Agrodealer Strengthening Program for Mali
Partnering with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), CNFA implemented the three-year Agrodealer Strengthening Program for Mali (ASP-M) and increased rural incomes and reduced poverty by transforming Mali’s underdeveloped and fragmented input distribution practices into a more efficient, commercially viable input supply system. ASP-M strengthened Malian agrodealers by providing training in business management and productive farming methods, as well as increased farmer access to agrodealers in remote areas, ultimately raising rural incomes and increasing household productivity. In order to transform Mali’s agrodealer network sustainably, our team implemented a methodical four-step approach.
Building Agrodealer Capacity to Serve Farmers: We developed and implemented activities including business management training, training in product knowledge and safe use of chemicals and fertilizers; ASP-M also increased market demand for improved inputs through demonstration plots, exhibitions and farmer field days.
Improving Rural Access to Finance: To complement stronger business and technical expertise of program trainees, CNFA worked to improve agrodealers’ access to finance. Specifically, CNFA created guarantee facilities to stimulate access to trade credit and capital, developed agricultural lending training for commercial banks and microfinance institutions, created targeted agricultural lending products, and introduced competitive matching grants to spur private sector investment.
Connecting Farmers to Markets: With better financing in place, we focused on smallholder farmer access to larger markets for distribution of their products. Specifically, CNFA worked with agrodealers to develop and deliver basic output marketing training in order to increase farmer awareness of market opportunities and to help link them to existing market channels.
Advancing Agricultural Policy Advocacy: The last component of ASP-M focused improving channels for a sustainable public-private policy dialogue. CNFA maintained a leadership role in the policy arena, actively shaping Malian agricultural policy to promote the interests of private sector growth and of the rural smallholder. CNFA also supported the growth of the Agrodealers National Union in Mali (UNRIA-Mali), which received an endorsement from former-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan after he visited the project in August 2010.
To ensure the successful operation of UNRIA, CNFA provided training on organizational management, member services, networking and advocacy capacity building. This last component of ASP-M ensured that the program would be self-sustaining and bring increased business for agrodealers and higher incomes for smallholder farmers.
- 3,003 Agrodealers trained in Business Management, Safe Product Use, or Improved Practices;
- 54,718 Rural farmers and agrodealers exposed to new products through 1,295 field days with 62 different input supply companies;
- 319 Matching grants facilitated, totalling $173,474 to agrodealers;
- 17,408 Metric tons in additional volume of fertilizers sold by agrodealers.