CNFA implemented the five-year (2012-2017), $14 million USAID-funded Agro-Inputs Project (AIP) to improve the knowledge of and access to quality agricultural inputs for farmers in the Feed the Future (FtF) zone of Bangladesh. Through the establishment of a sustainable Agro-Input Retailers Network (AIRN), CNFA provided trainings and technical assistance on business management and ethics, basic agronomics, safe use and handling of pesticides and other related topics to 3,000 agro-input retailers. AIP activities specifically targeted 300 women retailers through grant fundings, tailored training and advisory activities to encourage women’s participation in the agro-inputs sector. AIRN members served 1 million smallholder farmers, impacting more than 5 million individuals across 20 southern districts of Bangladesh and generating more than $100 million in sales
Building on extensive experience in the development of agrodealer networks across Europe and Africa, CNFA’s approach supported the development of AIRN as a high-quality technical training and advisory service provider to ultimately increase smallholder production and productivity. Recognizing the importance of gender sensitivity and environmental consciousness to this approach, CNFA integrated both into every aspect of AIP to ensure equity and sustainability in our programming. AIP’s core intervention outcomes included:
- Established Input and Service Provider Network: AIP established AIRN, a first-of-its-kind agro-inputs training organization and service provider in the Feed the Future zone.
- Distributed Market Information: The program improved the effectiveness of the agricultural inputs market information system (MIS) through distribution of Monthly Price Outlook Bulletins supported by an innovative GIS platform containing data on input distributions networks, client concentrations, cropping patterns and product and price trends to our retailers. In addition, the project created demand for improved quality inputs among farmers through 500 input demonstration plots.
- Enhanced Knowledge and Application of Quality Standards: CNFA improved recognition of and demand for quality inputs through a multi-media awareness campaign designed to encourage retailers and farmers to purchase quality agro-inputs. In addition, AIP worked with industry associations, their members and the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) to improve industry standards for major crops.
- Strengthened Local Organizations: CNFA helped local organizations to become future implementers of USAID activities. For example, capacity building and financial assistance was provided to industry association partners, AIRN, Bangladesh Fertilizer Association and Bangladesh Crop Protection Association, and a wide range of local NGOs and private sector entities.
Partnering Input Supply Companies: