A capability statement concerning our work on Agriculture in Africa which focuses on equity and growth for smallholders.
Although they do not receive much recognition, agro-dealers are major economic drives in rural areas. This case describes SNV’s experiences with the Rural Agriculture Revitalisation Programme (RARP). The programme is designed with other partners to encourage wholesalers to avail inputs to smallholder farmers by placing inputs in agro-dealer stores close to rural farmers. The programme is operating in all eight rural provinces of Zimbabwe.
La présente note thématique est basée sur les expériences de la SNV en matière d’appui aux pasteurs en Afrique, en vue d’améliorer leurs moyens d’existence. Elle se fonde sur une large gamme d’études de cas qui, à travers le continent, mettent en évidence un certain nombre de traits communs aux
pratiques des pasteurs. La collaboration avec les pasteurs nous a appris qu’ils ne sont pas les traditionalistes que l’on décrit souvent. Ils s’adaptent au changement rapide comme tout autre groupe en Afrique. La présente note met en exergue l’éventail de stratégies d’adaptation, d’options de commercialisation et de mécanismes institutionnels qui ont cours à l’heure actuelle au sein de ces communautés. Ces expériences démontrent que le travail de la SNV a permis d’apporter des améliorations tangibles aux moyens d’existence des éleveurs, tout en augmentant leur contribution au développement écon omique dans certains des milieux les plus difficiles en Afrique aujourd’hui.
This manual was written for primary school pupils and primary school leavers in the banana growing valleys of Zimbabwe. It is designed to equip the pupil or school leaver with basic skills and knowledge needed to grow bananas commercially. It gives suggestions on how to grow bananas, and recommendations on how to make a business out of growing and selling them.
Over 70% of secondary school pupils fail to obtain a full certificate and do not have relevant skills to provide for a reasonable livelihood within local conditions. This module has been developed on the assumption that people in certain areas of Zimbabwe make a living on the farming of fruits such as bananas, and it therefore hopes to fill a gap by providing relevant education to learners in banana growing localities.
This framework can be used by primary schools to practically teach children new methods and skills in banana growing. In the area where this framework was developed, new agronomic practices in banana farming were introduced to farmers. Their children were however not included in this transfer of knowledge and skills, even though many will be the farmers of tomorrow. Learning these methods and inputs can increase production and improve the quality of produce.
This framework can be used by schools to practically teach children new methods and skills in banana growing. In the area where this framework was developed, new agronomic practices in banana farming were introduced to farmers. Their children were however not included in this transfer of knowledge and skills, even though many will be the farmers of tomorrow. Learning these methods and inputs can increase production and improve the quality of produce.
Livestock is the most promising source of livelihoods in the South Western parts of Zimbabwe. Farmers face however acute animal feed shortages during the dry season. The case highlights how SNV aided farmers in storing the surplus foliage material that is available during the rainy season, as well as crop residues. This was done through establishing a multi-stakeholder platforms and teaching farmers through farmer field schools.
In June 2010 SNV, together with IFAD, organised a conference on ‘brokering knowledge for upscaling best practices in Inclusive Markets Access in East & Southern Africa’, which brought together over 70 participants from 11 African countries from donor, public and private sector to share experiences. This report summarizes the main issues discussed during the conference, of which the main focus was seeking to bring about systemic change for larger-scale sustainable inclusive markets with a wider significance.
Traditionally, contract farming has been the domain of commercial farmers due to the perceived high risks associated with doing business with smallholder farmers. Land re-distribution however drastically reduced commercial farming, and many companies therefore had to look for other alternatives which presented an opportunity for small holder farmers. The case describes how Agriseeds Ltd, a relatively small Zimbabwean seed company, wanted to diversify its outgrower base. They therefore collaborated with SNV; Agriseeds provided intensive agronomic extension, input provision and a stable market, whereas SNV provided training in business skills and group formation to farmers.
This annual report provides more detail of the strategic position choices SNV made in East and Southern Africa in 2007 and illustrates our approach with case studies from our practice.
Financing agriculture is very difficult in Zimbabwe. Due to the severe recent financial crisis, smallholder farmers and other small actors in rural agro-input and output value chains are considered too risky by banks to supply credit to. The revival of agriculture is however crucial to the recovery of the economy. With support from other partners, SNV initiated the ‘Zimbabwe Agriculture Development Trust’, to improve the functionality of agricultural based value chains. It functions as a revolving credit facility that aims to improve the availability and accessibility of credit. The fund was set up successfully, and the case describes the details of how it was set up and managed.
Two provinces in Western Zimbabwe contain mainly dry land, where crops are hardly grown but one can only make a living out of rearing livestock such as cattle and goats. Farmers own goats in large numbers but cannot earn enough income to meet their basic needs. This because goats are not regarded as an important source of household income and goat markets are poorly organised, resulting in far less investments in goat production compared to cattle. To promote the marketing of goats, SNV proposed an auction system as one of the marketing options. The other factor was the potential of creating marketing hubs where input suppliers, goat buyers and farmers would conduct their transaction costs in a cost effective way. More than 1500 farmers have since benefited from pilot auctions, earning prices more than 3 times higher than what they used to receive.
There are more than 3 .5 million goats in Zimbabwe, of which 98 per cent are indigenous breeds and owned by the smallholder farmers. Human populations are growing, and creating a significant and increasing demand for additional animal protein foods. The goat can play an important role in meeting these demands. This calls for farmers to put value in their goat enterprises by shifting from subsistence production to commercial production. It is easier to increase the population of small ruminants (goats and sheep) than large stock. In economic terms the opportunity costs are low for goat production.
This manual has been written to provide information to farmers who are in need of knowledge to start a goat enterprise on a commercial basis, and goat husbandry. The information is not completely comprehensive, but combines experiences from authors and farmers.
This practice brief shares SNV's experiences in supporting pastoralists in Africa to improve their livelihoods. It bringstogether a wide variety of cases from across the continent that draw out a number of commonalities in pastoralist practices, for instance their management of water resources in Tanzania and Niger. But it highlights as well the diversity of the contexts within which pastoralism operates, as seen in the contrasting scales of dairy processing in Kenya, Niger and Burkina Faso, or the different roles played by local brokers in the livestock markets of Southern Sudan and Benin. Working with pastoralists has taught us that they are not the traditionalists they are often depicted to be. They are adapting to rapid change as much as any other group in Africa. This Practice Brief highlights a variety of adaptation strategies, commercialisation options and institutional arrangements that are currently in use. These diverse experiences demonstrate that SNV support has helped bring about tangible improvements in pastoralist livelihoods, whilst increasing their contribution to economic development in some of the most challenging environments in Africa today.
With this publication we hope to generate and disseminate knowledge useful for those involved in the smallholder agricultural sector. Zimbabwe’s experiences in contract farming are also useful for other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Raising agricultural productivity in Africa and involving the smallholder farmers in that process is one of the key priorities, as emphasised in the World Development Report 2008 of the World Bank. Contract Farming is one of the pathways to get there.
A livelihoods study by SNV in 2007 concluded that it was possible to increase the income of banana producers four-fold by increasing productivity and quality per acre grown by the average household. To take up this method, a robust and effective method of transforming the mindset and practices of farmers was needed. This is the story of how SNV used demonstrations, complemented by other innovative approaches not only to deliver agronomic skills but also to motivate the adoption of best practices in the principal banana producing communities of Zimbabwe.
This case describes how, in order to promote sustainable market linkages between smallholder farmers and the private sector, the market linkage working group (MLWG) was established. It acted as a multi-stakeholder platform, and its main objective is to contribute to rural and urban food security and farmer income by bridging the mismatch between smallholder producers and markets. SNV Zimbabwe took the initiative for the MLWG.
SNV’s approach to development is principally to work in an advisory capacity with meso-level organizations. Taking on this advisory role has considerable implications for the way that SNV handles issues. In essence, it is the quality of the advisory service itself, rather than the specific knowledge to be shared or transferred, that makes managing such issues successful. Clearly SNV advisers must be able provide guidance and support to partners and their staff to do this. At the same time SNV seeks to learn from other organizations that may be emphasizing the advisory process.
East African SNV programmes have undertaken an initiative to build new models for advisory practice, what we call ‘Building Advisory Practice’ (BAP). The initiative has examined in detail what characteristics constitute a quality advisory practice, what others are doing that SNV would like to emulate, and the best way to share the knowledge gained with the wider public. Meeting these objectives means building new ways of learning and sharing within SNV and with external partners and knowledge systems. This publication on private sector development is a major product in that endeavour.
The publication, as with the whole BAP process, has involved the energy, commitment and patience of literally hundreds of persons, from partner organizations as well as SNV staff, many of whom are acknowledged at the back of the booklet.