Commercial Farm Service Program


CNFA implemented the Commercial Farm Service Program (CFSP), a two-year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Innovation Fund for Ethiopian Agriculture (IFEA). CFSP adapted our proven Farm Service Center (FSC) model to the Ethiopian context for the first time. By establishing FSCs as “one-stop shops” in their communities, entrepreneurs provide a complete range of inputs, services, information and output marketing linkages to Ethiopian smallholders. This model continues to support farmers in making the transition from subsistence to commercial production as part of the Feed the Future Farm Service Center Program, launched in 2015.

The core of CFSP’s implementation strategy was a competitive business plan evaluation process, selecting Ethiopian entrepreneurs and enterprises for matching grant funding averaging $40,000, with a minimum matching requirement of 1:1. A broad outreach campaign publicized the program and explained the application, evaluation and selection processes to interested entrepreneurs, and CNFA selected its 6 grantees through a process that scored all applicants on the following criteria: corporate capability, business strategy and potential impact. As part of the competitive business plan evaluation for each potential grantee, CNFA conducted an independent market analysis of proposed locations to verify local demand and appropriately tailor FSC design. The 6 business partners that were selected to establish the FSCs included: 1 woman-owned enterprise, 2 cooperative unions, and 3 private entrepreneurs.

The FSCs – located in Ambo, Bishoftu, Fiche, Dodola, Nekemte and Shashamane – support the input supply sector in Ethiopia by providing brand label, high quality inputs through safe and environmentally sound stores. Formally open for business as of October 2013, each FSC provides smallholder farmers with quality inputs and services that have been customized to their local production needs. These inputs and services are accompanied by expert agronomic and veterinary consultations and FSC-led trainings and demonstrations. Through continued mentoring and training, the program has provided these locally-owned businesses with uniform branding, technical and business management training, and assistance with inventory management, marketing, and agriculture extension and outreach. In support of the wholesale buying cooperative, CFSP staff worked with the FSC-owner/operators to legally establish and register a joint venture named EGAA Agricultural Input Supply PLC. 



Program Approach:

  • Established six locally (Ethiopian) owned, retail farm supply and service locations (FSCs) with inventories, training, services and output market linkages;
  • Created a wholesale buying cooperative, owned by and dedicated to serving the inventory needs of the FSCs and linking them to national and international suppliers;
  • Delivered uniform branding, business skills, technical/advisory capacity, quality standards, environmental and worker safety procedures across the network;
  • Promoted FSC-led farmer outreach activities, including training seminars, demonstration plots and field days, to showcase the impacts of improved inputs and improve farmer production skills.

Program Impacts:

  • 29,230 Smallholders reached in Oramia Region;
  • 1 APEX wholesale buying umbrella organization created;
  • $1.8 million In matching grants distributed to strengthen agro-input retailers;
  • $3.2 million Sales of quality inputs generated;
  • 6 Viable FSCs created.