Response to Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Response to Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

With $176 million in exports in 2015, the hazelnut is Georgia’s highest earning agricultural export and supports the livelihoods of over 40,000 families. However, the stability and profitability of the hazelnut sector, as well as the incomes of the smallholder farmers who depend upon it, are being threatened by the rapid growth of a pest known as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).

Originating in China, the BMSB is devastating the hazelnut sector by reducing the quality and quantity of hazelnut kernels. Left uncontrolled, the BMSB could set the country back years of agricultural growth and development in other sectors including apples, corn, grapes, peaches, and vegetables.

To address these challenges, the USAID Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production (REAP) project received an additional $3 million to provide technical assistance and equipment to Georgia’s National Food Agency (NFA) between April 2017 and September 2018. By working closely with the Government of Georgia to develop a State Program with a focus on monitoring and managing the BMSB’s growth, REAP strengthened the capacity of local institutions to limit the agricultural losses caused by the pest. REAP’s efforts also helped the Government of Georgia better understand the BMSB’s biology to better inform management of the infestation.

Program Approach:

  1. State Program Development Support: In partnership with local and U.S.-based entomologists, REAP managed the design and oversight of the Government of Georgia’s action plan through its local Working Group, spearheaded by the NFA. The Working Group was used to develop an implementation strategy, define the monitored area, and calculate the budget of the State Program to combat the infestation;
  2. Communications and Outreach: Because the BMSB was new to Georgia, it was crucial to increase awareness and understanding amongst Georgian farmers, citizens, and extension agents before any monitoring and management strategies could be implemented. In cooperation with the NFA, REAP developed communications materials to educate citizens, District Task Force staff, and other public and private extension agents about BMSB management. A Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping platform augmented the approach, visualizing data for the NFA and general public to track BMSB and other pests;
  3. Training: To prepare Georgia’s Ministry of Agriculture for the monitoring and management the BMSB, REAP delivered a multi-faceted training program on BMSB identification, trap establishment and maintenance, and the safe use and application of pesticides;
  4. Local Capacity Building: Experience in the U.S. and Europe indicated that the invasive BMSB will be present in Georgia for an extended period of time. To ensure that the Government of Georgia is able to manage the BMSB in the present and future, REAP worked with the Ministry of Agriculture to outfit local NFA staff and entomologists with awareness, monitoring and management through local research and a capacity-building trip to the United States;
  5. Procurement Support: To equip the Ministry of Agriculture with the tools necessary to monitor and manage the BMSB, REAP worked with the NFA to procure the required equipment to implement the State Program, such as traps, lures, and spraying equipment.
  6. Private Sector Engagement: In order to manage the infestation, CNFA partnered with Trécé Inc, a US-based leading-edge research and development provide latest solutions in insect population monitoring and control.

Leveraging Digital Solutions to Improve Farmers’ Yields in Egypt

Posted On: Filed Under:

Across Egypt, many farmers struggle with low productivity, poor quality of produce, and post-harvest losses, resulting in a significant loss in income. Even when crops are healthy, pests can destroy a large part of the harvest, incorrect harvesting techniques can bruise fruits and vegetables and packaging can impact the quality of the produce.

Shaaban Mohamed Ghallab, a farmer in Esna Village, Egypt, previously grew onions solely for his family’s consumption at home. Despite having an interest in expanding his production and selling beyond his home, he lacked the know-how in post-harvest handling to make the change.

The ICT platform sent daily text messages to farmers on agriculture best practices in Arabic

Shaaban is just one of 132 onion farmers participating in the Feed the Future Egypt Food Security and Agribusiness Support (FAS) project that received hands-on technical training to acquire the knowledge and skills on post-harvest handling techniques as well as daily SMS text messages that serve as a timely reminder to follow through on practices learned during training.

Over the course of four weeks, participants were trained on best practices for the harvesting, sorting, and packing of onions and tomatoes for local and export markets. Key messages included; ensuring good hygiene during harvest and handling, minimizing irrigation directly prior to harvest to ensure strong stalks and prevent new root germination, integrated pest management to minimize damage from rats and crows, and proper drying of onions post-harvest. Shaaban was selected as a lead farmer, meaning he applied the best practices from the training and provided advice to farmers both in the program as well as in the broader community. As a trusted voice, farmers often looked to Shaaban for recommendations and reassurance regarding agricultural practices. “Farmers would call me and say, ‘Do we add this amount of fertilizer? Or, do we follow this practice? Yes or no?’” he said.

The FAS project also developed an information and communications technology (ICT) platform with the support of Souktel Digital Solutions to send follow-up text messages to all participating farmers. These messages were sent to remind farmers of best practices to follow leading up to harvest time as well as during harvest time to prompt farmers on how to maintain quality produce and how to correctly package produce for the markets. “Since most everyone has a phone and we do not have the ability to visit each farmer in-person daily, because of the distance in rural areas, this is an easy way to reach the farmer with key knowledge,” said Mahmoud El-Rady, the FAS Post-harvest Coordinator responsible for queuing up the messages in the system. “The SMS messages are written step by step as if someone is sitting right by the farmers side in the field,” he said.

In Shaaban’s case, one of the important reminders he received was right at harvest time, when the onion was ripe and ready to be picked. “They sent messages about how to look at the fruit and understand whether it is the right time to pick it and what is the right amount of water to give it at a specific time around harvest so it is not damaged. This is sensitive timing when every minute counts and we can’t always wait for someone to come to the field,” said Shaaban. As a lead farmer, Shaaban also encouraged other farmers to open the messages since they contained helpful information.

Since the launch of the platform, more than 4,800 messages have been sent to participating farmers that produce tomatoes, onions, and grapes. Recently, the FAS project began creating content surrounding post-harvest best practices for the cultivation of mangos. Since the platform has proven to be an effective method for communicating with farmers, this tool is being expanded to send messages on agricultural best practices during production as well as to share lessons on nutrition, particularly with women in the agro-processing workforce.

In his first year of working with the FAS project and producing onions for market sale, Shaaban sold 45 tons of onion, making a profit of 27,000 Egyptian pounds (~1,511 USD). Since Shaaban and his family were living with two other families, he used the profit from his onion sales to help purchase a new home for his own family. “I was very happy because my first goal was to just get the training on onion [production]. I did not expect that I would also get this profit,” he said. Shaaban is now looking to take the skills he’s learned and expand his farm to plant other crops that reap high profits, such as hibiscus, in addition to continuing with the production of onion.

USAID Egypt Food Security & Agribusiness Support (FAS) Project Links Local Onion Farmers to an International Exporter

Posted On: Filed Under:

The FAS project supported the Negoaa Mazen agriculture cooperative, based in Sohag governorate, to complete an export contract with ELI company, an Albanian exporter, in which the cooperative sold 45 Metric Tons of high quality onions to ELI. This was the first time an international exporter directly contracted a cooperative without its own packhouse facilities. This success demonstrates the potential a well-managed cooperative has for negotiating and organizing member farmers to deliver on contracts. The elimination of middlemen in this exchange both increased prices available to farmers, and improved information exchange by creating a direct link between farmers and an export market actor.

The onions were sold at a competitive price of LE 5000 per Metric Ton, amounting to a total transaction value of LE 225,000 that is about 10% higher than would otherwise have been available to the farmers for onions of similar quality.

This successful contract between Negoaa Mazen agriculture cooperative and ELI is part of the FAS project’s overall objective to increase smallholder farmer incomes by facilitating opportunities for farmers to sell horticultural crops to export markets. One strategy the project follows for achieving this is to build and encourage formation of new relationships through trade show participation. At the Fruit Logistica Trade Fair in Berlin in February 2019, FAS project had the opportunity to connect with numerous international exporters such as ELI and encourage them to connect with cooperatives and associations with whom the project works, such as Negoaa Mazen. By helping to forge relationships between the buyer and local supplier, the FAS project empowered the Negoaa Mazen Cooperative to negotiate sales terms, and to contract neighboring groups to help them meet buyer demand.

The Negoaa Mazen Cooperative was established in 1962 in Sohag Governorate.  It offers agriculture and marketing services to around 2,000 smallholder farmer members, who collectively own 2,000 feddans of land, about 200 feddans of which are owned by women. Crops include green beans, wheat, onion, sugar cane, and clover. The FAS project provided technical support and regular monitoring for cooperative members to help improve their crop yields and ensure that their product would meet export quality standards. Training and technical assistance included fertilization programs, irrigation, integrated pest management (IPM), and best practices for harvesting. The project also advised farmers on good input supplies to improve product quality and increase their productivity.

In addition to providing the cooperative with technical support on production, the FAS project built Negoaa Mazen Cooperative’s capacity to both maintain high standards of product quality in compliance with exporter requirements, as well as to negotiate suitable contract terms. The FAS project also worked with both parties to help them comply with domestic regulations and manage logistics such as connecting with a local shipping company to export the onions. “We gained experience dealing with the international market, became aware of international standards required by this exporter, and were trained on the proper handling of onion for export by the project,” said farmer Ahmed Saleh, Chairman of Negoaa Mazen Cooperative.

Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview: 

Because improved technologies that are affordable, impactful, and safe have not yet penetrated the vast smallholder market in Pakistan, smallholders continue to use outdated and less effective technologies, leading to stagnant or dwindling productivity and returns, particularly in the horticulture and livestock sub-sectors.

To combat these challenges, the $8.2 million Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity (PATTA) funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been working since April 2017 to increase smallholder farmers’ access to markets, alongside their overall development impact and cost-effectiveness. By building on CNFA’s 10-year history of successful implementation in Pakistan, PATTA is galvanizing ongoing private-sector investment to commercialize the types of agricultural technologies that enable smallholders to increase their incomes, create jobs, and enhance economic growth and stability. These technologies include seeds, fertilizers, water pumps, improved plant and animal breeds, precision agriculture, and integrated soil fertility management, amongst others.

By the completion of project activities in April 2021, PATTA will have created new, strong, and sustainable private-sector relationships that meet the evolving needs of smallholder farmers and drive increased productivity and economic growth across Pakistan.

Program Approach:

CNFA is collaborating with and building upon previous investments by USAID and development programs to improve the lives of smallholder farmers through the following three-pillared approach:

  1. Enable agricultural technology-related businesses to expand, adapt, and market their products and services to meet smallholder farmers’ needs.
    CNFA is undertaking the initial and ongoing market and cost-benefit analyses, as well as outreach to key stakeholders based on the findings of these analyses. In addition, CNFA is overseeing a competitive process leading to detailed memorandums of understanding and technical support, and comprehensive technical support and capacity building. In doing so, PATTA is making the business case for sustained private-sector investments in technology transfer, adaptations, outreach, and marketing such that profitable, inclusive output marketing opportunities for smallholders over the long term can be identified.
  2. Increase smallholder farmers’ access to affordable, appropriate, and effective agricultural technologies.
    Sustaining increased access to improved technologies that are adapted to smallholder needs requires focused, strategic efforts by demand-side stakeholders who stand to profit from this outcome. These stakeholders include technology retailers like agrodealers and arthis—Pakistani agricultural agents who act as middlemen buying and selling inputs on commission and often making loans to smallholders—as well as microfinance institutions and banks that profit when they provide more loans and financial services to expanding agribusinesses and farmers’ associations. PATTA’s holistic approach of capacity building and technical support complements the new marketing and outreach plans of technology companies to inspire sustained investments in the vast smallholder market.
  3. Scale the adoption and use of agricultural technologies.
    PATTA is supporting the collective work of supply- and demand-side partners to launch and sustain demonstration activities that provide evidence of the value of improved technologies. These include the promotion of activities with a proven record of success, such as field days, demonstration plots, and peer-to-peer education by champion farmers. Such demonstration activities leverage various mediums, including radio broadcasts, videos, and mobile exhibits that reach women in purdah and other underserved groups.

USAID Agriculture Program

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

The USAID Agriculture Program is a five-year program (2018-2023) that accelerates the growth of agricultural sub-sectors that show strong potential to create jobs, grow incomes, and increase micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) revenues.

Program Approach:

  1. Increase Productivity and Productive Capacity;
  2. Maximize the Benefits of Cost-share Grants and Address Value Chain Gaps through processing, storage, and other techniques;
  3. Provide Technical Assistance to Meet International Standards and Certifications;
  4. Strengthen Linkages within Agricultural Value Chains and to New Markets;
  5. Strengthen Capacity of Cooperatives, Extensions, and Other Service Providers and Associations by providing cost-share grants and demand-driven technical assistance to grant beneficiaries.

Partners:

  1. South-East Europe Development (SEEDEV)
  2. World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO)

Farmer-to-Farmer: Southern Africa

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

The USAID John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program (2018-2023) implemented by CNFA in Southern Africa (Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe) and the Eastern European country of Moldova to generate economic growth and food security while fostering people-to-people diplomacy in the regions.

Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) was initially authorized in the 1985 Farm Bill with the primary goal of generating sustainable, broad-based economic growth in the agricultural sector through voluntary technical assistance. A secondary goal is to increase the U.S. public’s understanding of international development issues and programs as well as international understanding of U.S.-sponsored development programs. For more information on the activities of the program worldwide, please visit https://farmer-to-farmer.org/.

CNFA’s current F2F program aims to connect 420 mid-to senior-level U.S. volunteer experts with farmer groups, agribusinesses, trade associations, agricultural finance providers, and other agriculture sector institutions to facilitate sustainable improvements in food security and agricultural processing, production, and marketing.

Volunteers:

CNFA recruits highly trained, exceptionally qualified volunteers — with years of experience in their respective fields — who offer their time and energy to provide expert-level technical assistance to farmers and entrepreneurs. Volunteers should be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. See our Volunteer Page for more information on how to become a volunteer.

Program Approach:

CNFA’s approach builds on continuous learning from the F2F program since its 1985 inception and decades of experience in F2F implementation. In each country, focal value chains are first analyzed to identify critical leverage points for widespread improvements in incomes and food security.

  1. Increase Agricultural Sector Market-Driven Productivity and Profitability: CNFA promotes the adoption of innovative agricultural techniques and technologies as well as support improved marketing and business skills.
  2. Improve Conservation and Sustainable Use of Environmental and Natural Resources: The program leverages conservation agriculture and other practices to produce higher and more stable yields while reducing environmental degradation. It will also include controlling Fall Armyworm, a significant pest of diverse crops, and the mitigation of aflatoxin.
  3. Expand Agricultural Sector Access to Financial Services: CNFA’s efforts strengthen financial management and business-planning skills of farmer organizations and agribusinesses.
  4. Private Sector Engagement: CNFA also supports organizational development by building local markets and networks and will work in partnerships with government and private sector stakeholders.

Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

The Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity is a five-year USAID-funded project (2017-2022) that aims to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of women and children, and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate. By 2022, the project will have benefited over 700,000 smallholder farmers in ten target districts: Bugesera, Gatsibo, Kayonza, and Ngoma (Eastern Province); Karongi, Ngororero, Nyabihu, Nyamasheke, and Rutsiro (Western Province); and Nyamagabe (Southern Province) and across five value chains: high-iron beans, orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP), Irish potato, maize, and horticulture.

Program Approach:

  1. Increasing Sustainable Agricultural Productivity: Hinga Weze focuses on interventions that support an integrated systems approach to agriculture productivity and that follow the principles of sustainable land and water use, with particular attention to climate-smart technologies of relevance to Rwanda, facilitating the resilience of farming systems by improving water management, preventing soil erosion, and maximizing the effectiveness of input use;
  2. Expanding Farmers’ Access to Markets: In order to enhance farmers’ competitiveness and expand access to markets, Hinga Weze is increasing access to post-harvest equipment and facilities, market information, and credit and financial services;
  3. Improving Nutritional Outcome of Agriculture Interventions: Hinga Weze is focused on strengthening the link between agriculture and nutrition to improve the nutritional status of its communities and families.

Partners:

  1. Plan International
  2. Souktel
  3. Rwanda Development Organisation
  4. Imbaraga Farmer’s Federation

Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

CNFA has implemented the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity (MOCA) (2017-2020), focused on increasing the productivity and efficiency of actors in the cocoa value chain to expand the trade of cocoa and cocoa products, improve the quality of cocoa, and increase farmer income.

Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa sector represents more than one-third of the world’s cocoa supply and the country’s number one export, supporting 3.5 million people — including 600,000 smallholder farmers and their families, who have limited capacity to increase the amount of quality beans they can sell. CNFA works with cocoa cooperatives, smallholder farmers, the Government of Cote d’Ivoire, and the private sector to tackle some of these market issues.

Program Approach:

  1. Supporting Producer Groups & Cooperatives: MOCA supports farmer cooperatives in areas such as governance, management, human resources, finance, service delivery, external relations with input and service suppliers and buyers, and sustainability;
  2. Working with Government & Institutions: The project supports government institutions in expanding research on and propagation of disease-resistant and improved cocoa seeds and seedlings, as well as increasing farmer access to these enhanced inputs through MOCA’s grant mechanism and technical assistance facility;
  3. Providing Business Development Services (BDS): MOCA delivers BDS support to cocoa processors and businesses in rural and urban areas, and targets entrepreneurs who would like to launch businesses along the value chain in cocoa grinding and processing, value addition, and pooled transportation;
  4. Facilitating Agricultural Lending: The project partners with banks and micro-finance institutions (MFIs) to increase producer access to and use of mobile money, insurance, and credit services, as well as to pilot new financial services such as crop insurance and delivery channels for cash and in-kind credit;
  5. In-Kind Grants for Equipment and Inputs: MOCA distributes competitive, in-kind matching grants to cooperatives, producers, input supply professionals, and processors throughout the cocoa value chain, which complements research and adoption of improved productivity and post-harvest handling practices;
  6. Developing Agro-dealers & Input Suppliers: MOCA trains and establishes a network of “spray-service professionals” (SSPs) who provide affordable, fee-based services facilitated by cooperatives for other producers;
  7. Training on Improved Production Techniques: MOCA develops and leads a pilot program to regenerate plantations for cocoa producers (individuals) in the cocoa belt region, prioritizing applications from women and youth;
  8. Facilitate Buyer-Seller Relationships: The project improves market access by targeting support to unorganized farmers, associations, and cooperatives that do not currently have formal relationships with exporters and facilitate linkages with reputable cocoa processors and buyers.

Partners:

  1. SOCODEVI

Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestle Maize Quality Improvement Partnership

Posted On: Filed Under:

Overview:

The Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestlé Maize Quality Improvement Partnership (M-QIP) (2017-2020) enhances the quality and safety of maize and soybeans available to Nestlé’s food processing factories while supporting USAID’s goals of revitalizing Nigeria’s agriculture sector and improving nutrition along these cereal value chains. The partnership will utilize a “whole-of-supply-chain” approach to enhance the quality, safety, and transparency of the Nestlé supply chain.

Program Approach:

  1. Capacity Building of Smallholder Farmer Suppliers: To catalyze better conduct and performance in the maize and soybean value chains in Kaduna State, our activities focus on the three main stakeholder groups within the supply chains: smallholder farmers, intermediaries, and input retailers;
  2. Capacity Building of Local Organizations: With the support of the Nigeria Youth Service Corps program and local extension agents, M-QIP catalogs and maps the many associations and cooperatives that play a role in improving the yield and product quality of smallholder farmers in the maize and soybean growing regions and along market routes, specifically near Nestlé’s current sourcing areas and storage networks. Through this process, CNFA kick-starts and sustains engagement with the M-QIP program with all stakeholders, including Nestlé corporate employees, farmers’ associations, government extension service providers, and community leaders.

Partners:

  1. Purdue University