Farmer-to-Farmer: East Africa

Farmer-to-Farmer: East Africa

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Overview:

The five-year John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer program in East Africa, funded through USAID, focused on select agricultural value chains, identifying needs at every level from production to marketing.

From 2009 to 2014, CNFA sent over 320 volunteers to Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and a limited number of volunteers to Rwanda. CNFA is proud of the hard work put forth by volunteers and field staff to make the program a success.

Program Approach:

CNFA relies heavily on the expertise of U.S. volunteers from diverse backgrounds to respond to the needs of host country farmers and organizations. Our volunteers are experts in their fields and represent all ages and industries. They are farmers, bankers, professors, civil servants, and active and retired business people. The assignments, ranging from two-to-four-week long projects, vary in scope, from training associated service providers and agribusinesses in financial management to marketing, cooperative development, agricultural production, post-harvest and processing technologies, international quality standards, and rural finance.

Zaytun

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Overview:

CNFA implemented the two-year, $3.2 million Zaytun Project to strengthen strategic components of the table olive and olive oil value chains in the regions of Nubaria and Matrouh through the delivery of targeted technical assistance to small and medium Egyptian olive processors and training with complimentary grants-matching assistance to smallholder olive farmers.

Working with local partners like the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI) and the Egyptian Olive Council, the Zaytun Project addressed short-term problems that olive producers and processors face, while simultaneously laying the groundwork for long-term, sustainable development. In collaboration with these partners, CNFA designed a strong, value-chain-based program that strengthened production and post-harvest practices of olive farmers, delivered technical assistance and training to small and medium-sized table olive oil and olive oil processors, and facilitated business linkages between supported olive grower’s associations and processors. Through various policy initiatives, the Zaytun Project increased expansion into higher-value export markets and improved the reputation and image of the Egyptian olive industry.

The Zaytun Project also brought Egyptian olive oil to the international stage. In collaboration with the Chamber of Food Industry, the Zaytun Project developed an olive industry website to increase exposure of the Egyptian olive sector. The success of project-sponsored processors at an international olive oil competition marked an important step in establishing the reputation of Egyptian olive oil internationally, as well as introducing a new identity of Egyptian olive oil on the international market. After this success in 2013, it is likely new categories will be created for North African olive oils in next year’s competition.

Program Approach:

  • Strengthened smallholder olive producers through assistance to improve their production practices and post-harvest handling, and organized them into viable growers associations;
  • Strengthened olive processors through technical assistance to improve quality and engaged in value addition that led to increased exports, profits and employment;
  • Facilitated producer-processor linkages through the creation of direct linkages between growers and processors, resulting in improved olive supply, strengthened commercial relations and increased sales and incomes for producers and processors.

Strengthened Producers: The Zaytun Project orchestrated intensive training, technical assistance, association development, and study tour activities to educate olive producers on best practice techniques. The core training activity was a Farm Field School (FFS) training program, where a tiered design allowed the lessons of a few technical specialists to reach thousands of olive farmers. The Project compiled a manual in Arabic and English to ensure these experts could carry lessons into future training programs. Additionally, the Zaytun Project awarded four 1:1 grants to farmers’ associations that resulted in the creation and upgrade of several micro-processing units for pickling olives, as well as the funding for two composting projects. Finally, the Zaytun Project facilitated a study tour in Italy to further strengthen farm management and collective marketing of olives.

Strengthened Processors: After an intensive selection phase, the Zaytun Project chose 15 processor companies to participate in a series of technical assistance, training, and trade show activities. Two international experts served as consultants for these processors and directly addressed the individual obstacles facing each business. An additional marketing consultant was hired to assess production and marketing of olive products, provide marketing advice, and collect oil samples for entrance into an international competition. The Zaytun Project compiled a manual to ensure the advice of the consultants could be preserved and easily distributed and a supplementary training session on agro-finance was organized with four Egyptian banks that resulted in the creation of the first working capital loan projects for the olive sector in the country. Through targeted training and technical assistance, the Zaytun Project fortified the techniques and opportunities of Egyptian olive processing companies.

Strengthened Market Linkages: The Zaytun Project hosted a total of four market linkage workshops to bring together olive producers and processors. CNFA worked directly with producer and processor representatives, with the objective of facilitating business linkages between Egyptian olive farmers and processors.

Rural Economic Development in Southern Regions of Georgia

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The Rural Economic Development Program (RED) for the Southern Regions of Georgia was a joint Danish-Swiss project that aimed to contribute to the economic growth of the agriculture sector and reduce poverty in the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions. The four-year, $11.5 million Rural Economic Development Program focused on three main initiatives: increased productivity and profitability of seed and ware potato producers; increased productivity and profitability of commercial dairies, milk, and beef producers; and private investment in the potato, dairy, and livestock value chains.

Program Approach:

  • Advised and provided guidance on production and marketing of seed and ware potatoes;
  • Advised and provided guidance on production and marketing of quality of raw milk and other dairy products;
  • Stimulated direct private investment in project targeted activities using two financing mechanisms: a secured lending facility and a co-investment fund.

The impact of the RED program on smallholder farmers and agricultural enterprises involved in the target regions was substantial. With the tailor-made Technical Assistance and increased private investment in the potato and dairy/livestock value chains, targeted value chain actors – including farmers – reached higher productivity and improved incomes, in turn leading to economic growth of the region.

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.

Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production

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Overview:

The USAID/Georgia Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production (REAP) project (2013-2018) was an enterprise development program that increased income and employment in rural areas by delivering firm-level investment and tailored technical assistance to Georgian agribusinesses. Since October 2013, REAP increased private investment and commercial finance in the agriculture sector by $37.5 million, mitigated risks for rural agribusinesses, upgraded farmers’ agricultural and technical skills, and expanded commercially sustainable linkages between service providers, producers, and processors.

Program Approach:

  1. SME Development in the Agriculture Sector: By utilizing its $6 million grant fund, REAP has partnered with 70 agribusinesses to launch profit centers that provide input supply, services, technical trainings, and commercial markets to smallholders. REAP’s investment portfolio, consisting primarily of Farm Service Centers (FSCs) and Machinery Service Centers (MSCs), created over 2,000 new rural jobs, provided over $18 million in new cash markets, trained over 200,000 smallholders, and generated new gross sales of over $182 million.
  2. Technical Assistance Program: To ensure the sustainability of REAP investments and bolster the capacity of Georgia’s agriculture sector, the project worked closely with its partners to deliver demand-driven, customized technical assistance in collaboration with the private sector to improve competitiveness, increase sales, and foster professional development. REAP also supported non-grantees — enterprises that did not meet the competitive benchmarks to receive matching grants — by providing capacity-building consulting through local BSPs and International STTA on a 50-50 cost-shared basis to increase access to funding.
  3. Gender: REAP ensured inclusive enterprise development and involved men, women, and youth in its activities. All C1 grant applicants were required to present a gender integration strategy as part of their proposals. REAP expects at least 15% of grantees and 25% of trainees to be women.
  4. Access to Finance: REAP stimulated affordable financing by working with both financial institutions and agribusinesses, providing technical assistance to improve supply and demand. Through business plans, agriculture lending strategies, and training for loan officers, REAP increased the volume of lending to the agriculture sector.
  5. Workforce Development: REAP had a robust internship program that allowed over 120 students to work in fields that support REAP’s implementation, including administration and finance, monitoring and evaluation, environment, access to finance, and technical assistance. REAP also offered 11 research grants for students committed to addressing constraints faced in Georgia’s agriculture sector, including an additional nine who focused on Brown Marmorated Stinkbug (BMSB) research.
  6. Environment: All grant applicants were visited by REAP’s Environmental Specialist and provided with environmental review checklists and guidance on environmental compliance.

Farmer-to-Farmer: Southern Africa

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CNFA implemented the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program in Southern Africa starting in 2008. From 2008-2018, CNFA’s F2F operated in the countries of Angola, Malawi, and Mozambique and aimed to generate rapid, sustained economic growth in the agricultural sector through short-term technical assistance provided by expert U.S. volunteers, including farmers, bankers, professors, civil servants, and active and retired business people. Lasting two-to-four weeks, volunteer assignments focused on a range of topics, from training farmers’ associations in improved production techniques to teaching cooperatives better financial management and marketing.

CNFA volunteers were guided and supported by our highly trained home and local staff. Through the storytelling of returned volunteers, F2F increased the broader American public’s understanding of international development issues and the critical importance of U.S. development programs.

Program Approach:

Since 2008, CNFA worked with agribusinesses, extension agencies, cooperatives, and farmers to provide expertise on topics including crop production, post-harvest handling and marketing of seeds, cooperative and association development, business plan development, communications and marketing support, and financial management.

  1. Increased Agricultural Sector Productivity and Profitability: CNFA’s approach focused on increasing smallholder productivity and profitability by targeting high-potential value chains in each target country;
  2. Improved Conservation and Sustainable Use of Environmental and Natural Resources: CNFA balanced increased agricultural productivity with improved conservation and sustainable resource use. Examples of volunteer roles include: water management, integrated pest management (IPM), and integrated soil fertility management;
  3. Expanded Agricultural Sector Access to Financial Services: CNFA linked smallholder farmer organizations and SMEs with credit via appropriate channels, including micro-finance institutions, banks, supplier credit, leasing, equity investment, and blended capital from investors;
  4. Strengthened Agricultural Sector Institutions: CNFA strengthened farmer organizations, including cooperatives and associations, local NGOs, industry associations that support improved input supply, and agricultural universities.

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.

U.S.-Pakistan Partnership for Agricultural Market Development

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Overview:

The U.S.-Pakistan Partnership for Agricultural Market Development (AMD) activity in Pakistan was a USAID-funded program (2014-2019) implemented by CNFA with the goal of supporting the development of Pakistan’s commercial agriculture and livestock sectors. AMD aimed to improve Pakistan’s ability to meet both international and domestic demand and efficiency requirements as well as increase competitiveness through private sector engagement.

Program Approach:

  1. Increase Competitiveness of Targeted Product Lines: Through the adoption of improved production, marketing, and business organization management practices, AMD facilitated increased demand in citrus, mango, high-value off-season vegetables, and livestock product lines;
  2. Improve Market Linkages and Develop Institutional Capacity: AMD worked with processors, traders, retailers, and ancillary service providers that supported the targeted product lines;
  3. Engage with Private Sector: Through targeted training, matching grants, and technical assistance, AMD leveraged private sector investment and encouraged innovation.