New Opportunities in Agriculture

New Opportunities in Agriculture

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Overview:

New Opportunities in Agriculture (NOA), a five-year program funded by USAID under the RAISE PLUS IQC, boosted production by capitalizing on the strengths of traditional crops, introducing new high-value crops into the 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. NOA put tools in the hands of Kosovar farmers, enabling them in all aspects of production, marketing, and entrepreneurial growth by providing vital training and opening up 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 Farmer-to-Farmer program and extensive network of agribusiness consultants.

Program Approach:

  • Developed various crop-based producer groups to provide stronger linkages between pro­ducers and buyers throughout the region;
  • Expanded access to credit training and technical assistance for loan borrowers and officers;
  • Built the capacity of Kosovo’s private sector agribusinesses;
  • Conducted mentoring, training, workshops, and technical assistance for private sec­tor agribusinesses;
  • Promoted value addition in targeted sec­tors and introduced new crops including asparagus and saffron.
  • Increasing Affordable and Accessible Credit:NOA enabled producers and other actors in value chains 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 issued for value chain operators helped procure a variety of new agricultural equipment, allowing firms to increase productivity and reach new markets;
  • Linking 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 in value chains, such as improved quality and increased availability of 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. A total of 310 delivery contracts were issued for targeted crops.
  • Diversifying and Increasing Agricultural Products:NOA also expanded production by training farmers on the use of new technologies and value-adding 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 have been introduced through the program, and 1,200 farmers and processors have adopted these new technologies and management practices. CNFA designed a tool box of interventions to encourage table grape farmers to use growing techniques specific to table grapes, which included instruction on best cultural practice, improved canopy management, and integrated the modified “T” trellising. This allowed for extended growing seasons across all targeted crops, enabling farmers to produce earlier and earn higher prices.
  • Improving 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 of 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.

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. The program bolstered economic growth, created employment opportunities, and amplified the competitiveness of horticulture and livestock value chains. TAP also increased the effectiveness of smallholder enterprises and 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, environmental, and information management systems and procedures, as wel as provided technical assistance for development of horticulture and livestock value chains.

Program Approach:

  • Provided technical assistance and capacity building training to farmers, associations, and agribusiness enterprises across the target value chains;
  • Offered customized cost-sharing grant products across the key value chains;
  • Provided international support for agricultural marketing and brand development to identify and capitalize on high-price market opportunities and develop market linkages;
  • Established several Value Chain Platforms to promote the development of specific subsectors and create linkages between the stakeholders involved in the 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 M&E systems.

Environmental Compliance: CNFA helped ensure that the project and its associated grant activities were in compliance with USAID environmental regulations. This cooperative effort drew on CNFA’s experience in knowledge management, compliance, M&E studies, and reporting any adverse environmental impact 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 to 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, processor, market agents, and service providers;
  • Located exact locations of project beneficiaries and grantees.

The CNFA team 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 also supported the Agribusiness Project in its development, maintenance, and transfer of M&E and IT systems for impact assessment and reporting to a web-based, integrated management information system (IMIS). This system automated the functions of HR, 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.

Amalima

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Overview:

Amalima, a seven-year USAID Development Food Aid Program (DFAP) (2013-2020), works with over 56,000 households to sustainably improve household food security and nutrition in Zimbabwe’s districts of Bulilima, Gwanda, Mangwe (Matabeleland South), and Tsholotsho (Matabeleland North).

Amalima draws its name from the Ndebele word for the social contract by which families come together to help each other engage in productive activities such as land cultivation, livestock tending, and asset building.

Program Approach:

  1. Improve Sustainable Access to and Availability of Food: Amalima promotes climate and conservation-sensitive agriculture practices and encourages the adoption of improved agriculture and livestock production practices;
  2. Strengthen Community Resilience to Shocks: Amalima partners with communities to improve livelihoods and build resilience by creating and strengthening disaster risk reduction (DRR) committees through cash for asset activities, household asset vouchers, and village savings and lending (VS&L) groups that promote income generating activities and savings to build household resiliency;
  3. Improve Nutrition and Health: Amalima improves the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) practices, dietary diversity, and micro-nutrient intake of pregnant and lactating women and children under two by distributing supplementary feeding rations and enhancing nutrition care practices with a combination of capacity building, mentoring, and community-based messaging delivered through care groups and community health clubs;
  4. Promote Gender Equality: Amalima empowers women to play a key role in food security and resiliency at the household and community levels through increased access to and control over incomes, while promoting men and women to take increasingly equal responsibilities for both productive and reproductive activities.

Partners:

  • Organization of Rural Associations for Progress
  • Dabane
  • International Medical Corps
  • Africare
  • Manoff Group

Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth

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Overview:

The USAID Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth (REGIS-AG) program (2015-2020) is designed to increase incomes of vulnerable households by improving the performance and inclusiveness of the cowpea, poultry, and small ruminant value chains. Implemented in Niger and Burkina Faso, REGIS-AG is one of many projects operating under USAID’s Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) initiative, supported by a consortium of partners and led by CNFA.

Program Approach:

  1. Resilience to Environmental, Security, and Economic Shocks: A key function of the project is to improve community resistance to shocks by sustainably rehabilitating markets, facilitating village-savings programs, and improving access to shared and household assets along three value chains: cowpea, poultry, and small ruminants;
  2. Facilitation Approach to Catalyzing Market Systems: REGIS-AG uses a “facilitation approach” that aims to improve the function of markets and create sustainable change without becoming embedded in the system. REGIS-AG also aims to identify opportunities through value chain and end-market analysis, and to strengthen relationships across its value chains;
  3. Strengthen Input Supply and Other Supporting Services to Improve Smallholder and Agro-pastoralist Access to Interconnected Markets: CNFA concentrates on improving the delivery of and access to veterinary services and feed provision centers for poultry and small ruminants, and improving the supply of agricultural inputs for cowpeas with a specific emphasis on Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) bags for improved storage practices;
  4. Increase Access to Finance, Innovation, and Private Sector Investments: REGIS-AG works with private sector investments to design and market financial products that will expand access to services, particularly for women. It also works to improve the enabling environment for local and regional private sector investment by building the trust between value chain actors and increasing their voice at the policy level;
  5. Gender and Women’s Empowerment: REGIS-AG employs a comprehensive approach to engage both men and women in overcoming structural biases and barriers in the three target value chains through education and integration into the formal market economy.

Partners:

Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Association Nigérienne pour la Dynamisation des Initiatives Locales (Karkara), Association for Catalyzing Pastoral Development in Niger (AREN), Association Nodde Nooto (A2N), and the Association pour la Gestion de l’Environnement et le Développement (AGED).

Feed the Future Ethiopia Farm Service Center Project

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Overview:

The Feed the Future Ethiopia Farm Service Center Project (2015-2017), funded by USAID, provided technical support to the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) in establishing 20 Farm Service Centers (FSCs) throughout the Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR, and Tigray regions of Ethiopia. This was a follow-on project to the successful USAID Commercial Farm Service Program, which piloted CNFA’s Farm Service Center Model in Ethiopia.

Program Approach:

  1. Increasing Income and Access to Finance: CNFA’s Farm Service Center Model is a market-based private sector model that applies matching grants and training methodology to establish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that deliver farm supplies and services. FSCs are often located in larger townships and serve as rural development centers that meet the needs of private farmers in their communities. These centers improve access to finance and increase sustainable income by providing a range of agricultural inputs, machinery services, veterinary services and products, marketing assistance for agricultural outputs, training and information, and access to credit.
  2. Improving food security: The growing network of retail Farm Service Centers has a positive impact on thousands of smallholder farmers across Ethiopia and increases the viability and food security of the entire region. Additionally, ATA’s monitoring and evaluation information systems ensure that the full impact of this transformation is captured as data and can be leveraged to continually integrate lessons learned.
  3. Promoting gender equality: The project ensured that gender integration and environmental mitigation measures were fully incorporated in the roll-out of all new Farm Service Centers.

Agricultural Growth Program – Livestock Market Development

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Overview: 

The Agricultural Growth Program-Livestock Market Development (AGP-LMD) (2012-2018) was a livestock market development project funded by USAID. As part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future (FTF) Initiative. AGP-LMD fostered growth, created jobs for rural households, and reduced hunger and malnutrition through increased competitiveness of selected livestock value chains in meat and dairy.

The project was part of USAID’s broader contribution to the Government of Ethiopia’s Agricultural Growth Program, aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and market access for crop and livestock products in targeted areas while bolstering the participation of women and youth. Additionally, CNFA supported local partner organizations in leading interventions through existing cooperatives, associations, government agencies, and private firms, spurring sustainable economic growth in Ethiopia.

Program Approach: 

  1. Increased Productivity and Competitiveness of Selected Livestock Value Chains: AGP-LMD provided training to livestock producers, enabling them to increase their livestock production, expand private farm supply businesses to better provide commercial farm inputs and services, and increase their competitiveness in domestic and international markets.

 

  1. Improved Enabling Environment for Livestock Value Chains: The AGP-LMD team facilitated policy discussions to reform bottlenecks and involved stakeholders through workshops and platforms. The program leveraged capacity-building for public and private sector actors, coordinated linkages with other USAID programs, and applied research to yield successful interventions. Over the life of the project, AGP-LMD developed and supported 11 livestock-related policies, regulations, and administrative procedures.
  1. Improved Quality and Diversity of Household Diets: AGP-LMD integrated communications and community mobilization efforts related to nutritional practices in program activities,  targeting improvements in quality and diversity of diet for children under two and people living with HIV/AIDS. Through development agents and health extension workers, AGP-LMD reached more than 160,000 people with nutrition messaging.

Direct collaboration between the project and the Government of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries resulted in the launch of the Ethiopian Livestock Identification and Traceability System (ETLITS) in 2017. Implemented by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and financially supported by USAID, ETLITS enables organizations and businesses to track the lifespan of livestock and their production, processing, distribution, and transport into the broader retail market, as well as to help ensure animal health and food safety.

  1. Women’s Empowerment: AGP-LMD trained more than 400 women entrepreneurs in business and leadership, equipping them with skills like time management, strategic planning, business relationship management, and ICT to help them participate more formally in the marketplace, increase their savings, improve the quality of their products, and strengthen their decision-making power within the household.

Partners:

  • Netherlands Development Organization
  • International Medical Corps
  • Self-Help Africa- Ethiopia
  • Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara
  • Relief Society of Tigray
  • Institute for International Education
  • The Oromo Grassroots Development Initiative

 

Amalima Improves Livestock Productivity in Matabeleland North and South Zimbabwe

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Phillip Sithole, his wife and four children live in Matabeleland South in Zimbabwe, an area characterized by low rainfall available for planting crops. Because of the area’s arid conditions, the land is best suited for raising livestock. Sithole cares for cattle, goats, chickens and Guinea fowl on his small farm and sells at least one of his cattle every year, through his membership at the Magaya Livestock Producers Association, to support his family. But in order to generate a profit, he needs new offspring to replace the cattle he sells.

Unfortunately, low calving rates and in-breeding hinder smallholder farmers like Sithole in their efforts to increase their livestock. To address these constraints, Amalima, a USAID-funded Food for Peace program, initiated a series of trainings on Artificial Insemination (AI). AI affords farmers an opportunity to introduce new genetic material of adaptable and desirable cattle breeds that are better suited for harsher physical environments. Amalima staff, in collaboration with the Department of Livestock Production and Development, Department of Vet Services, Agritex and local paravets, facilitated the trainings to discuss the benefits of AI, as well as its process, timing and post-pregnancy diagnosis.

When Sithole heard about the training opportunity, he gathered funds to pay for seven cows to be inseminated at the cost of $30 USD each. “I am excited for an increase in my animals’ impregnation rate and am looking forward to a better income for my family,” Sithole expressed. Like most farmers who attended the training, the average pregnancy rate using traditional methods is between 20-30%. The insemination, introduced by Amalima, crossed his cows with a more resilient breed to improve the quality of his heard. After insemination, Amalima staff came back to inspect Sithole’s cows and found that 100% of the inseminated animals were pregnant.

To date, Amalima has trained 304 farmers (211 male and 93 female) on AI throughout Amalima’s four program areas. Because of these trainings, there is now a 68% success rate of pregnant cows as a result of AI and farmers are expecting their first generation of crosses in early March 2015. With this new technology and improvement in livestock production, families like the Sithole’s are able to plan better for their future needs. Additionally, these farmers are able to predict how many of their animals will become pregnant as a result of a much higher pregnancy rate than using traditional breeding methods.

Amalima applies a set of innovative approaches by building on existing communal initiatives and solidarity to address food and nutrition insecurity and strengthen resilience to shocks. It is introducing new farming technologies like AI though its livestock component in addition to teaching beneficiaries to become better farmers in difficult physical environments. CNFA leads a consortium of partners including Organization of Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP), Africare, Dabane Water Works, International Medical Corps (IMC), and the Manoff Group to increase productivity, improve drought resilience and adaptation, and enhance nutrition care practices in Matabeleland North and South, Zimbabwe.