New Partners Invest in Mozambique’s Farmers

January 29, 2015
Fintrac Inc.A private agro-dealer in Nampula markets and sells Lusosem Ltd. seeds through a partnership supported under Feed the Future.
Mozambique’s agricultural market has a weak distribution network, making it difficult for farmers to access high-quality seeds and other inputs. Farmers also face limited market opportunities for their commodities and few financial services or extension training opportunities in good agricultural practices. To help the private sector reach smallholder farmers, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched four public-private partnerships in 2014 through Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, a program that works to quickly identify and negotiate milestone-based agreements with private sector partners as a way to improve smallholder farmers’ incomes and productivity. The partnerships bring together entrepreneurs, large agribusinesses, farmer associations and financial institutions to improve smallholder farming in Mozambique.
The first of these partnerships is an agreement between the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (the trade association for cooperative businesses in the United States), farmer-owned cooperative company IKURU in Mozambique and start-up company Phoenix Seeds to work together to improve extension services, provide land preparation and harvest services, and facilitate access to seeds and other inputs. Across ten districts in Mozambique’s Zambezia and Nampula provinces, 17 input agents from IKURU and 200 Phoenix Seeds lead farmers are receiving support and training to increase their capacity to serve local smallholder farming communities. In the first three years of operation, the partners expect to reach 10,000 farmers.
A second partnership pairs Illinois-based non-profit organization Opportunity International, which provides small business loans, savings, insurance and training, with Banco Oportunidade de Mozambique to offer financial and banking services to sesame and soybean farmers in the Manica and Zambezia provinces. The bank will hire, train and equip new agricultural loan officers and place them in the field to get to know smallholder farmers as new clients. The officers will be able to use tablets and hand-held GPS devices to map fields, issue loans and savings accounts, and maintain records stored through cloud computing. Through this partnership, 5,000 farmers will access financial and mobile money services, as well as receive bundled training on good agricultural practices. 
Portuguese seed and input supplier Lusosem Mocambique, Lda. is partnering with Colorado-based International Development Enterprises and HUB Assistancia Technica e Formacao to enter the Mozambican market and provide high-quality, imported seeds and other inputs to 10,000 farmers also in the Zambezia and Nampula provinces. They will hire staff and provide guidance on the opening or expansion of 40 local agro-dealers (vendors who sell products related to improved agriculture) and train 200 agribusiness advisors to provide private extension services to smallholder farmers as clients. Through these measures, the partnership aims to achieve a robust and sustainable market-based system of agro-dealers in the heart of rural Mozambique where communities are traditionally underserved. 
Finally, 23,000 smallholder farmers will access storage facilities, market opportunities and quality agricultural inputs through a partnership with Export Marketing Company Limited, Agro Tractors Limited, and software company Technobrain Limited. The team will establish 23 retail hubs, each consisting of an agro input retailer, a farm equipment dealer and a warehouse facility. The hubs will offer farmers the opportunity to sell or store produce free for 90 days as well as purchase agricultural inputs, rent farm equipment and participate in training workshops. Technobrain will also develop and implement a mobile platform targeted at smallholder farmers with up-to-date weather forecasts, commodity pricing, pest control, advice, and information on good agricultural practices. 
Many of the companies participating in Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation programming are members of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. These partnerships demonstrate how the public and private sector can work together to achieve both development and business objectives. With these and other planned partnerships, USAID is investing approximately $11 million to complement $19 million in private sector investment. By improving distribution and market access for nearly 50,000 smallholder farmers in Mozambique, USAID is helping to create sustainable systems that will continue long after these projects end.