The Africa Agricultural Development Company’s smallholder development unit has entered into two partnerships that will support smallholder farmers in Senegal and Mozambique.
Rice miller Société Sénégalaise des Fillières Alimentaires (SFA) will receive financial support of $175,125 over the course of three years. The funds will “be used to support in-field technical assistance, set up a platform for improved dialogue among all stakeholders with the farmers union; demonstration plots for the adoption of good agricultural practices; and farmer group co-ordination and capacity building,” an AgDevCo spokeswoman told Agri Investor.
The SDU will also help SFA expand its outgrower scheme by increasing the number of contracted rice growers from 1,500 currently to 3,500, expanding farmers’ production cycles to two crops per year and improving agronomic techniques. According to AgDevCo, this will result in an increase in the volumes sourced from smallholder rice growers from 9,000 to 25,000 tons per year and will boost farmers’ annual income from $100 to $300 per household.
The SDU’s financial support of $250,000 over a three-year period to MozAgri will go towards a feasibility study aimed at identifying new areas in and around the hub farm. In addition, the funds will also support the building of five new buying centers to be run by farmers, in-field technical support, training on good herd management techniques and ultimately the creation of a consistent, reliable market for smallholder farmers to sell their goats, AgDevCo’s spokeswoman explained.
The institution established the SDU – in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation – in December 2015 to complement its core investment activity. To date, the smallholder unit has seven partners and $1.8 million in funds committed. “[The SDU] has a different mandate and supports a slightly different mix of countries: Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Senegal,” AgDevCo’s spokeswoman said. She added that the SDU not only works with AgDevCo investees, it is also able to work with agribusinesses outside the portfolio.
The smallholder unit plans to deploy an additional $11.5 million and support another 18 outgrower schemes within the next three years.
AgDevCo, which is backed by the UK Department for International Development, has invested more than $100 million in 58 agribusinesses in sub-Saharan Africa since its inception in 2009. Its other partners include the governments of Norway and the Netherlands, the Mastercard Foundation and the Small Foundation.