4 million five-year Feed the Future-funded USAID Yidgiri (2020-2025) activity is designed to strengthen market systems, sustainably increase household incomes and improve 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 prepare for and effectively manage recurrent crises and to 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 facilitate access to local and regional markets.

Program Approach:

USAID Yidgiri is strengthening 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 increasing 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 use of quality inputs and services by developing business clusters, organizing seasonal commodity fairs, facilitating partnerships between producer organizations and industrial and institutional buyers 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 consumption of nutritious, safe and affordable foods by increasing demand for and facilitating the market-driven development of diverse sources of such food and employing social behavior change (SBC) interventions to ensure that all activities resonate with targeted rural markets, especially women and youth.

Partners: 

Feed the Future Egypt Food Security and Agribusiness Support

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

CNFA implemented the five-year (2015-2020), $22,9 million USAID Feed the Future Egypt Food Security and Agribusiness Support (FAS) project to increase incomes and improve food security for at least 14,000 Upper Egyptian smallholder farmers across seven focal governorates – including Assiut, Aswan, Beni-Suef, Luxor, Minya, Qena and Sohag. Over five years, the project improved health and educational opportunities for women and youth and increased household purchasing power.

Approach:

Egypt FAS used an agricultural value chain approach to improve horticulture productivity, access to markets, value-adding activities and commercial linkages with input and service suppliers.

  1. Improved Market Systems: FAS supported improved on-farm production, more efficient post-harvest processes and improved marketing of agriculture crops and products.
  2. Improved Nutritional Status of Women and Children: FAS integrated nutrition-sensitive agriculture by increasing income opportunities and nutrition education in its target regions.
  3. Incorporated Gender Inclusivity and Sensitivity: Gender was a cross-cutting issue in the FAS project and was considered throughout the program.
  4. Improved Agricultural Inputs and Services: FAS strengthened input suppliers, agriculture processors and support services and leveraged proven ICT capabilities to bring interventions to scale.
  5. Improved Governance and Private Sector Engagement: The project created a policy-enabling environment and instilled an understanding of the role of value chain governance and the importance of inter-firm relationships and stakeholder participation.
  1. Winrock International
  2. Arizona State University
  3. World Food Logistics Organization

Providing Access to Finance in Nigeria: The Babban Gona Story

Posted On: Filed Under:

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

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

The USAID Private Sector Activity (PSA) (2019-2024) 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. Supporting the non-oil sector, by improving the competitiveness of the private sector (with a special emphasis on agriculture and other rural economic activities), reducing the barriers that hinder the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and strengthening women-led and women-focused organizations will help contribute to a more secure and sustainable Azerbaijani economy.

In partnership with the Azerbaijani government and the private sector, PSA helps address their priorities for modernization and improvement of public and private sector support and service delivery. This encourages the diversification of Azerbaijan’s economy, strengthens private sector member-based organizations, particularly those led by and focused on women, and reduces the barriers that hinder MSME development. It is also crucial to having a private sector that is able to respond to improvements in the business enabling environment.

Program Approach:

  1. Support a more diversified non-oil economy: USAID provides assistance that supports the increased diversification of the non-oil economy in Azerbaijan, specifically but not limited to the agricultural sector. PSA assists small and medium-sized farmers to become commercially viable farmers competing in local or export markets. It also works with processors, traders and cold storage operators to improve their adherence to international standards. Through Component 1, the Activity will support six agricultural value chains and one rural value chain: berry, hazelnut, orchard crops, persimmon/pomegranate, perishable vegetables, wheat and agritourism/ecotourism. 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 MSMEs: Because businesses face administrative barriers that stifle competition, dissuade investment and constrain trade, PSA works with associations and MSMEs to identify these barriers, communicate them to the relevant government agencies and target the elimination of these barriers. These efforts help increase the benefits of economic growth and remove obstacles to competition, investment, trade and integration into the global economy. PSA works closely with the Small and Medium Business Development Agency (SMB) to engage other stakeholders, such as agencies in the Ministries of Agriculture and Economy, the Azerbaijan Food Safety Agency, the Center for Municipality Affairs and the State Customs Committee, to remove administrative barriers. PSA also supports improvements to the ‘Middle Corridor’, and increasingly important trade route that connects Asia to Europe through the Caucasus. As a result, businesses will have increased opportunities to produce, trade, export and earn income.
  3. Support Women in Associations: This component will strengthen women-focused, women-led businesses and professional associations, to increase the access of women entrepreneurs and business owners to market information, markets, digital and business development services, finance, networks, mentorship and other resources that will enable them to overcome the obstacles of starting and/or growing firms. The component will enhance locally driven advocacy by women business associations and women entrepreneurs, improve the business and workplace enabling environment for women and improve livelihoods and income generation in target sectors.

Sector Focus:

  1. Agriculture and agribusiness
  2. Agritourism and ecotourism
  3. Business enabling environment
  4. Women’s organizations

Partners:

  1. Agricultural producers, processors, exporters, input and machinery dealers and other private sector actors
  2. Industry associations, chambers of commerce, educational institutions and other business support organizations
  3. GoAJ Ministries, departments, agencies, institutes and services
  4. Formal and informal women-led and women-focused groups

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

Posted On: Filed Under:

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.

Opening of new hazelnut facility

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 PRO-Cashew Project

Posted On: Filed Under:

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 government prioritization has caused raw cashew nut (RCN) 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—ten 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.

The $47.3 million five-year USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew Project (PRO-Cashew) (2019-2024) 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 RCN for the international market.

Program Approach:

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 the fact that the same 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. To combat this, PRO-Cashew:

  1. Builds Capacity: CNFA builds 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 works 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. Facilitates In-Kind Grants for Equipment & Inputs: CNFA leverages 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. Develops Agrodealers & Input Suppliers: CNFA supports private sector nurseries (larger than 10,000 cashew trees per year) and potential large processing companies to improve the efficiency and sustainability of seedling production systems by facilitating public-private partnerships, growing cost-effective, high-performance tree seedlings at central nurseries and distributing seedlings close to farms through rural-based seedling retail businesses. CNFA also facilitates agreements between research entities and the central nurseries to ensure long-term public-private partnerships. PRO-Cashew coordinates with existing efforts of the governments, World Bank and research institutes.
  4. Disburses Improved Market Information: CNFA strengthens existing data and fills significant gaps in data coverage and quality. The integrated Cashew-IN platform, a regional database housing information for farmer organizations, policymakers and private sector organizations to understand and monitor the global cashew supply chains, is 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 also monitors the cashew supply chain, supports traceability for quality control and informs evidence-based policies to increase profitability and marketability of cashews in West Africa.
  5. Improves Policy & Regulatory Framework: CNFA engages 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 conducts analyses of trade policies currently deployed by West African cashew-producing countries and produces annual reports on country and regional competitiveness, government policy analysis and foreign direct investment with quantitative and policy analysis.

U.S.-Pakistan Partnership for Agricultural Market Development

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

The U.S.-Pakistan Partnership for Agricultural Market Development (AMD) activity in Pakistan was a USAID-funded program (2014-2019) implemented by CNFA with the goal of supporting the development of Pakistan’s commercial agriculture and livestock sectors. AMD aimed to improve Pakistan’s ability to meet both international and domestic demand and efficiency requirements as well as increase competitiveness through private sector engagement.

Approach:

  1. Increased Competitiveness of Targeted Product Lines: Through the adoption of improved production, marketing, and business organization management practices, AMD facilitated increased demand in citrus, mango, high-value off-season vegetables, and livestock product lines;
  2. Improved Market Linkages and Developed Institutional Capacity: AMD worked with processors, traders, retailers, and ancillary service providers that supported the targeted product lines;
  3. Engaged with Private Sector: Through targeted training, matching grants, and technical assistance, AMD leveraged private sector investment and encouraged innovation.

Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity

Posted On: Filed Under:

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 enterprises (MSMEs). In line with the U.S. and Nigerian governments’ commitment to grow 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 increases the competitiveness and returns of 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.

Click the link here to learn more about improving the agriculture enabling environment from our Policy and Learning Brief developed during our state summits.

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, to lower the cost of compliance; reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers to promote more exports and import substitution; addressing infrastructure, land ownership and 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 remain inadequate in many regions, presenting a significant barrier for rural agricultural smallholder farmers and MSMEs. The 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 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, 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 and 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 to adopt best practices and meet the minimum assessment criteria of financial institutions 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 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 Activity’s strategy includes but is not limited to the following key pillars:

  1. Establishes Public-Private Partnerships: The Activity works 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. Elevating Business Development Services: The Activity connects agribusiness MSMEs to business development services (e.g., business plans and loan applications) that support them from inception to the formation of profitable, sustainable enterprises. Special emphasis is given to MSMEs that are women- and youth-owned or have the potential to hire significant numbers of women and youth.
  3. Facilitating Innovation: The Activity supports 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. Enhancing Business-to-Business Linkages: The Activity links MSMEs with larger firms in the selected value chains to facilitate viable and sustainable business linkages.
  5. Supporting Policy Enabling Environment: The Activity addresses policies that restrict or constrain the ease of doing business, including registration, licensing, obtaining land, collateral restrictions and access to finance and investment.