Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production

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.