PRO-Cashew Training Increases Farmer Incomes

PRO-Cashew Training Increases Farmer Incomes

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Sumaila Edibo is a cashew farmer living in Iyale, a settlement in the Kogi state in central Nigeria. Since Edibo’s two-ha cashew farm provides his family with their primary livelihood and source of income, he decided to partner with the USDA Food for Progress-funded West Africa PRO-Cashew Project in 2021 to learn how he could improve his business skills, agronomic practices and harvest and post-harvest handling to increase his farm’s productivity and revenue.

Edibo participated in all of the trainings organized by PRO-Cashew in Nigeria where he learned best practices for weeding, timely pest management and disease control and harvest and post-harvest handling. He also learned how to collect and analyze relevant market information from buyers like Sonata Agri International, a local agro-processor, to improve farm-level decision-making and take advantage of market opportunities.

After Edibo applied these improved practices on his orchard, the productivity of his farm significantly increased. Edibo recounted that in 2021, before his participation in the training program, his farm yield was approximately 960 kg per ha, for which he earned $960 (NGN 420,000). In 2022, however, his farm yield increased by about 25% to 1,200 kg per ha. As a result of his farm’s increased output and the better prices he began receiving for his products through his partnership with Sonata Agri International, Edibo recorded an annual income of $1,710 (NGN750,000)—a 79% increase over the previous year.

Sumaila Edibo purchased a motorcycle to haul goods with his increased cashew earnings.

Edibo explained how the training program has benefitted farmers across Iyale, highlighting that the majority of local trainees have embarked on different projects throughout the community, such as building houses, launching new businesses, digging boreholes and installing grinding machines, with the additional revenue they acquired from the sale of cashew nuts. Edibo himself used his additional income to purchase a three-wheeled motorcycle with a trailer for hauling goods. This has enabled him to provide rural logistical services to farmers within and beyond his community, further increasing his earnings. Following the advice of a Sonata Agri International extension officer who provided training in partnership with PRO-Cashew in 2022, Edibo also saved $1,256 (NGN 550,000) of his cashew nut sales, which he used to sustain his family during the cashew off-season.

When asked about the impact of the training program on his livelihood, Edibo said, “Before participating in the project, transporting harvested goods from me and my friends’ farms was always a major challenge. We had to walk long distances, sometimes above three kilometers from our farms to our homes with heavy loads on our heads.”

Edibo plans to expand his farm to three hectares in 2023 using the new improved seedlings that the PRO-Cashew Project is distributing to farmers and nurseries. Next year, Edibo also hopes to help his wife start a small grocery business in the community.

Improving Post-Harvest Practices to Increase Cashew Farmers Income

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Salifa Yahaya is a farmer from Labaka-Oja, a small settlement in the Kwara State of Nigeria, where about 80% of the residents are cashew farmers. Despite the region’s climate and soil conditions being apt for farming raw cashew nuts, local producers face other issues that hinder their operations. More specifically, unfavorable market conditions as well as a lack of technology make it difficult to harvest large yields and produce high-quality cashew nuts to sell for higher prices. Despite managing a relatively large farm of 11 ha, this affected Yahaya.

To address these barriers, the USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew Project (PRO-Cashew) collaborated with Sonata Nigeria formerly known as Huxley Nigeria, a company specializing in the processing and exporting of raw cashew nuts, to host a series of training sessions—one of which Yahaya attended. In this training, Yahaya and other local farmers learned new harvest and post-harvest practices to implement on their farms to produce better results. They were also trained in business operating techniques to make the most out of their improved cashew yields.

“I never thought I could get so much more money just by drying my cashew nuts,” she said. “I also never believed in keeping those little farm records and consistently saving small amounts of money until Sonata Nigeria trained us. I am so grateful I didn’t miss out.”

Applying the tools and trainings received from PRO-Cashew enabled Salifa Yahaya to diversify her income.

In the previous harvesting season, Yahaya was only able to collect 3.5 MT of raw cashew nuts due to many parts of her farm being inaccessible from orchard overgrowth. Applying pruning and management practices from the Sonata Nigeria training, Yahaya was able to improve her orchard’s conditions and collect larger and higher quality yields. This harvest season, she collected about 5 MT of raw cashew nuts. By drying the nuts, Yahaya was able to increase the quality of her product even further and sell for a higher price than she would have if the nuts were wet, earning about 7% more than her peers.

Before participating in Sonata Nigeria’s training, Yahaya did not approach her cashew production as a business, but rather as means to support just herself and her family. With a new business outlook, she now meticulously records production and sales figures, making it easier to re-invest into her enterprise and engage in other profitable activities. Yahaya also joined a savings group which allows her to allocate money toward other plans she may, following the recommendation of a Sonata Nigeria extension worker.

As part of the PRO-Cashew Agricultural Extension Grant program’s objective of establishing stronger supply chain linkages between producers and exporters, a grant was provided to Sonata Nigeria to continue supporting raw cashew nut producers with agricultural extension services. The grant also aims to enhance the local processing company’s supply chain and open doors for producers to find more selling opportunities.

Partners Reap the Benefits from Farmer-to-Farmer and Innovation Lab Collaboration

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When two veteran USAID projects join forces, innovation and capacity building can happen at scale.  Between November 2021 and June 2022, the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program, implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) in Southern Africa and Moldova, and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut trained 3,636 farmers in groundnut production and aflatoxin control in Malawi (669), Mozambique (381), Zambia (1,254) and Zimbabwe (1,322). Of the trainees, 2,245 were women and 363 were youth.

This collaboration was built on the strengths of both parties. The F2F program has field offices in each of the four aforementioned countries—which they rely on to connect with large networks of development partners, including USAID Mission-funded projects—as well as the experience to organize trainings. The program recruits local volunteers who are connected with volunteers based in the U.S. to conduct trainings virtually, a newer F2F model that came about as an adaptation to COVID-19.

In contrast, the Peanut Innovation Lab has a deep expertise in groundnuts, an important food and cash crop particularly for women farmers in Southern Africa. It also has an increasing number of training tools available, including its recently launched Groundnut Academy—an online course that is free and easily accessible. The first module, on agronomy, came online in 2021 and the second, on aflatoxin, in 2022.

Conversations between the two organizations rapidly resulted in the development of a plan to achieve the greatest impact: F2F would recruit local volunteers from across Southern Africa who would then take Groundnut Academy courses online and train additional farmers. The initial training was done with technical support from U.S.-based F2F volunteer and Peanut Innovation Lab Deputy Director Jamie Rhoads, who was paired with local volunteers during the question and answer (Q&A) sessions at the Groundnut Academy. The volunteers also worked with Rhoads during the subsequent farmer trainings, which offered participants the opportunity to ask questions and share experiences with Rhoads and the local volunteers.

Collaboration initiated in October 2021 with the Groundnut Academy’s newly published Agronomy course, which focused on the next rainy season expected to start in November-December when farmers could put their learning into practice. From October-November, 18 farmer trainings were conducted in the four countries—eight in Malawi, two in Mozambique, seven in Zambia and one in Zimbabwe—covering all aspects of groundnut production from planting to crop management and harvest.

Groundnut Academy training in the Eastern Province of Zambia.

The enthusiasm expressed by the farmers and local volunteers led to further collaboration when the Aflatoxin course was published in 2022. This time, the trainings were held just before groundnut harvests, so that farmers could learn ways to reduce aflatoxin during the upcoming harvest and storage period. From May-June, an additional 39 trainings were conducted, of which 14 were in Zimbabwe, 10 each in Malawi and Zambia, and five in Mozambique.

Farmers attended the trainings in numbers that went far beyond those expected and were quick to start adopting the practices taught by F2F. In Zimbabwe, F2F partner and field officer for the USAID-funded Fostering Agribusiness for Resilient Markets (FARM) project Rudo Mushangwe stated, “Farmers adopted early ploughing and purchased seed dressing, which they learned about during the trainings. So far, 150 of the farmers from two wards plan to dress their seeds for the first time in their lives.”

While learning to produce more of the important food staple and increasingly important cash crop, farmers also gained an important understanding of aflatoxin mitigation. Leya Lungu, a 34-year-old farmer and training participant from Nyachilala Cooperative in Zambia’s Petauke district in Eastern Province, reflected on the knowledge she gained during the aflatoxin training saying, “One thing I did not know that I learned was the causes of aflatoxin and its long-term effects on human health if consumed. As a family, we always selected the bad groundnuts for consumption and sold the good ones. It is interesting that as producers, we consumed the harmful ones ourselves and sold the good quality groundnuts to people who did not even produce them.”

Chomba Mubanga, 29, a local volunteer and Technical Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture in Chipata District in Zambia’s Eastern Province, echoed the importance of learning about aflatoxin saying, “For me what stood out most was the fact that I got to learn more about the impacts of aflatoxin as I had very little knowledge about it before and did not know that it was toxic. I also learned that aflatoxins are actually odorless and tasteless. This was new to me because each time I ate a groundnut which tasted bitter, I mistakenly associated that with aflatoxins.”

In all, 30 local volunteers took the Groundnut Academy’s agronomy and aflatoxin courses and received certificates recognizing their achievement. Additionally, Jamie Rhoads and the 30 local volunteers were recognized by CNFA’s F2F program as Volunteers of the Year for their dedication to the assignments and their efforts to improve groundnut production and aflatoxin mitigation.

Inonge Simalumba, 33, a local volunteer and Camp Extension Officer at Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture, stated, “I enjoyed the whole process, the training, the Q&A with Jamie Rhoads and the interaction with volunteers from Zambia and Malawi. It showed that the challenges we face with farmers were similar, so sharing our experiences was helpful. With the information we got from the Peanut Innovation Lab, it was also very easy to train farmers. We were confident that whatever issues the farmers would bring up, we would get a response. My biggest take away was that I could access all the materials I needed for future trainings from the Groundnut Academy website.”

Some of the local volunteers even went beyond training farmers on agronomy. For example, Mugove Gora from Zimbabwe helped farmers belonging to the Murwira Association in the Bikita District of Masvingo Province to revive their commodity group which had been abandoned during COVID-19. They were assisted to develop a budget and purchase seeds for the 2022-2023 rainy season. In Zambia’s Eastern Province, local volunteers Chomba Mubanga and Emmanuel Phiri facilitated a linkage between farmers and an agrodealer so that they could access quality inputs on credit. As a result, 64 farmers in Petauke District accessed improved groundnut seeds and fertilizers from Rimbecks Agro Hardware and General Dealers to increase production and improve the quality of their produce.

Additionally, several USAID-funded projects participated in the trainings as partners, particularly in Zimbabwe where the Fostering Agribusiness for Resilient Markets (FARM) project facilitated trainings on aflatoxin mitigation with 14 farmer groups. FARM field officer Harmony Marwa reflected on the importance of the trainings in the Zimbabwean context stating, “Peanut production in the smallholder sector has been on a steady decline as processers have raised concerns about the high aflatoxin levels present in local crops. The training is the first step in reviving this important value chain so that farmers can meet stringent quality requirements. The 14 groups are looking forward to having better quality produce this season.”

Similarly, Rhoads reflected on the Peanut Innovation Lab’s role in the trainings saying, “The Peanut Innovation Lab was excited to find an innovative way to partner with the F2F Program in Southern Africa through the Groundnut Academy. Working directly with the volunteers has been a great way to get immediate feedback on the content of the courses. It also helped us expand the reach of our extension tools like using animations and infographics from . In some cases, we’ve even identified areas of needed research directly from farmers who are looking for answers to challenges we hadn’t considered.”

With the clear benefits to all involved, collaboration between the Southern Africa F2F and the Peanut Innovation Lab will continue during the 2022-2023 rainy season, increasing its scale and impact to farmers along the way.

 

 

 

USAID Yalwa Supports Nigerien Entrepreneur to Turn Volunteering into A Successful Business

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Rahila Ali, a 35-year-old mother of five, has been a participant of the Feed the Future-funded USAID Yalwa Activity since 2019. A resident of the village of Kotaré in the Maradi region of Niger, Mrs. Ali took an interest in initiating income generating activities (IGAs) to support her community and help generate income for her family after her second pregnancy. In addition to her IGAs, Mrs. Ali has often volunteered to support projects in her locality. According to the chief of her village, “her patience and her developed interpersonal skills made her the ideal choice to support activities in our locality.” She has so far been an instructor for youth learning machine sewing and manual knitting, and a facilitator in awareness activities on sexual health for girls in her community.

Mrs. Ali, a participant of USAID Yalwa’s Women’s Self-Development and Empowerment training. Mrs. Ali has turned several of her volunteer activities into income-generating activities to further support herself and her family.

Mrs. Ali’s first IGA focused on weaving and selling children’s hats and outfits. She later invested in small ruminant breeding with one goat that she was able to buy with her savings. Benefiting from the diversity of her interventions with her peers, whose trust she had gained, Mrs. Ali invited her colleagues to set up a tontine- loan plan to support members and fund their initiatives. Mrs. Ali also helped create a cooperative with about 40 members, primarily women, called MISECO. The cooperative received training on millet, cowpea, sorghum and peanut production techniques and was provided seeds for cultivation. They produced crops for three years and participated in group sales, including to institutions such as the World Food Programme.

Mrs. Ali also participated in USAID Yalwa’s Women’s Self-Development and Empowerment training which allowed her to grow, share her experience and skills in farming and develop a personal action plan to strengthen her IGAs and increase her income. Mrs. Ali initially expanded her sheep and goat rearing activity, using the “Habanayé” model, where she rotated three goats to other women so that they could collect the kids. In this model, the first lamb is for the beneficiary women, and the second is reserved for Mrs. Ali, allowing the women to build up their herd while Mrs. Ali expands her own. She then invested in purchasing a grain mill which generated about $3 (2,000 FCFA) per day. The income from the activities developed with support from USAID Yalwa also allowed Mrs. Ali to strengthen her economic autonomy by diversifying her investments, such as developing her women and children’s clothing and accessory business with $72 (45,000 FCFA) of start-up capital, which she was able to increase to $643 (400,000 FCFA).

The profits from Mrs. Ali’s business also enabled her to buy a piece of land for $1,124 (700,000 FCFA) and to build a store with permanent materials for her goods for $1,044 (650,000 FCFA). Additionally, she highlighted that her IGAs helped her with “more ease to provide for the needs of my family, my parents and my community.” Indeed, Mrs. Ali recently financed the reconstruction of her father’s house with her funds and constructed a drinking water point that she made available to the neighboring women. Now, the women can get water for free, while Mrs. Ali collects used water and the bran from cereals and peanuts to feed her sheep—a sustainable solution for her business and for her community.

Collaboration with Local Credit Union Federation Improves Access to Credit for Producers in the Feed the Future RISE II Zone

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Access to finance is a major obstacle for rural producers who wish to invest in and strengthen their agribusinesses. Often, financial institutions consider agricultural sector financing to be highly risky and, as a result, offer few financial products to support smallholder producers.

To improve access to financing for cowpea, small ruminant and poultry value chain actors in the Centre-Nord, Est and Sahel regions of Burkina Faso, the Feed the Future-funded USAID Yidgiri activity signed a partnership protocol with the Network of Popular Credit Unions of Burkina (RCPB) in November 2020. The partnership with RCPB, which is present in each of the activity’s target regions and has many offices throughout the country, aims to build stronger relationships with producer organizations and ensure that farmers have improved access to credit.

In addition to strengthening access to finance, USAID Yidgiri collaborated with the USAID CATALYZE project’s financial facilitators to build the capacity of producers to apply for and receive funding. Together, they helped producer organizations develop and submit over 90 support plans, enabling them to negotiate their financing with the credit union network. To date, 14 cooperatives have received loans worth around $34,000 (approximately 18.75 million FCFA) to support their activities and grow their businesses.

The President of the Communal Union of Small Ruminant Producers of Boulsa, Sibdou Kabore, directing the animals to the sheepfold.

The communal union of small ruminant producers of Boulsa, chaired by Sibdou Kabore, was among those that received a credit loan. The union’s 12 women producers received around $7,500 (approximately 4.9 million FCFA) to conduct small ruminant fattening activities, which enabled them to acquire 96 sheep and feed for their livestock. With their first wave of fattened animals, they sold 34 sheep to local traders and delicatessens for a total of around $4,000 (approximately 2.6 million FCFA). With their second wave of fattened animals, they were able to sell 50 fattened sheep during the Tabaski celebration for a total of around $8,000 (approximately 5.3 million FCFA). Through these sales, the women will repay their loan on time and already plan to sell a third wave of fattened sheep  during other national holidays and end of year celebrations.

Sibdou Kaboré, one of the union’s producers, described her appreciation for the activity and its support, enabling them to sustainably boost their business ventures. “Without the support of The Feed the Future-funded USAID Yidgiri activity, my cooperative could not have accessed such a large loan amount,” she said. “Thanks to the training received from USAID Yidgiri on small ruminant production techniques and the manufacture of livestock feed, we are able to carry out this lucrative activity properly.”

Increased access to finance is essential for producers like Kaboré to boost their agribusinesses and participate in key markets. By supporting initiatives that break down the barriers restricting producers, the local economy benefits—through the likes of new inputs, technology and businesses linkages—and the market system grows more resilient.

 

USAID Yidgiri Facilitates Cowpea Farmers’ Access to New Markets

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To increase access to markets for cowpea producers, platforms are needed to build linkages between stakeholders across the cowpea value chain. With greater access to a range of inputs, the production process is made smoother, enabling producers to generate more profit from their goods as a result of higher quality and quantities. In Burkina Faso, the Feed the Future-funded USAID Yidgiri activity supported the establishment of innovation platforms to help producers access new markets.

Innovation platforms are consultation frameworks that bring together stakeholders, such as cowpea producers, union leaders, input distributors and microfinance institutions to develop value chains, facilitating access to inputs and marketing. These are especially successful in connecting local producers with buyers.

Through an innovation platform meeting organized with the support of USAID Yidgiri in May 2022, the Provincial Union of Cooperatives of Cowpea Producers of Sanmatenga connected with Catholic Relief Services and agreed to deliver 84 tons of cowpea, worth a total of around $85,700 (approximately 57 million FCFA). By creating linkages like this in the cowpea supply chain, producer organizations can generate more resources for future agricultural campaigns and sell their products in higher quantity and quality.

Three members of the Provincial Union of Cowpea Producers of Sanmatenga stand in front of their cowpea stock.

Karfo Sawadogo, president of Wendkonta of Nagbingou, a communal union of simplified cooperatives, took part in one of these workshops. “I really appreciated this workshop because it allowed the groups present to get to know us better, to trust us and to help us reach a contract for the delivery of 50 tons of cowpeas at a price of approximately 706,000 FCFA per ton,” he said. This is the equivalent of $1,100 per ton.

For many union members, the innovation platforms are their first experience collaborating with international organizations, who typically offer a better price than what is offered on the market. “Thanks to this connection, we were able to quickly obtain a loan from Caisse Populaire to meet our expenses and respond to the call for tenders,” Sawadogo said.

Sawadogo expressed his appreciation for the workshops and hopes to attend more innovation platform meetings to continue building fruitful relationships that can improve the local cowpea value chain. In addition to supporting the cowpea value chain, USAID Yidigiri supports innovation platforms for the poultry and small ruminant value chains, hosting workshops in the Boulsa, Fada and Kaya communities.

USAID Resilient Communities Program

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Overview:

The five-year, $23.75 million USAID Resilient Communities Program (2022-2027) is designed to support households and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) along Georgia’s Administrative Boundary Line (ABL). Driven by private sector engagement, host-country collaboration and catalytic grant investments, the Program builds resilience against shocks, enhances inclusion of marginalized and at-risk communities, including women and youth, and stimulates sustainable socio-economic development.

Through previous USAID-funded projects in Georgia implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), the Program has access to a strong network of private sector, donor, NGO and Government of Georgia partners, which it uses to strengthen resilient and inclusive market systems and facilitate the development of diverse value chains. This increases revenues, creates jobs and builds community capacity to address market constraints and make key decisions. The Program targets communities along the ABL and the occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with the goal of integrating them into the broader Georgian economy.

Program Approach:

Collaboration, flexibility, scalability and sustainability are central components of the Program. The following approaches are incorporated to successfully build resilience to risks and shocks, enhance inclusion and stimulate sustainable socio-economic development:

  1. Engage the private sector: The USAID Resilient Communities Program enhances productivity, accelerates knowledge transfer and improves access to markets for rural communities along the ABL. It uses its connection to a variety of businesses throughout Georgia to provide links to enterprises, including USAID program graduates who are ready to invest back in the industry.
  2. Host country cooperation: To co-invest in development solutions, the Program facilitates productive, functional, trust-based working relationships with key Georgian government agencies including the Rural Development Agency (RDA), Enterprise Georgia and Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA). These partnerships continue to be expanded and strengthened to benefit communities along the ABL.
  3. Investment in catalytic grants: The Program integrates matching grants designed to have longer and deeper impacts and strengthen market systems. It targets communities and market systems where investments will catalyze systemic improvements, build resilience and strengthen engagement, competitiveness and market access.

Partners:

Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA): International agricultural development organization that specializes in the design and implementation of sustainable, enterprise-based agricultural initiatives. We work with businesses, foundations, governments, and communities to build customized local and global partnerships that meet the world’s growing demand for food.

Solimar International: U.S. small business with rich tourism development experience in Georgia. This includes developing a national tourism strategy and a COVID-19 recovery plan at the request of the Georgian government. This included designing new tour packages, tourism infrastructure and support services, and assessing and developing Destination Management Organizations.

Association Rural Development for Future Georgia (RDFG): Georgian NGO with more than ten years of experience in community development, disaster risk reduction (DRR), economic development and empowering women, youth and other marginalized groups in the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) and throughout Georgia. RDFG assists vulnerable communities in gaining equal access to services and opportunities.

The Policy and Management Consulting Group (PMCG): Georgian consulting firm with a wealth of economic analysis experience, including conducting value chain and niche market analysis. PMCG provides consulting services to government and nongovernmental organizations in community development and planning, private sector development, value chain analyses, MSME development and organizational capacity development.

Youth Engagement in Agriculture Improves Access to Digital Technology and Extension in Rwanda

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In Rwanda, only 3.18 million out of 7.75 million individuals of working-age are employed, and the number has declined by more than 13 percent since August 2020. The agriculture sector also lost upwards of 47,000 jobs while the unemployment rate stayed relatively high at 25.5 percent among the youth population (National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda).

Linking youth to agriculture can significantly contribute to innovation, job creation and agriculture sector development. The USAID-funded Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze activity works to attract youth in agriculture by increasing agricultural productivity, employing youth through internships, improving access to finance and strengthening youth capacity in digital and private sector extension. Since 2017, the Activity has reached 733,000 individuals, of whom over 24 percent were youth.

To support the development of youth entrepreneurs, the Hinga Weze Activity provided internships to over 200 youth and awarded $92,647 in youth-specific grants for companies including Mahwi Tech, Carl Group, Zima Enterprise and KOTIB. Using the grant funds, Mahwi Tech was able to transform its M-LIMA platform, a youth-owned agricultural market information platform, into an online marketplace that can serve the dual purposes of providing market information and facilitating market linkages. Similarly, technology company BK TecHouse was able to expand its online Smart Nkunganire System to support over 200,000 new farmers, including 51,324 youth, by improving their agricultural input and information distribution and digitalizing their agrodealer operations through a Mobile Order Processing Application.

Hinga Weze’s activities also strengthened youth capacity in extension by including youth in digital extension programming, integrating youth in public and private extension services and providing youth-friendly approaches to extension and farming through the New Extensionist Learning Kit (NELK). Hinga Weze trained 133 youth on the use of digital extension, 15 youth on digital extension content creation and 21 youth on extension video dissemination. To date, these youth produced six videos on improved maize cultivation and helped train 4,000 farmers on maize production techniques using the Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International’s (CABI) App—a mobile learning application focused on the production, harvest and post-harvest management of maize.

“Youth in Rwanda have quickly adopted information communication technology (ICT) tools and platforms. By using youth to customize and promote digital technologies, the Activity is supporting the advancement of ICT and transforming the way agricultural technologies are transferred to smallholder farmers,” highlighted Laurence Mukamana, Hinga Weze Chief of Party.

While Hinga Weze continued to utilize traditional extension methodologies to help farmers adopt climate-smart and other good agriculture practices, such as on-site coaching and Farmer Field Schools, the Activity also partnered with master trainers from the Rwanda Agriculture Board and the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources to help youth expand engagement, training and digital tools to extension agents and farmers through the Government of Rwanda’s Twigire Muhinzi national extension program. By leveraging existing government and private sector structures, Hinga Weze was able to create ownership and ensure the sustainability of promoted practices and methodologies beyond the life of the activity.

Improving Production and Livelihoods through the Manufacture and Sale of Poultry Feed

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Poultry farming is an important part of Burkina Faso’s rural economy. Unfortunately, it faces challenges, including the availability of low-cost feed, which is the most important and expensive input in poultry production. According to poultry producers, feed represents 60% to 75% of poultry production cost. Therefore, the availability of quality feed at affordable prices is essential for production to remain competitive on the market.

To remedy this, the Feed the Future-funded USAID Yidgiri activity trained producers in improved poultry production techniques and in the manufacture of poultry feed using local ingredients. As a result, two members of the Béogoboumbou producer organization (PO) in Kaya, Burkina Faso, who benefited from this training are transforming their knowledge into a source of income for themselves and their PO.

During the training, producers learned that in order to have high output, regular productivity and optimal poultry growth, it is necessary to use balanced feed composed, among other things, of proteins, essential amino acids and minerals, which are found in locally available soya, corn, fish powder and calcined bone. Rasmata Sawadogo and Mouazou Kanazoe, both members of the Béogoboumbou PO, have successfully experimented with this feeding technique as a result of the training offered by USAID Yidgiri in 2021. Sawadogo and Kanazoe admitted that their chickens used to be small since they let them roam around looking for food and sometimes threw them handfuls of millet like so many farmers in the village. “I didn’t know that feeding my chickens a special diet could accelerate their growth, optimize their weight and earn a higher selling price,” says Kanazoe.

After the training and feed experiment the two conducted on their poultry, Sawadogo and Kanazoe trained the 17 members of their PO, including 6 men and 9 women, on these improved poultry production techniques. Now, in order to feed their poultry at a lower cost, the members collectively contribute money for feed production and pay for the necessary ingredients at wholesale prices.

Given the positive effect the feed had on their poultry and the frequent shortage of industrial poultry feed available on the market, the PO also decided to produce and sell their feed. Their products are sold to private individuals as well as to other POs, including Basnéré, Pissila and Kaya, who place group orders. A 50kg bag of poultry feed costs $25 (15,000 CFA) and the PO produces about one ton per month, depending on their orders. The PO puts 50% of profits earned in a fund and shares the remaining 50% with its members. The money in the fund can be borrowed by members who need a small loan to boost their activities.

Kanazoe, a 20-year-old youth member of the PO, says he likes this activity because “per month, I can earn between $16-42 (10,000 to 25,000 CFA). So far, I was able to purchase a bicycle and I am building a house of 20 sheets in the family yard. I dream of being a boss and of having a big poultry feed production company.” Sawadogo, a mother of two, adds that she earns an average of $33 (20,000 CFA) per month, which is additional income that she reinvests either in her chicken coop or on her family.

To help the PO increase its competitiveness and reduce dependence on their neighborhood mill for grinding ingredients, Lassané Kanazoé, the PO’s cluster lead, utilized his network of partners to help the PO access a nearby multi-function mill in December 2021 so that they could efficiently respond to orders. The mill has a grinding capacity of one ton per hour. The Songvensé cluster was formed under USAID Yidgiri’s predecessor, the Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth (REGIS-AG) program, and continues to have members, including the Béogoboumbou PO, take advantage of the mill to produce quality feed and help sell poultry at the right time and at preferential prices. In addition, the PO intends to offer its services to nongovernmental organizations to help their partners access poultry inputs.

Through its work with the Béogoboumbou PO, USAID Yidgiri is demonstrating that with strengthened capacity building, producers can improve their resilience and generate profitable economic opportunities for themselves and their communities.