Private Sector Development Initiative

Private Sector Development Initiative

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Overview:

The four-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. The goal of the project 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, CNFA identified, assessed, and analyzed market opportunities throughout the entire agricultural value chain to ensure that interventions were appropriately targeted. Our team developed a comprehensive agribusiness strategy that addressed agribusiness development needs, priority sectors, and specific interventions to strengthen weaknesses within specific value chains.

Program Approach:

  • Training: The training component of PSDI was geared toward improving business skills and knowledge among the SME sector of the Iraqi private sector as well as among local SME supporting institutions (banks, Chambers of Commerce, business associations, and training institutions, among others);
  • Technical Assistance: We provided technical assistance through the use of paid 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;
  • Grants: CNFA was responsible for the selection of grantees and disbursement of 347 separate grants packages.

Commercial Strengthening of Smallholder Cocoa Production

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Overview:

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

Program Approach:

  • Collaborated with agro-input suppliers and farmers to build 20 Business Development Centers for cocoa buying, as well as training and association meetings;
  • Provided training in best practices and crop diversification to enhance production of cocoa and other crops;
  • Worked with financial institutions to institute new credit programs to mitigate risk for farmers.

Association Development: In order to promote more convenient access to inputs, training, finance, and collective marketing, CNFA supported farmers to organize 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.

Development of Integrated Warehouses: CNFA collaborated with agro-input suppliers and farmer associations to build model pilot mini-warehouses to serve cocoa producers. Each mini-warehouse has two separate areas: a cocoa buying and certification area operated by local buying companies and a room for the producer groups to use for association meetings, trainings, and other events. A small, independent agro-dealer shop selling agro-inputs (seeds, fertilizers, and crop protection chemicals) is typically located nearby. By offering inputs for many crops rather than just cocoa, these agro-dealers encourage crop diversification.

Technical Improvement 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 program provided information and training, should the farmers choose 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%.

Stimulating Capital Investment: CNFA conducted an extensive study of land tenure issues as they impact the cocoa industry, focusing on the impact on 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.

Economic Prosperity Initiative

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Overview:

The four-year Economic Prosperity Initiative (EPI), funded by USAID, improved enterprise and competitiveness at the industry and country level in Georgia. Working under contract with Deloitte, CNFA implemented activities with a specific emphasis on mandarins, hazelnuts, and greenhouse and open-field vegetables. EPI provided technical assistance to enterprises, facilitating trade by creating market linkages between producers and buyers, and assisting in strengthening agricultural policy.

EPI selected hazelnuts, mandarins, and several greenhouse vegetables as the focus value chains of this program. These value chains were targeted for technical assistance, training, and study tours, as well as grants. CNFA focused specifically on improving the competitiveness of targeted agricultural sectors, working at all points along targeted value chains with agriculture traders, distributors, and buyers, creating access to market information and joining with financial institutions and export buyers.

EPI built upon CNFA’s existing network of 60 farm and machinery service centers in Georgia, which served as delivery points for extension, outreach, and advocacy. EPI also built on CNFA’s work with Georgian processors to improve operations and quality standards (GlobalGAP, ISO, HACCP), enabling them to better respond to international market demand.

Program Approach:

  • Improved the competitiveness of mandarin, hazelnut, and greenhouse and open-field vegetable value chains;
  • Leveraged existing farm and machinery service centers, which served as delivery points for extension, outreach, and advocacy;
  • Improved operations and quality standards (GlobalGAP, ISO, HACCP), responding to international market demand;
  • Created Knowledge Plots (KP) and Knowledge Centers (KC) to provide “on-the-field” farmer training.

Georgia Agricultural Risk Reduction Program

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Overview:

The 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 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.

Program Approach:

  • Higher 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;
  • Electronic Voucher Cards Modernized Orchard Production: More than 17,900 farm families received electronic voucher cards for orchard inputs to be used in eight retail locations;
  • Support Allowed Farmers to Harvest 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, which distributed vouchers for seed and machinery services for 700 IDP families and 2,670 farm families.

At the end of fall 2009, the wheat planted at the beginning of the GARRP program 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 2/3 of the total Georgian wheat harvest for the year, making it critical for the food security of the country as a whole.

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.

Access to Mechanization Project

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Overview:

Through the three-year, 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 its 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.

Program Approach:

  • Provided technical assistance to MSCs using local consultants and Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) volunteers to ensure sustainable operation and long-term availability of services for farmers;
  • Improved the competitive environment for machinery services by reducing the cost to farmers as a result of increased supply of machinery and service businesses;
  • Leveraged grant funds with local partner matching investment, including large-scale involvement of commercial finance to maximize impact and investment in the rural economy.

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

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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 in designing the format of the Agricultural TV show “Farmer’s Day” and created a full-scale business plan to facilitate the funding of the show.

Agribusiness Development Activity

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Overview:

CNFA implemented the four-year, $20 million Agribusiness Development Activity (ADA), funded under the Millennium Challenge Georgia Fund (MCG) as part of the Compact between the Georgian government 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.

Program Approach:

  • Enterprise Initiative: 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;
  • Value Chain Initiative: Value chain improvements were accomplished through technical assistance (via long- and short-term consultants/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;
  • Rural Outreach Initiative: ADA launched a mass media campaign to empower Georgians to make better choices about their business environment and families through access to information.

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

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Overview:

The five-year 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 2014, 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.

Program Approach:

CNFA relies heavily on the expertise of U.S. volunteers from diverse backgrounds to respond to the needs of host country farmers and organizations. The volunteers are experts in their fields and represent 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, vary 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 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 2009 to 2014, CNFA sent over 320 volunteers to Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and a limited number of volunteers to Rwanda. CNFA is proud of the hard work put forth by volunteers and field staff to make the program a success.

Program Approach:

CNFA relies heavily on the expertise of U.S. volunteers from diverse backgrounds to respond to the needs of host country farmers and organizations. Our volunteers are experts in their fields and represent all ages and industries. They are farmers, bankers, professors, civil servants, and active and retired business people. The assignments, ranging from two-to-four-week long projects, vary 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.

Commercial Farm Service Program

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Overview:

CNFA implemented the Commercial Farm Service Program (CFSP) (2012-2014), a two-year project funded by USAID’s Innovation Fund for Ethiopian Agriculture (IFEA), adapting its proven Farm Service Center (FSC) model 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 model continues to support farmers in making the transition from subsistence to commercial production as part of the Feed the Future Farm Service Center Program, launched in 2015.

Program Approach:

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

  1. Established six locally owned retail farm supply and service locations (FSCs) with inventories, training, services, and output market linkages;
  2. Created a wholesale buying cooperative, owned by and dedicated to serving the inventory needs of the FSCs and linking them to national and international suppliers;
  3. Delivered uniform branding, business skills, technical/advisory capacity, quality standards, and environmental and worker safety procedures across the network;
  4. 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.