Farmer-to-Farmer: Southern Africa & Moldova

Farmer-to-Farmer: Southern Africa & Moldova

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Overview:

The USAID John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program (2018-2023) is implemented by CNFA in Southern Africa (Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe) and the Eastern European country of Moldova. 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.

The Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program 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.

Volunteers:

CNFA recruits highly trained, exceptionally qualified volunteers — with years of experience in their respective fields — who offer their time and energy to provide 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 analyzed to identify critical leverage points for widespread improvements in incomes and food security through our volunteer technical assignments.

  1. Increase Agricultural Sector Market-Driven Productivity and Profitability: CNFA promotes the adoption of innovative agricultural techniques and technologies, and supports 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 also focuses on efforts to control Fall Armyworm, a significant pest of diverse crops in Africa, and to mitigate 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 partners with government and private sector stakeholders.

Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity

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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 (MOCA)

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Overview:

Côte D’Ivoire’s cocoa sector is valued at $4 billion annually. As the country’s number-one export and foreign exchange earner, it also represents more than 40% of the world’s cocoa supply. As a whole, the crop contributes to roughly 15 percent of the West African nation’s GDP.

Earnings from the cultivation and sale of cocoa support 5 million people in Côte d’Ivoire, including an estimated 1 million smallholder farmers and their families. On average, these are producers who live on less than $2.00 per day and grow cocoa on small plots of between 2-5 hectares with low or declining productivity.

These smallholder cocoa farmers have limited capacity to increase the amount of quality beans they can sell, which would otherwise be a viable means of increasing their incomes and improving their livelihoods. This is of great concern to the Government of Côte D’Ivoire, which is engaged in its own efforts to strengthen the country-wide capacity to meet rising global demand and improve domestic processing operations. The Government currently maintains a goal of keeping 50% of cocoa processing in-country.

To support the cocoa sector in addressing these and other challenges, CNFA is implementing the three-year Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity (MOCA).

This $14.6 million United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food for Progress activity focuses on increasing the productivity and efficiency of actors in the cocoa value chain. It also seeks to expand the trade of cocoa and cocoa products by improving the quality of crops on existing Government-designated farmland, all towards boosting farmer incomes from these high-value commodities.

Program Approach:

MOCA increases the productivity and efficiency of actors in the cocoa value chain by strengthening the capacity of producers, cooperatives/producer groups, input suppliers, and processors of cocoa.

Activities to improve and expand the trade of cocoa and cocoa products focus on reducing losses during production, harvest, and post-harvest by improving access to quality inputs and services; enhancing production, harvest, and post-harvest handling techniques; strengthening market linkages; and facilitating access to finance and financial services for producers and cooperatives to more adequately meet existing market opportunities.

These activities occur primarily in the cocoa belt regions of Côte d’Ivoire, where MOCA worked with 24 cooperatives and 9,000 producers, input service providers, local processors, financial service providers, exporters, and U.S.-based chocolatiers.

  1. Supporting Producer Groups & Cooperatives: MOCA supported farmer cooperatives in areas such as cooperative governance, general and financial management practices and systems, human resources management, access to finance, service delivery, external relations with input and service suppliers and buyers, gender integration, and sustainability.
  2. Working with Government & Institutions: MOCA closely coordinated its activities with the Conseil Café et Cacao (CCC) and used Côte d’Ivoire’s Agence Nationale d’Appui au Développement Rural (ANADER) and Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA) expertise to provide services to farmers and cooperatives.
  3. Providing Business Development Services (BDS): MOCA delivered BDS support to over 30 cocoa entrepreneurs and cooperatives in rural and urban areas in business planning, market linkages, capacity building, environmental awareness, and the establishment of businesses and business infrastructure.
  4. Facilitating Agricultural Lending: The Activity partnered with six banks, micro-finance institutions (MFIs) and financial service providers to increase over 3,500 producers’  access to and benefit from the use of mobile money, insurances, and credit services, and pilot new financial services such as crop insurance.
  5. Providing In-Kind Grants for Equipment and Inputs: MOCA awarded 12 in-kind grants valued at $350,000 to entrepreneurs and cooperatives throughout the cocoa value chain in the form of agricultural inputs and equipment.
  6. Developing Agrodealers & Input Suppliers: In collaboration with OLAM, the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Jacobs Foundation, MOCA established five “spray-service professionals’ units” (SSPUs). These SSPU’s provide 125 mostly male rural youth an opportunity to engage in cocoa service provision. They also provide affordable fee-based services, facilitated by cooperatives, for other producers. MOCA also established a network of Farm Service Centers (FSCs) in partnership with Callivoire/UPL. These FSCs improve smallholder access to quality inputs and equipment in MOCA’s zones of intervention and further develop collaboration between producers and agrodealers through the provision of improved training and training spaces by these input suppliers.
  7. Training on Improved Production Techniques: MOCA provided training and pruning tools to 9,000 producers through a network of 170 lead farmers from over 20 supported cooperatives with the objective of increasing production and reducing losses due to Black Pod Disease. MOCA also worked in close collaboration with Guittard Chocolate and producers from two cooperatives to produce quality flavor cacao. The first container of quality flavor cacao beans resulting from this initiative was exported in February 2021.
  8. Facilitating Market Relationships: The Activity partnered with the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) to increase awareness around quality flavor cacao opportunities in Cote d’Ivoire. MOCA also supported the ambitions of two cooperatives to access new market parties and directly export.

Partners:

  1. SOCODEVI

Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestle Maize Quality Improvement Partnership

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Overview:

The Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestlé Maize Quality Improvement Partnership (M-QIP) (2017-2020) enhanced 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 utilized 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 focused 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 cataloged and mapped 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-started and sustained 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

Feed the Future Guinea Strengthening Agriculture Value Chains and Youth

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Overview:

The CNFA-implemented Feed the Future Strengthening Agriculture Value Chains and Youth (SAVY) Program (2016-2021) aims to facilitate improved access to agricultural inputs, credit tools, and market information along the rice, horticulture, and livestock value chains in Guinea.

Program Approach:

The SAVY program falls under the Guinea Agricultural Services (GAS) project, funded by USAID and in partnership with six international NGOs focused on animal health promotion and animal disease outbreak mitigation, financial inclusion, and market facilitation. These three intervention areas have one major cross-cutting activity, the Apprentissage en Vulgarisation, Entreprenariat et Innovation Rurale (Apprenticeship in Extension, Entrepreneurism, and Rural Innovation- AVENIR) program, which aims to engage up to 320 entrepreneurial and ambitious young men and women, and provides the training, mentoring, and work experience needed to become successful entrepreneurs and change agents in a competitive agricultural sector.

  1. Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD): CNFA collaborates with the Strengthening Market-led Agricultural Research, Technology, and Education (SMARTE) program implemented by Winrock International (Winrock) to implement the AVENIR program.
  2. A Focus on Private Sector Engagement and Entrepreneurship: SAVY activities aim to increase positive risk-taking, the use of mobile money, and access to and use of affordable credit tools to facilitate new market linkages.
  3. Women’s Empowerment: SAVY activities facilitate opportunities for women in the horticulture and livestock value chains, and in processing and marketing activities. The project works to mitigate constraints faced by women and female youth, such as limited access to and understanding of credit, heavier work burdens, and limited ability to make decisions about agricultural production, expenditures, and division of land parcels.

Partners:

  1. Strengthening Market-led Agricultural Research, Technology, and Education (SMARTE) program implemented by Winrock International (Winrock International)
  2. World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO)
  3. Enclude Inc.

Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity

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Overview:

In Liberia, CNFA has implemented the Feed the Future Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA) (2015-2020), funded by USAID. LADA aims to increase incomes of smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs throughout Liberia to expand access to and use of agricultural inputs, improve post-harvest handling activities, and streamline high-potential agricultural value chains.

Program Approach:

  1. Linking Markets Through Private Sector Engagement: LADA uses a results-driven and sustainability approach to increase private sector investment in agricultural input systems, post-harvest handling, transport, and processing activities, and to strengthen the market environment with information, advocacy, and support;
  1. Training and Capacity Building: LADA has established 24 different aggregation clusters across the country to select appropriate agribusinesses, sustainable and transparent cooperatives, and has established agro-dealers to provide specialized trainings and certifications;
  2. Financial Management: LADA manages a credit guarantee facility to catalyze the extension of credit to agro-dealers by supply companies and financial institutions to mitigate the high risk associated with agricultural lending. Another financial tool, the Agribusiness Investment Network (AIN), is housed in BSC Monrovia in order to provide a platform through which agricultural and agribusiness agents, NGOs, and financial institutions can interact;
  3. Increasing Access to Market Information and Digital Financial Services: Enclude, a CNFA partner, is exploring the development of a DFS product portfolio, delivery channels, and risk management mechanisms for LADA. This technology will allow smallholders to make better-informed decisions for production, processing, and marketing processes through value chain gap analyses;
  4. Youth, Gender and Social Capital: LADA targets youth in the project’s agro-dealer development interventions and will link smallholder farming youth groups to aggregators and buyers. CNFA also employs a full-time Gender Specialist who maps gender roles and decision-making power within the targeted value chains, ascertains gender roles, and examines issues related to women’s time, workloads, access to information, and control over resources.

Partners:

  1. Enclude
  2. Business Start-Up Center Monrovia’s network
  3. The Global Cold Chain Alliance

Georgia Hazelnut Improvement Project

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Overview:

The Georgia Hazelnut Improvement Project (G-HIP) is a five-year project (2015-2020) funded and implemented by the Global Development Alliance (GDA) (USAID, Ferrero, and CNFA) to increase the sustainable capacity and private sector development of the hazelnut industry in Georgia.

Hazelnuts represent Georgia’s largest agricultural export by value and support the livelihoods of more than 50,000 growers and processors, but due to inconsistent quality and lack of market distinction, Georgian hazelnuts often sell at lower prices. The Alliance will transform and streamline the hazelnut value chain to improve the quality of Georgian hazelnuts.

Program Approach:

  1. Capacity Building and Association Development: G-HIP provides training to beneficiaries such as the Georgian Hazelnut Growers Association (GHGA) and the Hazelnut Exporters and Processors Association (HEPA) to strengthen the capacity of the existing drying and storage infrastructure and maximize impact in the sector;
  2. Increased Productivity and Competitiveness: G-HIP implements activities to mitigate inefficient value chain dynamics, including the introduction of a post-harvest quality incentive system, technology upgrades to post-harvest infrastructure, and improved access to finance for value chain stakeholders;
  3. Infrastructure Development and Marketing: To expand export marketing opportunities for Georgian hazelnuts, GHGA initiates efforts to improve traceability and widen the use of soil testing to enhance hazelnut quality along the value chain.

New Cash Market for Fruit and Vegetable Growers

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The Georgian horticulture sector has significant untapped potential for growth that has been validated by a rapidly increasing export rate in the last few years. Official statistics for stone fruit exports in 2014 show an increase of 108% ($3MM) compared to 2013. Georgia has made increasing agricultural exports a strategic priority and identified the overall availability of effective postharvest activities as a key indicator of success. Given this reality, USAID’s REAP program awarded matching grants to 13 emerging agribusinesses to install modern refrigerated cold storage systems for fruits and vegetables.

Established in 2012, Georgian Fruit Company’s (GFC) initial business activities involved renting warehouses in different regions of Georgia to consolidate produce from local farmers for export. Utilizing a REAP grant and favorable loan terms from the Agricultural Projects Management Agency (APMA), GFC installed a new 400 m3 refrigerated cold storage unit with modern packing and boxing mechanisms in the Gurjaani district of eastern Georgia.

Additionally, a new calibration machine that sorts fruits by color and size provided further incentive for local farmers to work with GFC and the company’s modern agricultural technologies to increase their productivity and sales.

In the first half of 2015, tangerine, apple, and cucumber exports to Ukraine and Russia have increased by 50%, totaling 280 tons. Currently, GFC is working with more than 100 peach and nectarine farmers in Kakheti to meet an export demand of more than 1,500 tons from their various international partners.

West Africa Seed Alliance

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Overview:

Access to inputs such as improved seed varieties, fertilizer, and crop protection products are imperative to the transformation of the agricultural sector. The Seeds Project, part of the West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA), was created to transform West African agriculture from subsistence farming to profitable, self-sustaining, and competitive commercial agriculture. CNFA implemented the five-year project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), with partners The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and Iowa State University. The project sought to modernize seed distribution systems, facilitate smallholder farmer access to improved seed varieties, improve seed production technologies, and strengthen links to credit and markets. The Seeds Project strengthened West Africa’s seed system across Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Senegal.

Program Approach:

  • Advanced the development and implementation of national seed laws and regulations;
  • Created and strengthened private seed enterprises;
  • Provided business management and technical trainings;
  • Produced foundation for certified seed and make available for distribution;
  • Conducted seed variety trials for cereals and vegetables.

Business Management Training: The Agro-dealer Business Training Program built the business capacity of local seed company managers through training on business planning, supply chain management, and marketing. The six-module training model included: managing working capital, managing stocks, costing and pricing, selling and marketing, record keeping, and managing business relationships.

Agricultural Productivity: The WASA program worked with local institutions to build agricultural potential in specific focus areas. Bringing improved access to input supplies, availability of technology and technology transfer to farmers, and increased access to credit for rural smallholders, the program made significant impacts on production practices throughout WASA countries. Field days were an effective medium in spreading awareness of improved farming methods. With participants spanning from local farmers and agro-dealers to government officials and major supply companies, the input systems in target countries saw marked improvement.

Seed and Input Supply systems: WASA aimed to develop viable agricultural inputs systems and support the overall growth of the West Africa agricultural sector by creating a sustainable commercial seed industry that provides small-scale farmers with affordable, timely, and reliable access to high quality seeds and planting materials. In cooperation with input supply companies, WASA organized demonstration plots and farmer field days to enhance awareness about new products and technologies.

Technical Training: CNFA worked through input-supply companies and commercial trainers to build capacity on safe usage and handling of products. To complement these trainings, WASA also organized demonstration plots and farmer field days to enhance awareness about new products and technologies. Field demos provided an excellent educational tool to teach both agro-dealers and farmers about new varieties and correct herbicide and fertilizer application.

Output Marketing: WASA linked agro-dealers and farmer producer groups to commodity traders and crop processors to create market pull for farmer production, and assisted seed companies and associations in establishing seed marketing strategies.