A capability statement concerning our work on Agriculture in Africa which focuses on equity and growth for smallholders.
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.
Cashew continues to be a small but important cash income to small farm households that mainly produce subsistence crops (maize). The now revived local processing industry constitutes a significant source of employment and income, both for men and women, in rural areas. In this case, SNV has partnered with an organisation providing agricultural extension services (ADPP) and AMODER for microfinance. In addition, links are established with companies that out-source the processing of cashew. Although financial benefits at present are relatively small, farmers appreciate the fact that they are associated to a program to boost cashew development.
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.
Following the analysis of the components in the value chain as well as production, harvesting, bulk, travel, processing, marketing and consumption, three key areas in the banana value chain needed to be solved: improvement of the quality of the produce, access to markets and access to financing. In this case of the banana producers of Manhiça in Mozambique, SNV is facilitating to solve these issues to 500 Manhiça small farmers, located 75 kilometres North of Maputo City, in the South of Mozambique. Producers were able to organise themselves in dynamic cooperatives, that are capable of guaranteeing volume and quality grades for differentiated markets. In addition, sales volumes increased through a project focussing on finance. The finance has helped to support the costs of transports, and technical supplies such as a small freezer, a small roof to a packing station, and fertilizers and pesticides.
How governance aspects influence production, processing and marketing. Can private sector benefit from improved governance in a value chain? This case shows that it certainly can, and moreover, that the strive for improved governance has concrete economic benefits in terms of increased income for poor people, in addition to changing the power relations in the chain.
Between July and December 2007, SNV Mozambique conducted a banana sub-sector study, showing several constraints such as low quality of bananas due to shortage of good quality inputs, tools, limited access to finance and inadequate know-how. On the other hand, it demonstrated great potential in impacting livelihoods of banana producing families. SNV’s approach focused initially on improving the marketing efficiency through establishing contacts between producers and wholesalers, aiming at a better understanding of market requirements and production potential. SNV also facilitated the increase in production by training producers and cooperatives.
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.
Traditionally, farmers in Northern Mozambique are either subsistance farmers or agro-industrial estates. This case describes a group of emerging farmers, cultivating between five and 10 ha per family with cash crops. SNV acted as advisors to emerging sesame farmers, needing support to improve productivity, quality and linkages to the markets. The pilot phase shows to have a positive impact on income, transparency in negotiations with companies, gender, and food security.
Mozambique has fast forest areas and woodlans, where pesticides are rarely used, making this a country with potential to respond to a growing demand for organically produced honey. So far, however, lack of investment in building knowledge and producer organisations, low quality of produce and lack of access to markets meant that the opportunity to transform livelihoods through the honey trade was being missed. A Dutch entrepreneur, André Vonk, worked together with SNV to support the ‘Mozambique Honey Company’ to open up opportunities for small farmers. MHC is now a frontrunner in developing the local beekeeping sector.
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.