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Senegal

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East Africa

Enabling Access to Supply-chain-finance to SMEs in East Africa

2019 - 2021

MEDA and Financial Access (FACM) with its subsidiaries Financial Access Commerce & Trade Services (FACTS) Kenya and (FACTS) Uganda are collaborating to improve access to supply chain finance for SMEs in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Overview

EASE

EASE is committed to the improved access to finance in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania by commercializing technology driven supply-chain financing solutions to small and medium enterprise (SME) value chains in East Africa through various banks and financial institutions.

Goal

The goal of the EASE project is to improve access to finance through implementation of supply chain financing franchise model through local banks and financial intermediaries.

Reach

This project will reach 100 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. These SMEs are from any sector of the economy and would receive working capital credit in tune of USD 10M through reverse factoring and supply finance credit solutions.

Context

SMEs in East Africa are starved of the working capital needed to fuel their growth and the growth of their suppliers and buyer enterprises. Debt financing based on the collateralizable value of accounts receivables is a common and rapid short-term finance solution alternative widely practiced around the world but almost non-existent in Africa. EASE aims to test a technology driven, cost efficient model to this challenge that is replicable and expandable to other markets.

Opportunity

SME finance is systematically underfunded. Small and growing businesses create around 80% of the region's employment, establishing a new middle class and fueling demand for new goods and services. These businesses face challenges due to lack of access to credit, which remains a hurdle for many SMEs in Africa.

It is estimated that 80% of SMEs cannot fulfill their growth potential due to lack of working capital. Financial institutions base their credit decisions on the availability of hard collateral (land and/or buildings), which business owners might not have access to.

Delayed payment (of sales invoices) is a universal problem for SMEs. In Africa, many companies and businesses are forced to close every year to due to delayed payment issues. Yet financial institutions limit credit exposure to 3-6% of their loan portfolios. This is economically unwarranted and social unsustainable.

Group of People

Strategy

The project (valued at NOK 29,174,797) will provide technical and financial assistance to MEDA’s implementing partner – Financial Access (FACM), and at least three financial institutions in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. These institutions will facilitate a collateral-free working capital loan to at least 100 SMEs with a total portfolio of at least USD 10 Million through reverse factor and supply finance solutions. Development of appropriate technology to digitize the exchange and commercialization of invoices is expected to make the process efficient, effective and convenient to parties involved. Subsidised credit insurance to participating financial institution is expected to incentivize financial institutions to experiment with the model while not taking any extra risk on their front

Funder

Program undertaken with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)

MEDA Partners

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Ethiopia

Smiling People
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Ethiopia

Agricultural Transformation Through Stronger Vocational Education (ATTSVE)

2014 - 2021

MEDA, Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture, McGill University and Jima University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine are collaborating to increase skills, capacity and knowledge required by the labour market for the commercial agriculture sector in Ethiopia.

Overview

ATTSVE

The “ATTSVE” project is an acronym for Agricultural Transformation Through Stronger Vocational Education.

Goal

The goal of the ATTSVE project is to increase the number of men and women graduates from select Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) Institutions in the Nejo, Woreta, Wolaita Soddo, and Maychew regions, with skills and knowledge required by the labour market for the commercial agriculture sector in Ethiopia.

Reach

The direct clients of the ATTSVE project are the students, administration and instructors of four ATVET institutions that receive both grant funding and technical assistance over the course of the project. There will be additional clients related to the increased capacity of these ATVETs including future students and households.

Context

Most Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ATVETs) in Ethiopia are located in rural areas and focus largely on competency-based curriculum approaches and outcomes. ATVETs and their students are increasingly interested in practical programming that emphasizes rural economic growth through agriculture and development of the private sector. ATVETs and the Government of Ethiopia recognize that more emphasis is needed on private sector development and entrepreneurship, as well as curriculum development and content delivery to help support ATVET graduates to acquire employment, build businesses and contribute to their local economies.

Opportunity

ATVETs are the main vehicle for providing agricultural education in Ethiopia. Typically graduates of ATVETs go on to work as Development Agents (DAs) with the Government of Ethiopia. As ATVETs have grown, there are significantly more students graduating than DA positions available.

In recognition of this, the Government of Ethiopia is gradually transitioning from a public sector supply-oriented training approach to demand-driven training directed toward the private sector. ATVET curriculum requires increased incorporation of business, entrepreneurship and value chain concepts to better prepare graduates to enter the workforce.

Group of People

Strategy

Through this project, MEDA will work with the selected ATVETs to strengthen the educational and economic capacities of the ATVETs in the areas of value chain development and business management through a holistic approach of:

  • Business advising to ATVETs to promote sustainable and replicable income generating activities for the targeted educational entities;
  • Curriculum development in value chain and business management in the selected ATVETs – to be developed in line with industry best-practices, and Ethiopian agriculture and education policy and environment; and
  • Strengthening academic and industry linkages to facilitate skills development to enable practical learning opportunities for students in appropriate sectors

Funders

Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

Partners

Dal_Logo MEDA - Projects McGill_Logo MEDA - Projects Jimma_Logo MEDA - Projects

Dalhousie University | Faculty of Agriculture, McGill University, and Jima University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine

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Ethiopia

Smiling Entrepreneur
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Ethiopia

Ethiopians Motivating Enterprises to Rise In Trade and Agri-business (EMERTA)

2016 - 2022

MEDA’s EMERTA project is committed to increasing sustainable employment and income generation for women and men in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. The project improves the business performance of agricultural producers and of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that buy and supply inputs, equipment and services. Simultaneously, the project will help business service providers, training institutions and government bodies.

Overview

EMERTA

The "EMERTA" acronym stands for Ethiopians Motivating Enterprises to Rise in Trade and Agri-Business. The EMERTA project is based in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia.

Goal

The goal of EMERTA is increased sustainable employment and income generation by women and men in Amhara region of Ethiopia in rice, vegetable, and gemstone sectors, with a focus on women.

Reach

The EMERTA project will benefit 16,000 women and men and over 275 small businesses in the Amhara Region. Producers and businesses are reached through capacity building programming, motivating them to become engaged actors in local value chains, and promoting partnerships and links to local businesses while providing access to financial services such as business training, grants and loans.

Context

EMERTA focuses on two key sectors of the economy: agriculture (rice and vegetables) and gemstones. These two sectors are targeted to assist the Ethiopian government’s focus on driving economic growth. For this growth to have broad, inclusive impact, small-scale producers, particularly women, must have greater opportunity to participate in the economy. More than 80% of Ethiopians live in rural areas where most households engage in small-scale agriculture and artisanal mining activities. EMERTA seeks to support farmers and businesses in these sectors.

Opportunity

The agriculture and gemstone sectors of the Ethiopian economy are poorly developed. In the agricultural sector, there are challenges with lack of modern machinery, seed systems and agricultural techniques which result in poor quality rice and vegetables that cannot compete with international produce. In the mining sector, typical challenges include lack of modern techniques and machinery for production, undeveloped marketing systems, lack of quality inputs, antiquated practices in sourcing and handling gemstones and illegal trade in mined gems. Both sectors receive little attention and oversight to product quality.

EMERTA focuses on these challenges to create opportunity for those participating in the rice, vegetable and gemstone value chains: rural growers, processors, traders, wholesalers, lapidaries, jewelry makers, etc.

EMERTA also encourages positive policy change at the national level which can help small private business succeed. Much attention is needed to the regulatory and governance aspects of supporting small businesses in Ethiopia, so EMERTA works closely with government partners - from both local and national levels -to encourage positive policies and decision-making. EMERTA’s market systems development approach closely aligns with Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan II which considers agriculture and gemstones as a key driver of employment and economic growth.

Entrepreneur

Strategy

To achieve the project’s goal, EMERTA strengthens the competitiveness and profitability of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). EMERTA plays an important role by identifying gaps and needs in the existing value chains supported by the project. EMERTA employs an opportunity-led business development approach leveraging the team’s expertise, partnerships, and resources to participate in helping clients overcome some of the greatest impediments to business success in Ethiopia. This approach identifies opportunities, demonstrates viable business models, and encourages market actors to take advantage of these opportunities.

A central principle of the project is -to deliver impact through existing entities. For example, rather than delivering training directly to farmers, the project will focus on building the capacity of rural extension agents. Farmer Training Centers (FTCs) already exist in rural communities and these are used effectively to demonstrate new crop varieties and promote promising agronomic practices. This resource offers women and men farmers a reliable, local source of information that will better prepare them to meet the quality and quantity demands of the market. To strengthen its work in value chain development, EMERTA also integrates gender and environmental sustainability in all three EMERTA sectors.

Interview with EMERTA Country Project Manager - Thomas McCormack

Funders

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Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

Partners

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Ghana

Farmers’ Economic Advancement Through Seedlings

2015 - 2021

MEDA, with funding from the Government of Canada, is implementing a 6 year project in the tree crop sector of Ghana.

Overview

FEATS

The project acronym “FEATS” stands for “Farmers’ Economic Advancement Through Seedlings”

Goal

The goal of the FEATS project is to improve the economic wellbeing of women and men farmers in strengthened tree crop industries in Ghana.

Reach

The project will directly benefit 100,000 women and men farmers, and 35 small enterprises and their employees. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are supported with matching grants to expand their operational and technical capacities to grow quality seedlings, while farmers are provided with trainings and purchase discounts to acquire and plant quality seedlings in an environmentally-sustainable manner.

Context

Ghana’s workforce and economy are heavily dependent on agriculture. Over 1.6 million families are engaged in the cultivation of tree crops. However, tree crop production has seen a significant decline due to diminishing yields of aging trees and inadequate supply of quality planting materials. The declining productivity has significant implications for Ghana’s export industry and could leave over one million families in Ghana without a stable income.

Opportunity

Ghana’s tree crop farmers suffer from low yields owing primarily to aged plants and low quality planting materials. For instance, despite having almost the same land area under cultivation, Ghana’s tree crop farmers are producing almost half the quantity of cocoa and cashew produced by their counterparts in Cote D’Ivoire. Therefore, the need to reinvigorate unproductive farms is great and requires a strong quality seedling supply chain that produces affordable and accessible seedlings for farmers. However, with low capital, substandard infrastructure and inefficient business operations, nursery SMEs are unable to produce quality seedlings and in the right quantities to meet farmer demands.

Group of People

Strategy

The FEATS project is underpinned by four pillars:

  1. High Performance Tree Seedlings and Quality Seedling Supply: Improving business capacity of SMEs in the tree crop industries to produce and distribute high performance tree seedlings and other quality seedlings
  2. Financial Capacities: Increasing financial capacity of women and men farmers to purchase high performance tree seedlings and quality tree crop seedlings.
  3. Business Capacity: Increasing capacity of women and men farmers and SMEs to participate in profitable environmentally sustainable tree crop businesses, including farming.
  4. Policy/Strategy Reform: Strengthening policy/strategy capacities of the government of Ghana, its agencies and leading private firms needed to foster commercial markets for HPTS and Quality Seedlings.

FEATS Webinar

Funders

Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

Partners

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Ghana Cocoa Board, Tree Global, 35 small enterprises and 25 tree-sector farmer and industry associations

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Kenya

Equitable Prosperity Through Private Sector Development (EPTPSD) / Maendaleo Sawa (M-SAWA)

2015 - 2022

MEDA in partnership with Global Affairs Canada is increasing business profitability and supporting economic growth in 20 marginalized counties across Kenya.

Overview

M-SAWA

M-SAWA is an acronym derived from the Swahili words Maendeleo Sawa which means Equitable Prosperity, aimed at supporting the equitable growth of Kenyan businesses.

Goal

The goal of M-SAWA is to contribute to Kenya’s economic growth and increase job creation by improving the business, environmental and gender performance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and small entrepreneurs (SEs) in the agriculture, construction, and extractives sectors, targeting 20 marginalized counties along Kenya’s two major economic growth corridors.

Reach

The M-SAWA project will benefit 250 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 20,000 small entrepreneurs. This includes 25 SMEs selected as lead firms to receive matching grants to support a total of 20,000 SEs in their supply/distribution chains, 225 SMEs to receive business development services grants, 10 businesses associations will receive matching grants to support the SME members and 40 SMEs will receive access to investment capital.

Context

While Kenya is generally one of the more developed countries on the Africa content, high levels of inequality and poverty persist, especially in rural areas. The government of Kenya has set ambitious economic growth goals; however, to achieve them it will be essential to support the growth of local businesses, particularly in the agriculture sector which currently employs 60% of the population and the growing construction and extractives sectors.

Opportunity

In Kenya, small entrepreneurs (SEs) in rural communities are mainly smallholder farmers. These farmers lack access to sustainable market opportunities and receive poor prices for their produce and products because of their inconsistent relationships with buyers; this limits their income.

Farmers also find it challenging to access agricultural inputs, and the technology and financing they need to adapt to the impacts of climate change and maintain consistent production.

Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have access to growing markets but lack the quality supply from SEs to meet this demand. They are also often unable to take advantage of market opportunities as they lack access to business support services, investment capital and other forms of financing. Women-led SMEs and SEs face increased challenges in these areas due to existing gender inequalities and barriers.

Production Facility

Strategy

To effectively strengthen Kenyan SMEs and SEs and achieve its goal of improved incomes, M-SAWA works in collaboration with key actors in the Kenyan business eco-system including: lead firms (LFs), business associations, business development service (BDS) providers, private equity investment (PEI) funds, and the government of Kenya.

LFs are SMEs who are willing to invest in their own business growth, as well as activities that improve the capacity of their suppliers and distributors. MEDA leverages these existing relationships and market incentives, working through LFs to support grant initiatives benefiting the LFs and the SEs and SMEs within their supply/distribution chains. This may include out-grower schemes, price discounts on green technology, formation of alliances for collective marketing, and improved environmental and gender practices. Similar grants are offered to business associations to address shared supply chain constraints.

In addition, MEDA aims to improve performance of SMEs by co-funding the provision of business consulting services with Kenyan BDS providers and investment firms including Lundin Foundation. M-SAWA increases access to finance through partnering with Business Partners International (BPI) to offer investment capital as well as providing referrals for SMEs interested in accessing debt or equity financing to investment partners and financial service providers.

M-SAWA 

Funders

Canada Logo

Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

Partners

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Myanmar

Smiling Entrepreneur

Myanmar

Advance

2017 - 2020

MEDA in partnership with Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) aims to improve smallholder farming practices through training and demonstration plots, and facilitate market linkages to support farmers to sell their produce.

Overview

Advance

The ADVANCE Myanmar partnership pilots the development of a new regional market for East West Seed (EWS), an international seed supplier in Kayin, Myanmar, primarily using a ‘woman lead farmer’ model.

Goal

This initiative aims to improve smallholder farming practices through training and demonstration plots, and facilitate market linkages to support farmers to sell their produce.

Reach

Through MEDA’s Improving Market Opportunities for Women (IMOW) project, MEDA is currently active in 29 villages in Kayin, improving rice production and working closely with the private sector. EWS is working with over 4,000 smallholder farmers in other parts of Myanmar, and across South East and South Asia.

Context

Due to more than sixty years of armed conflict, Kayin State in Southern Myanmar has been isolated and economically disadvantaged from other regions of Myanmar. As a result, Kayin State has high levels of outward migration to Thailand and many internally displaced populations (IDPs) scattered throughout the country, as well as lacking critical infrastructure and access to government support services. In agriculture, this includes lack of extension agent capacity to train farmers on improved agricultural practices and little means to provide incentives for agriculture sector development. However, the motivation to do something productive with the land is high, as government has stressed that land which is not used for a beneficial purpose may be confiscated and allocated for other interests. With many refugees and IDP’s moving back to the area to reclaim land and pursue greater incomes and livelihoods, local vegetable agriculture has an opportunity to grow in the region and stem the tide of agricultural imports from Thailand.

Opportunity

EWS already has good market share for its vegetable seed sales in Myanmar, however, not across all parts of the country. This initiative allows EWS to grow its seed sales in a new state, which is rebuilding following 60 years of armed conflict. Supply chain actors, including input suppliers, traders and wholesalers will benefit from the availability of new products and business opportunities. Around 6,000 farmers will increase their productivity and incomes through access to new, higher yielding vegetable seed varieties and the use of better farming techniques.

Group of People

Strategy

The ADVANCE Myanmar partnership pilots the development of a new regional market for East West Seed (EWS), an international seed supplier in Kayin, Myanmar, primarily using a ‘woman lead farmer’ model. This initiative aims to improve smallholder farming practices through training and demonstration plots, and facilitate market linkages to support farmers to sell their produce.


This initiative brings together two organizations already active in agriculture in Myanmar: EWS and MEDA. Through MEDA’s Improving Market Opportunities for Women (IMOW) project, MEDA is currently active in 29 villages in Kayin, improving rice production and working closely with the private sector. EWS is working with over 4,000 smallholder farmers in other parts of Myanmar, and across South East and South Asia.


This initiative promotes women’s economic empowerment by improving female farmers’ as well as male farmers’ knowledge and practices in growing market vegetables and forming new market linkages for the sale of their products. In addition, it enhances women’s voices in community leadership by promoting lead farmers and sales agents.


Partnership Aims

  • EWS Seed varieties are widely available in Kayin to smallholder producers
  • A market has developed for high quality seeds and other agri-inputs in Kayin
  • Farmers have increased access to quality farm inputs and information, including sustainable agricultural production practices
  • The women lead farmer inclusive approach is well documented with lessons learned shared with key stakeholders in Myanmar on how to integrate women farmers in pre-farm gate and market activities

Funder

Project undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

MEDA Partners

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Nicaragua

Smiling Entrepreneur
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Nicaragua

Moving Towards Inclusive Prosperity in Nicaragua's Agri-Food and Export Sectors(Technolinks+)

2016 - 2022

MEDA, the Institute of Agricultural Technology, and the Ministry of Local Economy are collaborating to accelerate Nicaraguan small farmers’ and agri-food processors’ adoption of productive technologies needed to increase harvest, improve produce quality and grow overall farm profitability, at the enterprise and export supply chain levels.

Overview

Technolinks+

Our Technolinks+ project will increase the access to technologies for small-scale farmers agribusiness and cooperatives through innovative electronic voucher discount and matching grants mechanism to develop their businesses and improve technology use.

Goal

The goal of the Technolinks+ project is to accelerate Nicaraguan small farmers’ and agri-food processors’ adoption of more productive technologies. The project will Improve the entrepreneurial capacity of producers, agribusinesses and cooperatives through better access to innovative, environmentally sustainable technologies, using incentives, investments and market linkages.

Reach

The project will support 35,000 women and men smallholder farmers, 85 agribusinesses and cooperatives, and public institutions, by increasing awareness and capacity to promote and deliver productive and environmentally sustainable agricultural technologies and services at all levels of the supply chain.

Context

Nicaragua continues to be one of the least developed countries in Latin America, but is also a country with a resilient history and well known because its productive culture. In Nicaragua, more than 55% of people in poverty live in rural areas. Agriculture is essential for the Nicaraguan economy and comprises 19% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The low levels of agricultural exports in relation to its Central American neighbors indicate a substantial low yield, as well as an investment opportunity for its development.

Opportunity

Low farm and enterprise productivity is partly attributable to inadequate use and access to technology. As found in the 2011 Fourth Agriculture Census, only one to 2% of Nicaraguan small-scale farmers have access to basic technologies, such as improved seeds and irrigation.

Technology finance for farmers and enterprises is also in short supply. Equipment distributors and agri-food processors with growth potential find it difficult to access the capital, technical and mentoring assistance they need to grow into vibrant, competitive engines of equitable growth. Nicaragua needs to spur export growth, and thereby sustainably expand livelihood opportunities for small-scale farmers with special attention to women producers.

Group of People

Strategy

The Technolinks+ project is enhancing the entrepreneurial and business capacities of farmers, processors and distributors by providing better access to innovative, environmentally-sustainable technologies, matching grants and links to markets.


Project will raise awareness of the need for the creation and access of productive agriculture and food processing technologies at all levels of the supply chain. Key activities include:


  1. Increased agricultural productivity, profitability and adoption of technologies by women and men farmers
  2. Increased agricultural output, profitability and adoption of agriculture and food processing technologies by distributors and food processors
  3. Agriculture and food processing technologies effectively promoted by public and private partner institutions
  4. Provide participating businesses with customized business development services to improve productivity, build market linkages, and stimulate business growth.
  5. Establish coordination mechanisms with government entities to promote the adoption of new technologies and environmentally-friendly production methods and create sustainability.]

The project aims to achieve sustainable results through a blend partnerships with like-minded stakeholders and technical capacity-building investments aimed at progressively empowering local stakeholders to embrace project methods.


Technolinks+ will employ the use of smart incentives to induce and accelerate technology investment amongst targeted smallholder farmers and enterprise clients. The two primary incentives will be electronic vouchers directed at smallholder farmers and matching grants for distributors and processors. Opportunities for developing third-party financing mechanisms for farmers will also be pursued n partnership with financial institutions in Nicaragua.

Funder

Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

Partners

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Pakistan

Entrepreneurs in Field

Pakistan

Partnerships and Value Expansion for Inclusive Seed Systems (PAVE)

2017-2020

MEDA is assisting the Engro Foundation to test, validate and pilot an innovative inclusive seed business model by building capacity of more than 4,000 women and men smallholder farmers on seed production of rice, wheat and vegetables.

Overview

PAVE

PAVE aims to create a more equitable seed system in Pakistan by training and building capacity of smallholder farmers as seed producers and entrepreneurs. In addition to market linkage expansion for multi-seed crops, MEDA assists Engro in conducting capacity building trainings and gender inclusion

Goal

The goal of the PAVE project is to increase the income of smallholder farmers (SMFs) by sharing the value of growing seed-multiplication crops and selling their seed to processors at a higher price. The project partners with Engro to help them increase seed sales and broaden seed procurement by incorporating SMFs into its seed multiplication network.

Reach

The PAVE project will build capacity of more than 4,000 smallholder men and women farmers on the use of quality certified seed use and seed multiplication through training, connecting them to Engro registered seed suppliers and developing enterprising smallholder farmers as master trainers or seed entrepreneurs to produce their own quality farm-saved seed for further exchange, distribution and selling among the fellow farmers in nearby villages

Context

In Pakistan, 75% of seed in the seed system/value chain is uncertified and sold through informal channels. Although seed is the principle input in crop production, on which the quality of the produce largely depends, the majority of seed supply does not meet the minimum criteria of purity and quality, resulting in poor yields and poor quality harvests. This low-quality seed is primarily used by the smallholder farmers, who constitute 80% of the farmers in Pakistan, while the remaining 20% use the high quality, certified seed produced by seed companies in collaboration with big resourceful farmers. For these resource-poor and risk-averse smallholders to prosper, it is vital to build their capacity as users and producers of quality seed first.

Opportunity

PAVE Pakistan seeks to increase participation of men and women smallholder farmers in the seed value chain and enhance livelihoods, skills, expertise, seed mindedness, crop yields, farming practices and empowerment. The project targets more than 200 villages in Districts of Sheikhupura/Gujranwala in Punjab and integrate 4,000 small-holder farmers into the seed value chain out of which 400 will be women farmers.

This initiative addresses the agricultural seed business for rice, wheat and vegetables. The total industry size for seeding Pakistan is about Rs. 124 billion or AUD $1.5 billion (informal industry Rs. 70 billion and formal industry Rs. 54 billion). The social challenge is that small-holder farmers including women farmers are excluded from this value chain. More than 500 private sector seed companies and large public sector seed corporations are the exclusive seed producers in the country who have developed about 15,000-20,000 seed minded farmers in Punjab. These large-scale, commercial farmers dominate the market excluding smallholders completely from any benefits. This presents a great opportunity for commericial seed players to build partnerships with smallholders as customers and producers of quality seed while at the same time making access to modern farming and seed production techniques easier for smallholders.

Smiling Entrepreneur

Strategy

Build the capacity of 4,000 smallholder farmers (including 400 women) around quality certified seed use and seed multiplication. This includes:

  • Implementation of rice and wheat-related Best Crop Management Practices (BCMP) and Seed Production trainings to improve their knowledge, skill set and expertise;
  • Targeted results for improving their practices, adoption, conversion to certified seed use, yields, profitability, income, livelihood, empowerment and entrepreneurship;
  • Increasing the likelihood of participation in seed programmes on a sustainable basis.

Improve the readiness of 1,640 smallholders, to participate in a seed multiplication process to a level that commercial companies find it technically viable to work with them.

Convert 300 smallholder farmers, to registered seed suppliers for Engro’s seed business.

Develop approximately 60 enterprising smallholder farmers as Master Trainers to produce their own quality farm-saved seed for further exchange, distribution and selling among fellow farmers in nearby villages.

Further Reading

Gendered impacts of COVID-19

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a small survey was conducted with married women farmers participating in MEDA’s PAVE project. The purpose of this survey was to understand how life, workloads, and household dynamics of the women farmers have been impacted by COVID-19.

Download Findings

Case Study: Project PAVE

MEDA’s PAVE project aims to broaden and diversify the seed procurement base for rice, wheat and vegetables seeds for Engro Fertilizer’s seed business while improving livelihoods for smallholder farmers. This case study provides best practice examples of shared value in action in Pakistan. The case study highlights how leading with purpose can deliver real and measurable commercial benefits for business.

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System Change Research

This report presents the findings of a qualitative study to measure system level changes that the Partnerships and Value Chain Expansion (PAVE) project created in the seed value chain. The PAVE project is being implemented in two districts of Gujranwala and Sheikhupura of Punjab Province in Pakistan.

Download Findings

Shared Value Blog

The blog highlights how the PAVE (Partnership and Value Expansion) project in Pakistan made a difference in the lives of smallholder farmers while enhancing the seed business value chain.

Read More

PAVE Client Story

Funders

Project undertaken with the financial support of Australian Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Business Partnership Platform

Partner

Engro Foundation

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Senegal

Adaptation and Valorization of Entrepreneurship in Irrigated Agriculture (AVENIR)

2019 - 2024

MEDA and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) are collaborating to promote climate-adapted agricultural production and entrepreneurship in the regions of Tambacounda and Sedhiou, Senegal to improve the socio-economic well-being and resilience of farming households.

Overview

AVENIR

AVENIR stands for Adaptation et Valorisation Entrepreneuriales en Irrigation (et agriculture) Rurales in French, or Adaptation and Valorization of Entrepreneurship in Irrigated Agriculture in English.

Goal

The goal of the AVENIR project is to improve the socio-economic well-being and resilience of farming households, with an emphasis on women and young people, in in the regions of Tambacounda and Sedhiou, Senegal.

Reach

The direct beneficiaries of AVENIR are 10,000 farming households and micro, small & medium enterprises’ (MSMEs) owners. They will receive technical support, grants and technology discounts over the course of the project to build their farming and business capacity. A total of 35,000 individuals are expected to benefit indirectly from the project interventions.

Context

Senegal is one of the most politically stable countries in Africa. However, the country is vulnerable to environmental shocks, particularly floods and droughts, which are expected to increase in magnitude and duration due to increased climate variability. These challenges are exacerbating current stressors on small farms, which is already strained by overexploitation of land, a short rainfall period and degradation of soil.

Opportunity

Smallholder farmers in Senegal struggle to make profits. Women and youth of farming households have limited knowledge of climate-smart agriculture and irrigation practices and limited access to improved inputs, technology and land. Unequal intra-household decision-making, uneven access to finances, land and other natural resources at the household and community levels in addition to time constraints due to household obligations also limit the ability of women and youth to respond to climate change. This is compounded by ineffective coordination across market actors and limited knowledge of farming as a business. In response to these challenges, AVENIR is facilitating opportunities for farmers to improve their agricultural production, increase their income, and accelerate climate-resilient and value-added agricultural development in the country.

Group of People
Group of People

Strategy

The AVENIR project aims to foster socio-economic improvement by promoting market opportunities that increase the profitability of women and youth agroforestry, horticulture and rice value chains. To achieve this goal, AVENIR will:

  1. Promote the sustainable intensification of irrigated and climate-change adapted crops by spreading knowledge of improved land management and farm practices, and high-yield and drought-tolerant seed varieties,
  2. Increase the socio-economic empowerment of women and youth by building farmers and MSMEs capacity to operate agribusinesses, linking farmers to access loans while providing financial incentives to MSMEs and linking them to financial institutions, and enhancing the leadership capacity of women and youth to respond to climate change impacts,
  3. Improve governance and management of water resources by increasing the capacity of local and territorial actors to manage water resources sustainably and equitably with multi-stakeholder platforms.

Funder

Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

Partner

Tanzania

Smiling Entrepreneurs

Tanzania

Building an Economically Sustainable Seed System for Cassava in Tanzania (BEST Cassava)

2017 - 2021

MEDA, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Tanzanian Agriculture Research Institute (TARI), and the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) are collaborating to establish a commercial cassava seed system in Tanzania for smallholder farmers to have timely access to quality-assured, disease-resistant and higher yielding cassava seed varieties in the right quantities at an affordable price.

Overview

BEST Cassava

BEST Cassava stands for Building an Economically Sustainable Seed System for Cassava in Tanzania. The BEST Cassava project is being implemented in 11 regions across three zones (Lake, Eastern and Southern Zone) to benefit smallholder farmers and their households.

Goal

The overall goal of the BEST Cassava project is to increase agricultural productivity and incomes of smallholder cassava farmers through access to improved cassava seed. The adoption of superior cassava seed varieties by cassava farmers will support the production of high-yielding cassava despite the continued presence of diseases.

Reach

The project will support the creation of over 430 Cassava Seed Entrepreneur businesses who will sell quality-assured, disease-resistant and higher yielding cassava seed varieties to over 29,000 smallholder farmers over the life of the project.

Context

Cassava is a vital crop for millions of smallholder farmers in Tanzania. Cassava has been transitioning from a staple crop to a commercial crop generating economically sustainable livelihoods for farmers and is therefore increasingly crucial for agricultural sector transformation. The Lake, Southern and Eastern Zones are major cassava growing regions in Tanzania whose farmers historically experience low yielding varieties, viral disease outbreaks and the use of poor agricultural practices.

Opportunity

With climate variability, cassava has proven to be among the most resilient crops, lowering the risks for farmers associated with higher rain dependent crops. However, pests and diseases cause production loss of up to 80% in Tanzania. Specifically, Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) spread across cassava fields by whiteflies as well as by farmers sharing diseased cassava seeds unknowingly with each other. These challenges create opportunities to build a commercial supply of improved, higher yielding varieties that are certified as virus free so farmers can invest in more profitable and reliable cassava farms.

Group of People

Strategy

The BEST Cassava project addresses the lack of sustainable clean seed availability by establishing an affordable and accessible commercialized cassava seed system for producing quality-assured planting material of improved, disease-resistant varieties while boosting incomes of smallholder farmers. This will be achieved through the following interventions:

  • Increase use of (cost-effective) superior, disease-resistant cassava varieties preferred by smallholder farmers and other commercial seed supply chain stakeholders
  • Strengthen enabling government institutions collaborating with the private sector to provide an environment for scaling seed delivery from research through to farmers and to establish guidelines for quality certification • Increased capacity of the private sector to develop a vibrant, commercialized cassava seed supply chain

Funders

Project undertaken with the financial support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Partners

IITA Logo TARI Logo TOSCI Logo

Tanzania

Smiling Entrepreneurs

Tanzania

Enabling Growth Through Investment and Enterprise (ENGINE)

2016 - 2020

The ENGINE project will increase private sector investment leading to inclusive, broad-based economic growth in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT).

Overview

ENGINE

ENGINE is an acronym that stands for, "Enabling Growth Through Investment and Enterprise."

Goal

The ENGINE project will increase private sector investment leading to inclusive, broad-based economic growth in Tanzania.

Reach

The project will support the 60 business development service (BDS) providers through the development of an eVoucher platform and will will leverage the expertise of 24 North American-based business experts as volunteers in Tanzania.

Strategy

MEDA will be responsible to facilitate the growth and capacity building of a sustainable market for business development service (BDS) providers, resulting in at least 60 BDS providers becoming sustainable. MEDA will support the breadth of BDS services through the development of an eVoucher platform. ENGINE will also employ smart incentives to encourage BDS providers to work with women and youth-owned small-medium entrepreneurs (SMEs). Finally, MEDA will leverage the expertise of 24 North American-based business experts as volunteers in Tanzania.

Funder

USAID Logo

Project undertaken with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

RAPID Banana Project

Tanzania and Uganda

RAPID BANANA

2019-2022

MEDA, Context Global Development (CGD) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are collaborating to commercialize seed multiplication technologies, and new models that drive private sector investment into banana seed systems in Tanzania and Uganda.

Overview

RAPID

The project name “RAPID” is an acronym derived from elements of the project title: RTB (Roots, Tubers & Bananas) Accelerator for rapid Propagation Innovations and Distribution of seeds.

Goal

The goal of RAPID Banana is to get new and improved, higher yielding varieties of banana to farmers in Uganda and Tanzania at an accessible and affordable price.

Reach

The direct beneficiaries of the investment are the 10-15 banana/vegetatively propagated crops (VPC) grantee companies that receive both capital investment and technical assistance over the course of the project. There will be additional beneficiaries related to the increased capacity of these companies including employees and their families.

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Tanzania

Entrepreneurs at work
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Tanzania

Strengthening Small Business Value Chains (SSBVC)

2015 - 2021

MEDA in partnership with Global Affairs Canada, is working with 22,500 men and women small entrepreneurs (SEs), 225 small growing businesses (SGBs) and 30 lead firms in the manufacturing, agriculture, and construction sectors to grow their businesses and increase their contribution to rural economies in the Arusha, Morogoro, and Mtwara corridors of Tanzania.

Overview

SSBVC

SSBVC is an acronym for our Strengthening Small Business Value Chains project. Our SSBVC project is partnering with 30 lead firms, competitive business that are market-driven, profit oriented, and sustainable in the Arusha, Morogoro, and Mtwara corridors of Tanzania.

Goal

SSBVC will improve business performance of SEs supplying goods and services to lead firms; improve business performance of SGBs supplying goods and services in response to market opportunities; and improve rural business environment to facilitate sustainable business.

Reach

The SSBVC project is working with 22,500 men and women small entrepreneurs (SEs) and 225 small growing businesses (SGBs) in the manufacturing, agriculture, and construction sectors to grow their businesses and increase their contribution to rural economies in Tanzania.

Context

Despite efforts between 2007 and 2016 that have reduced the country’s poverty rate from 34.4% to 26.8%, the absolute number of poor people has held at about 13 million due to high population growth. Tanzania has a strong dependence on agriculture and agro-processing which makes the economy highly vulnerable to weather shocks and fluctuating commodity prices. 76% of Tanzania's population rely on agriculture. Due to the lack of knowledge and infrastructure to develop and implement new agricultural technology; droughts, floods, or temperature shocks can severely damage the living standards.

Opportunity

Tanzania is a diverse low-income country of around 56 million people with a steadily growing economy, sustaining relatively high economic growth over the last decade, averaging 6-7% a year; yet businesses and entrepreneurs of all levels continue to struggle to meaningfully contribute to the economy. Small businesses and entrepreneurs face constraints with access to information on markets, strict regulatory environment, access to new and environmentally sustainable technology, and access to appropriate financial products.

Smiling Entrepreneur

Strategy

SSBVC’s lead firm methodology leverages impact using a top-down approach, working via established and growth-oriented businesses to create and sustain business ecosystems. Via these lead firms, the project reach not only facilitates growth (infrastructure, technology, formalization) for these businesses, but to their whole supply chain – from small entrepreneurs to expanded end markets. Over the life of the project SSBVC will provide sustainable Innovation Grants to 30 lead firms who further impact to 22,500 small entrepreneurs; facilitate business services to 225 SGBs; mobilize 60 business alliances fostering formalization and collaboration; partner with business enabling environment stakeholders to improve business environment and facilitate stakeholder dialogue; work with financial institutions to improve financial services; and to leverage a $1 million innovative investment solution to support at least $4 million in lease financing.

Strengthening Small Business Value Chains

Funder

Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

RAPID Banana Project

Tanzania and Uganda

RAPID BANANA

2019-2022

MEDA, Context Global Development (CGD) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are collaborating to commercialize seed multiplication technologies, and new models that drive private sector investment into banana seed systems in Tanzania and Uganda.

Overview

RAPID

The project name “RAPID” is an acronym derived from elements of the project title: RTB (Roots, Tubers & Bananas) Accelerator for rapid Propagation Innovations and Distribution of seeds.

Goal

The goal of RAPID Banana is to get new and improved, higher yielding varieties of banana to farmers in Uganda and Tanzania at an accessible and affordable price.

Reach

The direct beneficiaries of the investment are the 10-15 banana/vegetatively propagated crops (VPC) grantee companies that receive both capital investment and technical assistance over the course of the project. There will be additional beneficiaries related to the increased capacity of these companies including employees and their families.

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Ukraine Horticulture Business Development Project

Ukraine

Woman with Produce
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Ukraine Horticulture Business Development Project

Ukraine

Ukraine Horticulture Business Development Project

2014 - 2021

MEDA, with partners are collaborating to develop the horticultural sector and increase incomes for 44,000 smallholder horticultural small and medium businesses in the Odesa, Mykolaiv, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine.

Overview

UHBDP

This project is a 7-year initiative to improve the horticultural market system for small farmers and entrepreneurs in southern Ukraine. UHBDP bridges the gap between Ukraine’s elementary agricultural business practices and low yields with technological incentives, e-commerce platforms, business skills training and provide market linkages to increase yields and incomes.

Goal

To improve the livelihoods of 44,000 men and women farmers by boosting their annual sales to $40 million USD, and build production to 50,000 tones.

Reach

Activities have reached a total of 45,000 men and women horticultural farmers and small businesses. Farmers are reached through financial incentives, grants, e-commerce sales, digital promotion platforms, business skills development organizations, and vocational internships from local agricultural universities.

Context

Despite southern Ukraine’s vast agricultural and human resources, and the important role agriculture contributes to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment - government policy reforms have remained stagnant. This gap, combined with poor business and production practices, and inadequate sales models has resulted in low crop yields, earnings per hectare and family incomes.

Opportunity

The main challenges faced by horticultural small businesses in southern Ukraine include poor business and production techniques and inadequate sales models; resulting in low household incomes. This challenge is compounded by poor environmental practices that hinder agricultural development and deplete soil fertility resulting in adverse effects on food safety and food security.

Women face additional challenges due to lack of access to information on harvest, post-harvest, and market knowledge along with reduced access to materials supplied by men service agents. This leads to poor agricultural practices from women, who are involved in day-to-day labour and farm operations.

These challenges provide UHBDP with the opportunity to engage directly with men and women farmers and small businesses to build capacity in gender and environmental sustainability – along with better business practices.

Group of People

Strategy

This project aims to meet these opportunities through the following interventions: improve business and production performance of value chain actors, empower small businesses to buy and sell to farmers, and help business service providers, financial service providers, and training institutions to more effectively reach their customers.

UHBDP seeks to address and improve the challenges in Ukraine’s horticulture economic systems by:

  • Increasing production, harvest and post-harvest capabilities by hosting educational events on various production, harvest and post-harvest topics including environmental best practices and gender equality
  • Providing a purchase incentive fund by partnering with twenty-three companies to implement e-Voucher program for environmental certification and sustainable materials, products and services.
  • Fostering environmental sustainable production practices to producers trained on environmentally sustainable practices through online and face-to-face events
  • Building business capabilities and market linkages to partner with lead firms and farmer cooperatives to increase sales during the harvest seasons and build their organizational capacity among small farmers and entrepreneurs.

Project Updates

More from Ukraine

Funder

Global Affairs Canada

MEDA Partners

MASHAV, MEGA Bank, Zemlya Tavrii, LASKA Fund, ORACS (Odesa Regional Agricultural Consultancy Services), UWFC (Ukrainian Women Farmer’s Council), Agro-Tavria, and five local technical universities.

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