Agricultural Productivity and Nutrition Project
The Agricultural Development Program exceeded its original objectives and close coordination with both the Provincial governments and Departments of Agriculture ensured successful implementation of the field programs. The four objectives of this program, improving agricultural productivity, enhancing household nutrition, supporting the Provincial Agricultural Extension Service, and improving access to markets, are interlinked and many of the activities completed by PfD spanned across more than one objective.
The first objective of the program was to improve agricultural productivity. PfD undertook a number of activities to accomplish this objective, including the introduction of new plant varieties, planting demo plots for farmer education, working with village veterinary workers and other volunteers to improve pig and poultry rearing, and introducing fish farming to households. Activities undertaken to achieve the second objective, to improve household nutrition, included introducing alternative farming techniques to combat cultivation difficulties during the dry season, incorporating fish farmed by the household into their diet, and the distribution of clay water filters. The third objective, to support provincial departments of agriculture was achieved through engaging associate staff to conduct field activities, conducting study tours to expose field personnel to developments abroad, training and providing support for field operations, and developing extension and training materials designed specifically for ADP activities. For the final objective, to improve access to markets, PfD designed, modified, and tested farm equipment for local manufacturing and commercialization and also collected information on market prices for a wide range of agricultural commodities.
The four focal areas of PfD’s community development work for the Allen Foundation in Stung Treng and subsequently Kratie province were: 1) economic development, particularly supporting rural livelihoods; 2) public health and sanitation; 3) public education and local capacity building, particularly improving community knowledge of health, nutrition, and agricultural practices; and 4) assessing and addressing problems in community infrastructure. A silk weaving training program was added to the project in 2001 with help from Veterans International. The World Food Program contributed rice to rice banks PfD built in Stueng Treng as part of its agricultural development support activities.
The project goal was to facilitate community development and quality of life within the eight communities. More specifically, through working with local structures such as Village Development Committees (VDCs), the project aimed to support community-initiated activities in: (a) economic development; (b) public health and sanitation; (c) public education and local capacity building; and (d) community infrastructure and communications.
The project completed “rice banks” in five villages across Stung Treng and Kratie. The banks have improved food security for poor farming households that are at risk of going in to debt or losing their land during periodic food shortages. Working through PfD, World Food Programme provided the rice stock for the banks to these community-constructed facilities. Members of the bank may then borrow from this stock during seasonal shortages; after harvest, borrowers then repay the bank with rice plus an extra 10% “interest” payment in rice. PfD also convinced local banks to provide credit for fertilizer and other key agricultural inputs.
With additional funding from the Allen Foundation, PfD also completed 100 latrines benefitting 567 community members, and provided sanitation education to families throughout the community.
As a part of the MARKETS II Project, PfD strengthened the capacity of 20 agricultural producer associations in financial, administrative and group dynamics in Nigeria’s Delta, Edo and Rivers states, enabling them to effectively manage donor funds, provide valuable services that will enable recipients to increase their productivity. PfD has been collaborating with the MARKETS program since its inception, especially in the development of the Nigerian Agricultural Enterprise Curriculum (NAEC), which PfD has integrated into many of the business development services trainings it has conducted over the years for agricultural entrepreneurs.
In January 2015, PfD signed an agreement with Chemonics to participate in its USAID-funded MARKETS II project to provide institutional capacity building to selected smallholder agricultural producers and processors in three states in Nigeria. The Organizational Capacity Assessment (OCA) Tool was adapted by PfD and endorsed by the technical staff of MARKETS II Project which was administered to each of the selected groups. The OCA Tool was designed specifically for the selected smallholder agricultural associations to diagnose the strength, weaknesses and opportunities available to and existing within these groups. The OCA Tool was designed to assess capacity of the associations in six key areas/sections – governance, human resource management, financial management, monitoring, evaluation and reporting, sustainability, public relations and partnership.
The first MARKETS activity was a highly successful program that fostered private sector-led agricultural productivity, advanced agriculture and trade policy reform, improved farmers’ access to new agricultural technologies, and strengthened both public and private institutions. MARKETS II extended the MARKETS model to improve the performance of Nigerian poor rural farmers or smallholders, their incomes and nutrition through proven private sector demand driven market interventions. The program focused on smallholder farmers who cultivate between 1 and 5 hectares of land, up to 80% of whom are women.
PfD’s five year PINEX program will strengthen the pineapple value chain at all levels in Benin. Pineapple is the third highest agricultural earner in terms of GDP in Benin, and has significant potential for growth. PINEX will:
- Increase agricultural productivity by: building the technical and business management capacity of pineapple farmers, the Pineapple Producers Network of Benin (PPNB), and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA); connecting producers with access to finance; and enabling the private sector to supply improved fertilizer.
- Improve agricultural processing by building the technical and business management capacity of pineapple processors and the National Association of Pineapple Processing Companies of Benin (NAPPCB), and by connecting processors with access to finance, equipment, and certifications.
- Expand agricultural trade by: building the marketing capacity of pineapple processors; connecting processors with marketing opportunities; establishing a market price and information system; improving border and airport storage and marketing facilities; and supporting innovation and collaboration across the Beninese pineapple value chain.
Activities include training and capacity building with pineapple producers and processors, facilitating agricultural lending and access to inputs, in-kind grants, and building infrastructure to facilitate pineapple production and marketing.
From November 2011 to July 2016, PfD implemented the USDA-funded Growing Resources for the Enhanced Agricultural Enterprises and Nutrition (GREEN) Project in six southern states in Benin: Atlantique, Littoral, Couffo, Mono, Oueme and Plateau. Through GREEN, PfD provided valuable training to over 7,300 agricultural producers and through increasing the farmers’ net income, benefited 36,000 family members.
The GREEN project worked with Beninese farmers’ associations to train vegetable growers to increase the money they take home from their harvests through better growing techniques, through strategies to decrease spoilage between the field and the market, and through improving their understanding of market-driven production. Centered on tomatoes, peppers, and leafy greens, the trainings GREEN provided focused on improving water and soil resources, appropriate use of pesticides, dry season cultivation, and how to handle vegetables immediately after harvesting. GREEN worked with growers’ associations on marketing and business strategies to help them maximize their earnings potential as a group.
GREEN trained 7,390 agricultural producers in vegetable value chain theory, market assessments, and modern methods to improve agricultural production. As a result of PfD’s work, 97% of participating GREEN farmers now produce in response to what the market wants, and 95% of GREEN farmers have increased their vegetable production by an average of over 160% by increasing the number of cultivation cycles from two to three and four ties per year. GREEN’s final evaluation also showed, farmers increased their net income by over 220% and created over 8,600 seasonal jobs.
In 2002, The St. Paul Foundation awarded Partners for Development (PfD) a grant of $ 79,230 to improve agricultural extension efforts in northeastern Cambodia for the 12-month period, 01 October 2002 – 30 September 2003. The project’s goal was to improve food security through the continued technical, administrative, and financial support to the provincial Agricultural Extension (OAE) and Animal Health and Production (OAHP) Offices in Kratie and Stung Treng Provinces in Cambodia’s underserved northeast.
One of the keys to food security in Cambodia is consistent, sustainable harvests of the staple crop: rice. PfD collaborated with the Office of Agricultural Extension in both Kratie and Stung Treng to teach improved rice growing methods to local farmers, introducing new, high-yield varieties of rice, as well as fertilizers and pesticides. Over the course of the project year, PfD and its partners trained over 1,000 farmers in better ways to grow rice.
In cooperation with the Office of Animal Health and Production, PfD trained 110 community members in the techniques of veterinary medicine for agriculture to provide health services to the livestock of Kratie and Stung Treng. By the end of the project, nearly 100% of Kratie had coverage for farmers requiring veterinary services for their animals.
In addition to these two key interventions, PfD also:
- Scaled-up a local duck-raising program to include 220 families;
- Provided 25,000 doses of vaccine for cattle and buffalo;
- Reached 780 farmers through “farmer field days” extension services;
- Facilitated the sale of over 10 tonnes of modern varieties of rice seed to farmers.
The Integrated Agricultural Development Project (IADP) aimed to contribute to the rehabilitation of agricultural markets by increasing both the flow of information and the number of competitive actors participating in those markets. The IADP also worked to rebuild connections and trust between the government and private sector by advising policy as well as agriculture. PfD helped farmers rebuild Bosnia & Herzegovina’s agricultural markets by guiding the creation of three local farmers’ associations, as well as by providing technical assistance and gifts of livestock to over 450 farming families whose lives were turned upside down by the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
The farmers associations’ established by PfD, known as the IFA, were professionally managed, financially sustainable, open to all community members, and democratically controlled by members. They covered multiple municipalities, crossing both city and ethnic lines and fostering regional economic cooperation. The IFA projects were jointly implemented with the municipal officials, citizens and farmers.
Finally, in cooperation with the UN Office of the High Representative, the IADP provided technical assistance in support of broader policy interventions, including:
- Providing financial and logistical support for community-based agricultural planning and extension services;
- Providing financial and logistical support for a livestock training/fair for approximately 1,000 farmers;
- Constructing a veterinary border inspection facility, along with necessary equipment for cross-border animal inspections and appropriate training for facility staff, in cooperation with the State Veterinary Office.
In Nigeria, most rural families work in small-scale agriculture, either as a primary source of revenue or as a source of supple¬mental income, and they must face challenges of having limited access to credit, information, markets, and social services. With support from USAID, PfD’s “Expanded Access to Services for Agricultural Enterprise” (EASE) project has enabled local community-based organizations to provide loans, business skills training and targeted technical assistance to 11,000 farmers and processors of agricultural products. For this project, PfD provides guidance local partner organiza¬tions in how to strengthen targeted value chains by training these organizations on how to conduct workshops for value chain stakeholders. PfD builds capacity of its local partners so that they are able to provide business develop¬ment training and financial management services to farmers and other small business entrepreneurs.
PfD has a 12-year history working in Nigeria. Over this time, PfD has cultivated a strong network of partners. Implementing projects across this network—increasing the number and quality of services local organizations can offer through training-of-trainer programs and sustained engagement—both allows PfD to quickly scale-up its interventions and increases the sustainability of projects like EASE. Responding to the early success of EASE, in 2011, PfD won a $600,000 extension grant to expand services into Sokoto State in order to extend financial inclusion, business development skills (BDS), and agricultural skills to an additional 2,000 beneficiaries over 18 months (by the end of the program, EASE reached 2,413 individuals in Sokoto).
14 of the 15 local partner organizations PfD collaborated with in EASE’s implementation focus on the advancement of women and children’s well-being. PfD helped these organizations expand their services into microfinance, increasing the opportunities for financial inclusion for women in the conflict-affected, culturally conservative states in which EASE operated. Overall, 77% of EASE’s total 16,539 beneficiaries of BDS training were women. PfD’s technical trainings were so popular that more than twice the number of people expected sought tailored agricultural sector technical assistance; ultimately, 1,217 beneficiaries received training in crop production, diversification, processing, and storage, as well as training in organic farming and the careful use of agro-inputs, depending on their needs. In terms of microfinance success, 7,137 borrowers leveraged $1,319,438 worth of microfinance loan capital over the life of the project, as successful repayment allowed PfD’s partners to continuously relend their original funds.
PfD’s USDA-funded JANI (Jatropha Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative) provided a wide range of agricultural skills trainings and opportunities for rural communities during its five-year run, which ended in 2013. Through this $7 million Food For Progress initiative, PfD expanded the cultivation and processing of Jatropha curcus in 18 districts of eight regions in the North, Central and Lake Zones of Tanzania. Jatropha is a renewable energy source that can be processed into cooking oil and into pellet fuel for new, locally manufactured, clean-burning cookstoves, known as Jiko Bomba stoves, which PfD developed and marketed in cooperation with local manufacturers. Improving the availability of clean-burning fuel and stoves not only reduces the need for families to cut wood from Tanzania’s depleted forests: cleaner burning fuels also improve indoor air quality, the leading cause of respiratory illness in women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. Jatropha also serves as a valuable hedgerow for family enclosures, and jatropha-oil can be made into soap.
Through PfD’s signature integrated programming approach—involving agricultural extension, nutrition education, livestock vaccinations, enterprise development, and creating market linkages—JANI improved vulnerable agricultural communities’ food security by achieving the following core objectives in Tanzania:
- Diversifying and increasing household income with jatropha cultivation through training in the cultivation and processing of jatropha and by creating market linkages between farmers and buyers of jatropha seed and oil.
- Strengthening local capacity to promote jatropha by strengthening capacities of local extension agents, implementing entities and local outreach organisations working with PfD to promote cultivation, processing and sale of jatropha oil with smallholder farmers.
- Improving food security and nutrition for jatropha farming households through community nutrition education campaigns and technical assistance in household food production.
Through collaboration with 13 local partners, PfD trained over 42,000 farmers in Jatropha cultivation and processing, distributed over 1 million jatropha seedlings, and sold no less than 59 tons of jatropha seed. Demand for jatropha pellets for improved cookstoves now exceeds supply.
Bosnia & Herzegovina’s markets were deeply destabilized by the decade-long war in Yugoslavia during the 1990s, and many rural families struggled to gain the credit, inputs, and services needed to put their farms back on sound footing. PfD began the Integrated Agricultural Development (IADP) program in 1998 with assistance from the USDA to put Bosnia & Herzegovina’s agricultural markets back on sure footing. PfD leveraged microfinance, technical expertise in agriculture, and the organization’s experience rebuilding local institutional capacity in post-conflict settings to achieve this objective.
PfD worked directly with local farmers’ cooperatives to create a national raspberry industry, providing ongoing assistance with fertilizer use, pesticide use, irrigation systems, and other specific topics related to the care and cultivation of raspberries to promote success for this high-value crop. Raspberries grow wild in Bosnia & Herzegovina, and were widely prized but not widely available in major population centers until the 2000s. To preserve the country’s wild raspberry stocks while promoting cultivated fruits for national consumption and export, the IADP emphasized sustainable raspberry collection and harvesting practices and the cultivation of domesticated berries. PfD used this opportunity to educate farmers on ethical wild harvesting, developing an “atlas” of medicinal and aromatic herbs and wild berries that stresses sustainable harvest practices. Endangered plants were specially marked. This atlas was distributed widely to farmers and other wild harvesters throughout the region.
To promote growth and financial viability among the farms in the IFA producers associations, PfD developed a partnership with UPI Bank to administer a line of credit specifically for IFA members. The loans enabled IFA members to expand a wide range of agricultural production activities: it enabled the purchase of machinery, grain milling equipment and animal fodder, and cows for dairy farms; it supported bee keeping and other sectors such as vegetable production, and herb and spice collection, and allowed farmers to expand their land holdings. PfD and UPI Bank later created a line of credit specifically for raspberry growers, an intiative that drew buy-in from some of Bosnia’s largest national food processors. The credit program has facilitated PfD market linkage activities, including joint purchasing and organized cultivation.
The IFA members who participated in the IADP’s credit program have been able to diversify their agriculture activities and lower their vulnerability to volatile markets, as well as to build capital and expand their businesses.