Healthy Soil for a Better Harvest – Conservation Farming in Tsholotsho

Healthy Soil for a Better Harvest – Conservation Farming in Tsholotsho

Posted On: Filed Under:

The majority of farmers in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe rely on rains for their agricultural activities. When rains are poor or erratic, crops fail, harvests suffer and people don’t have enough food to eat. Tsholotsho district in Matabeleland North is no exception. This area is characterized by low, unpredictable rainfall during the farming season and year-round arid conditions. Farmers are often forced to rely on alternative coping strategies, including remittances, paid casual labor and craft-making, to make it through the lean season. However, cultivation methods based on low-till conservation agriculture (CA) promoted by the USAID-funded Amalima program are improving harvest yields in this dry environment and influencing many households in the process.

Cecelia NcubeCecilia Ncube, 66 years old, is a smallholder farmer in Zenzeleni village of Tsholotsho. She is a widower and lives with her three daughters and five small grandchildren. Several of her children are in South Africa and send back remittances on a monthly basis, which, combined with income from basket-making, is how Cecelia survives. Concerned about her family’s precarious livelihood and food security situation, she decided to participate in the Amalima program’s CA training. “I am so excited that I am taking part in this conservation farming intervention. Before the Amalima program arrived, I would use draught power to till most of my land. I would have to wait for other villagers to finish ploughing their fields before they would let me borrow their oxen. I realized that every time I was ploughing too late, well after the planting rains had gone, and more importantly, this method made the soils quickly dry off,” says Cecilia.

Amalima builds on existing communal initiatives in order to improve household food security and nutrition status through initiatives like conservation agriculture and livestock trainings, improving access to agricultural inputs and strengthening community resilience to economic and climatic shocks. The Amalima program 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.

Conservation agriculture (CA) is a set of soil management practices that minimize the disruption of the soil’s structure, composition and natural biodiversity. CA has proven potential to increase crop yields, while improving the long-term sustainability of farming. As part of land preparation, farmers dig planting basins rather than plowing the whole field and lay manure fertilizer in the basins before planting. This method of field preparation minimizes soil disturbance, consequently reducing erosion and increasingmoisture retention when the rains fall. Specific spacing guidelines also promote maximum yields. Amalima CA training covers land preparation methods, fertilizer application, planting, pest management and post-harvest handling.

“At first I thought this process was too labor intensive and I didn’t see how I would be able to till a reasonable piece of land. But our mentors, Amalima field staff and AGRITEX [GoZ Agricultural Extension] Officers encouraged us to work in groups of ten so that we could assist each other with land preparation. Working this way, we were then able to work on one plot a day,” she explained. Cecelia is now part of a conservation farming group made up of 10 women in her village who also participated in the Amalima training. Soils around Zenzeleni village are sandy and the group had to collect cow dung around the nearest watering borehole to place in their planting basins to enhance soil fertility and reduce the loss of soil nutrients from water run-off. According to Cecelia’s group’s constitution, members provide assistance preparing 0.5 hectare of each members’ field using CA techniques. As a result of this cooperation, Cecelia managed to complete the millet planting on her plot before the first rains in the 2014/2015 season and was excited to compare the results of her CA and conventional plots.

In January 2015, Cecelia explained, “With good rains this year, I am expecting to harvest 300kgs of millet on this 50m by 50m (0.3 ha) piece of land. On the same piece of land I used to get around 150kgs of millet using conventional farming.” A few months later, the sorghum in her CA plot was a lush green in comparison to the crops in her conventional plot. Cecilia lamented that if she had known that the millet in the CA plot would do so much better than in the conventional farming plot, she would have dug CA planting basins throughout her fields herself.

Cecelia Ncube combined

At left, Cecilia with her lush CA millet plot in January of 2015. Right, she stands with her conventional farming millet plot on the same day.

The 2014/2015 season did not bring good rains – rainfall was 40 percent below normal in Tsholotsho – but Cecelia’s small CA plot yielded 200kgs of millet despite the drought, which is more than double the yield of neighbors who used conventional methods on the same sized land. On her 1.7 ha conventional farming plot, Cecelia yielded 650kgs, which is only 3.5 times the yield on an area of land almost six-times larger. Six months since her harvest, Cecelia still has 100kg of millet available for her family’s consumption.

After witnessing the increased yields from Cecelia and her fellow group members’ CA plots, many new farmers from Zenzeleni village eagerly participated in CA training in July and August, and formed several new CA farmer groups for the upcoming growing season. Cecilia’s CA farming group plans to expand their area of cultivation in the future using draught power and mechanized CA to prepare planting basins.

Cecelia is using CA techniques on her entire 2 hectare plot this year, explaining, “Since adopting CA, my yield was better even during a poor and erratic rainy season. CA is the best technology that I urge all community farmers to adopt. It has come as a revelation in addressing the challenge of food security both at household and community level especially for us households without any means of earning an income to feed the family.” As of early October, Cecelia had already prepared 75 percent of her plot using CA techniques.

The San Move From Seclusion to a Healthy and Food Secure Community

Posted On: Filed Under:

Known as Abathwa in Ndebele and Basangwa in Kalanga, the San inhabit remote areas of southern Africa, including Tsholotsho district of Matabeleland North province in south-western Zimbabwe. By tradition, the San are a nomadic people of hunter and gatherers who value seclusion from the rest of the world as a way to avoid disturbance and preserve their culture. Historically, this mobile and insulated lifestyle has made the San hard to reach for development assistance programs and has contributed to higher levels of illness and food insecurity. The Amalima program partners with San communities to improve health and income while respecting their desire to maintain traditional values.

In Tsholotsho, San communities are largely found in Ward 10 where the Amalima program is building on existing communal initiatives and solidarity to address food and nutrition insecurity and strengthen resilience to shocks. Through an introductory communal meeting with an Amalima Field Officer, members and leaders of Mtshina village San community became interested in the program’s trainings, particularly conservation agriculture and the Amalima Community Health Club (CHC) concept. Both adults and children were frequently ill with diarrhoea and water-borne diseases, and the village at large was motivated to improve their community’s livelihood and food security. Traditional leaders noted that San communities in the area have felt left out of many development initiatives because they are perceived as ‘outcasts’ in local society and have historically been marginalized by the sedentary, agricultural communities. As a result of the meeting, twenty-five community members (13 males & 12 females) representing households from half the village decided to establish the Siyazama Community Health Club (CHC).

As part of Amalima’s efforts to improve nutrition and health among pregnant and lactating women and children, CHC’s aim to increase awareness of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices in communities through completion of a 20 module Participatory Health and Hygiene Education (PHHE) training. CHCs foster learning for change through promotion of practical improvements at the household level (e.g. washing hands at critical times, and establishing latrines, “tippy tap” hand washing stations and rubbish pits) to change the behaviors of community members in favor of a more hygienic environment. The CHC members began receiving lessons in September 2014 from Grace Moyo, their neighbor and Community Based Facilitator (CBF), who was trained herself by an Amalima Field Officer and Ministry of Health Environmental Health Technician (EHT). After each week’s lesson, members conduct practicals at home with family members where they put their training to use.

CHC member, Anna Madhumane, acknowledged how health unconscious her community was prior to the formation of the CHC. Of the widespread disregard for cleanliness she said, “People were not hygienic and, they used open defecation.” But Anna quickly pointed out that behaviors changed after the trainings: club members adopted the recommended practices. They built tippy taps, pot racks, rubbish pits, began to keep clean yards and wash their hands. “The CHC also gives us a platform to share ideas,” she said. “We talk about moulding bricks and getting more men involved to help dig pits for latrines.” The general community at large began to adopt some of the hygiene standards too – like digging a hole for ‘cat’ sanitation method for defecation and tippy taps for handwashing – which resulted in a noticeable reduction in cases of illness.

After completing the PHHE sessions, all 25 Siyazama CHC members graduated at a community-wide ceremony with songs, dramas and poetry about the importance of WASH practices. The MoHCC EHT, who works with Amalima, noted that this ward was generally regarded as a health unconscious community. “The San people were always looked down up on,” she said, “but now with this graduation and the change that has happened they have attained better status in local society.”

At the ceremony, Anna was awarded the first place “model home” award for adopting and maintaining hygienic practices at her homestead where she lives with her 16-year-old son, two grandchildren and a 3-month-old great-grandchild. She constructed a tippy tap, rubbish pit, pot drying rack, and practices clean dish-washing. Anna indicated that she is happy with the way the community has changed and she is determined to be a champion of hygiene standards—especially after receiving her award. “The certificate is a source of motivation for me. If am lazy to clean the yard, I am motivated to keep the cleanliness of my home when I see the certificate,” she said.

However, the club members recognized that their efforts to improve their community shouldn’t be limited to hygiene alone. In fall of 2014 while the CHC was at its early stages, the 25 members also participated in an Amalima conservation agriculture (CA) training to learn methods to increase yields in the arid area where they live. Most people in Mtshina rely on casual labor in the surrounding villages as a source of income, which generally goes towards buying corn meal and paying school fees. With CA, members hoped to become more independent and capable of feeding their children year-round. The training covered land preparation methods, fertilizer application, planting, pest management and post-harvest handling. After working together as a CHC group, the transition to CA was a natural process, noted Ana. In the spirit of Amalima members worked together to prepare the land and dig basins for each other’s fields—a practice which sped up the time it would take one household to do the work alone and resulted in each plot being ready for planting before the first rains.

On her 0.5 hectare plot, Ana planted maize, millet, sorghum, round nuts and groundnuts. Despite the severe 2014/2015 drought, Ana’s plot achieved above average yields for the season with 150 kgs of millet, 75 kgs of sorghum and 18 kgs of ground nuts and round nuts each, of which she has 50kgs of millet remaining. Of the maize, she said “it completely dried out. You could have lit a match and burned the field to ash.”

The CHC members recognized that their CA plots had much higher yields than farmers who practiced conventional farming and had a very poor or failed harvest. With this in mind, the members have already started preparing land for the upcoming cropping season. Each household plans to use CA methods, focus on planting millet and sorghum (small drought-tolerant grains) and avoid the more water-dependant maize. With the support of Amalima, Mtshina village is also establishing a nutrition garden where kale, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and other vegetables will be grown for consumption and sale, generating income and improving dietary diversity for 50 households.

“A few years ago,” Ana started, “if Amalima had approached our community, we would have fled, or hid, wishing to avoid contact with outsiders.” But now, Mtshina village is showing a commitment to hygiene and food security, which will benefit themselves, their children and grandchildren.

Amalima Begins Much Anticipated Formative Research in Zimbabwe

Posted On: Filed Under:

Improving dietary diversity and quality of foods consumed by the entire Zimbabwean household was the driving force behind the collaborative baseline study conducted recently by Amalima, a USAID-supported program managed by CNFA. The Amalima program promotes the adoption of new practices in agriculture, disaster preparedness and infant and young child feeding to improve nutrition in over 66,000 households in Tsholotsho of Matebeleland North and Gwanda, Bulilima and Mangwe of Matebeleland South.

An analysis of nutrition in the region led to the conclusion that nutrition problems are a result of household feeding practices and behaviors, rather than a direct result of food shortages. As such, rather than offering prescribed solutions and recommended practices, the formative research will seek to better inform what motivates the individual behaviors, interests, attributes and particular needs of the communities the program will be serving over the next five years.

Preliminary tests and research allowed the Amalima team to capture baseline information on everything from what crop varieties are grown in the region, what assets are desired by the community and the level of household nutrition. These results, along with lessons learned, will be used to inform a broader survey that will drive program activates moving forward.

USAID Empowers Self-Employed Women to Become Entrepreneurs

Posted On: Filed Under:

Five years ago, Hajira Beyene, and her family of 12 became beneficiaries of the Ethiopian government’s safety net program – an initiative that supports the poorest of the poor in food insecure districts of the country to help them meet their basic needs and become self-sufficient – in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). For 38-year-old Hajira, who is the head of her family, the 750 birr she received a month from the safety net program, along with food rations, was helpful, but far from enough.

Hajira knew she had to take matters into her own hands to ensure that her family would survive and escape poverty. She decided to start rearing and selling goats, by using one female goat that she received from a charitable organization known as Goal, and selling seasonal vegetables, which she planted in her yard when the rains allowed. Despite her efforts, lack of technical and business skills hamstrung Hajira’s efforts and left her without fair return, keeping her family reliant on the safety net program.

Hajira is one of the 63 women from the Amhara, SNNP and Tigray regions who received a four-month training on business management and leadership skills organized by USAID’s Agricultural Growth Program-Livestock Market Development (AGP-LMD) project from February to May 2015. The training taught the women how to become successful business operators by offering training in resource management, as well as improving their participation in the leadership and decision-making process of their businesses.


“The knowledge I gained from the training has entered my bones, not just my head,” Hajira siad.


The training has given her the confidence to take immediate action in purchasing one more goat for rearing by better managing some cash she had. “I purchased a new goat for 650 birr. She is expecting and will be giving birth in two months’ time, and the twin from the old goat will be ready for sale in a few months. Unlike before, I plan to sell them at a better price, and save the income from one of the goats’ sales, so that I can plan to build a better barn for the expansion,” said Hajira who mentioned lack of capital, as her main challenge.
According to Hajira before the training she never considered borrowing from the savings and credit association in her village for fear of not being able to pay back the money “Every 15 days, I contribute five birr to the association. If I borrow money, I need to pay it back within three months together with the interest based on the borrowed amount. My fear of doing so was always based on not having the source to pay back,” explained Hajira, who thinks that the training has now given her the self-confidence to overcome this difficulty as she will practice better financial management thanks to the knowledge she gained from the training.

As the safety net program of the government is set to terminate this year with a probability of being replaced with a different program, this training by USAID is a timely contribution to support Hajira’s transformation, and that of other women, into self-reliance. “There was a time when my first born had to drop out of school after he reached the ninth grade, because I couldn’t put him a school uniform. Although he is a year behind his class mates, I was able to work hard and send him back to school,” Hajira, who herself dropped out of school from the sixth grade as a result of unwanted marriage, said. She is firm in wanting to invest more in her children’s education, including her nine-year-old grandchild who is in the first grade, and whom she supports after he lost both of his parents at an early age.

Promoting School Milk Days in Ethiopia

Posted On: Filed Under:

The USAID-supported Agricultural Growth Program – Livestock Market Development (AGP-LMD) kicked off a series of events known as “School Milk Days” aimed to increase the awareness and knowledge of school age children, parents and teachers about milk in Ethiopia. The project organized these events as part of a campaign to stress the nutrition and benefits of milk to normal growth and development.


Watch this short video to learn more about this activity.

Improving Livelihoods and Nutrition through Dairy Production

Posted On: Filed Under:

USAID’s Agricultural Growth Program – Livestock Market Development (AGP-LMD) in Ethiopia partnered with Project Mercy, a faith-based development and relief organization, to help improve the livelihoods and nutritional status of Ethiopians.


Watch this short video to learn more about this partnership.

Malawi Agrodealer Strengthening Program

Posted On: Filed Under:


The three-year Malawi Agro-dealer Strengthening Program (MASP) improved the input supply and output marketing distribution channels available to smallholder farmers in the underserved, remote areas of Malawi by developing a commercially viable network of agro-dealers. Prior to MASP interventions, these small farm stores were located mainly in urban areas and were therefore inaccessible for many farmers. In partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), CNFA provided targeted training in business management and productive farming methods and increased smallholder access to agro-dealers in remote areas, thereby raising rural incomes and increasing household productivity.

Program Approach:

  • Conducted a detailed survey of the existing agro-dealer network to identify underserved areas where new startups could be created;
  • Worked with input suppliers to develop and deliver technical training to agro-dealers and promote the use of improved seed;
  • Improved rural access to finance, which is difficult to obtain in remote areas due to the high cost of agricultural financing and high perceived risk by lending institutions;
  • Facilitated smallholder farmer access to larger markets for sale of their improved products;
  • Shaped agricultural policy to promote the interests of private sector growth.
  • Business Management Training:CNFA and MASP worked through commercial trainers to identify and train rural retailers in a six-module business management training program that culminated in agro-dealer certification. The business management training included sessions on: managing working capital, managing stocks, costing and pricing, selling and marketing, record keeping, and managing business relationships. MASP succeeded in training and certifying over 1,500 agro-dealers in Malawi;
  • Credit and Financial Services:After certifying agro-dealers, the program provided access to working capital and trade credit by linking them with input suppliers and microfinance institutions. CNFA leveraged private sector investments and backed commercial credit with a 50% credit guarantee. Almost 300 agro-dealers benefited from MASP’s guarantee component. In addition to improving smallholder access to key value chains and trade in rural markets, CNFA supported capacity building programs and the development of agricultural-specific lending products for financial institutions in Malawi;
  • Technical Training:The program also helped input suppliers to develop and deliver technical training to agro-dealers in product knowledge, handling and safe use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, and use of improved seed. Training was complemented by increased smallholder farmer awareness of, and demand for, improved inputs through demonstration plots and farmer field days. CNFA worked with stakeholders, including the Pesticides Control Board and other groups, to increase their institutional capacity to deliver technical knowledge to smallholder farmers;
  • Agricultural Policy Reform:CNFA worked to improve agricultural policy by increasing the role of the private sector in policy advocacy, decreasing the government’s role in the inputs market and minimizing market distorting subsidies and government interventions. In Malawi, CNFA helped to create the Agriculture Inputs Traders Association (AITA) and worked with AITA to develop a white paper on fertilizer subsidies that was presented to the government. This submission led to a change from direct government distribution of fertilizer to a farmer-held voucher-based system;
  • Output Marketing:CNFA strengthened the linkage between input and output distribution channels and used the rural retailer as a link back to cash markets for their farmer customers. In Malawi, agro-dealers frequently served as a point of market information, traded in outputs as well as inputs, and often engaged in primary processing, storage, or handling. To foster and strengthen capacity to fill this varied role, MASP provided agro-dealers with small matching grants to improve storage facilities, put in small processing facilities, and invest more deeply in equipment for farmer outputs. CNFA trained 217 agro-dealers in output marketing;
  • Animal Health and Veterinary Training:Many of the agro-dealers surveyed provided veterinary supplies and animal healthcare products for rural farmers. As such, technical experts provided training on how to approach veterinary service provision, stock veterinary supplies, feed supplements, and link with wholesale suppliers;
  • Association Development:Association development efforts resulted in a sustainable forum for advocacy on behalf of small business agro-dealers throughout Malawi. Through MASP, CNFA strengthened associations through trainings on organizational management, member services, networking, advocacy, and capacity building. Overall, MASP supported nine agricultural associations and 29 agro-dealer associations.

Kenya Drylands Livestock Development Program

Posted On: Filed Under:


From 2010 to 2013, the USAID-funded Kenya Drylands Livestock Development Program (KDLDP) addressed obstacles facing pastoralists in northeastern Kenya. USAID awarded KDLDP to CNFA through the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Leader with Associate Award (LWA) mechanism. With a total budget of approximately $10 million, the program’s main objective was to increase income and food security for pastoralist households in the districts of Garissa, Ijara, Mandera, Tana River, and Wajir.

Pastoralists in northeastern Kenya face obstacles such as poor access to inputs like animal feed and water, limited access to vaccines, poor linkages between producers and markets, and a lack of price transparency in their local markets. To address these problems, CNFA focused on the entire livestock value chain, connecting herders to markets, credit services, and livestock health inputs while also working to improve the policies that affect pastoralists. CNFA worked with key local partners like the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC) and a Kenyan affiliate, the Agricultural Marketing Development Trust (AGMARK), to address short-term issues facing pastoralists and to lay a foundation for long-term, sustainable development.

KDLDP integrated cross-cutting themes such as gender, youth, and adaptation to climate change, and the project undertook baseline studies, including Household Income Surveys, a Gender Analysis study, and Environment Impact Assessments. These studies and assessments helped to inform local policy and support the continuity of future development initiatives in KDLDP’s target regions.

Program Approach:

  • Enhanced Livestock Trade and Marketing:CNFA mobilized groups including Livestock Marketing Associations (LMAs) to form larger commercially oriented associations of producer groups called Pastoralist Marketing Clusters (PMCs). PMC employees received Business Management Training (BMT) to improve the groups’ negotiation, documentation, record keeping, and bookkeeping skills. Recognizing that cultural implication would not allow the Muslim population in the area to access traditional banking loans, the program created the Community Owned Finance Institution (COFI), Kenya’s first Sharia-compliant Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCOS). KDLDP also contributed to the National Livestock Market Information Systems (NLMIS) by providing weekly information from different markets within the program area. Key information generated from the data collected was broadcasted through the Wajir Community Radio and the Star FM radio stations;
  • Livestock Product Value Addition:CNFA identified initiatives that greatly improved the livelihoods of communities in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) areas. Program staff worked with local groups to produce and market value-added products for niche markets, identify new market opportunities, conduct studies of new enterprises, support the financing of viable enterprises via grants and guaranteed loans, and support improved performance of existing enterprises;
  • Increased Livestock Productivity and Competitiveness:The Business Management Training (BMT) component of KDLDP equipped agro-dealers with the skills and knowledge to manage and stock their enterprises professionally, and to disseminate the techniques to pastoralists. CNFA also strengthened the ability of Kenya’s Ministry of Livestock Development (MoLD) to implement disease surveillance and better control livestock movements;
  • Facilitate Marketing and Livestock Development through Policy Change:KDLDP held policy dialogue meetings to discuss issues, build consensus, and prepare memoranda detailing constraints and policy suggestions on livestock development. CNFA hosted multiple activities to develop the capacity of the District Livestock Marketing Council (DLMC) and to equip pastoralists’ representatives with the necessary skills to participate in policy processes and advocate on behalf of their constituents;
  • Promote Strategies to Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change:KDLDP equipped pastoralists with skills to combat disease epidemics that derive from climate change and more severe weather. The program provided support to the expansion of water harvesting and the mainstreaming of Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) in all program activities. In addition, KDLDP supported vaccination programs in areas where flooding may trigger Rift Valley Fever (RVF) and Hemorrhagic Septicemia.

New Opportunities in Agriculture

Posted On: Filed Under:


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


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

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