Despite the setbacks of three destructive cyclones in the regions of BAGC operations plus the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic – the programme has been able to record some striking results that have had positive impacts on both farmers and their families as well as agro-dealers and our commercial partners.
Productivity and financial viability
2021 saw the programme working with 19 farmer associations involving nearly 1,000 households. This number was lower than targets due to several irrigation schemes still requiring rehabilitation particularly around the Buzi schemes. However, two new irrigation schemes at Chiringanzou and 7 Abril 2 were brought back into operation allowed the project to increase farmer crop volumes on a further 700 ha of irrigable land.
The total area planted has increased significantly particularly for winter crops – boosted mainly by irrigation schemes coming back on track after rehabilitation.
Productivity in plots with full Partnership inputs support have continued to yield results that on average were 25-30% higher than those managed by associations using few or no inputs. Farmers are realizing higher yields in particular from tomatoes, potatoes, cabbages, maize, cucumber carrots and peppers although they are not always hitting targets set at the beginning of the project.
At least four larger offtakers have shown interest and could absorb most of the horticultural production from the schemes, since the demand outpaces current production. The four offtakers buy around 390 mts of fresh vegetables per month from the market.
BAGC has also identified an array of small to medium sized traders operating from main consumption centres that are interested in securing supplies from the supported irrigation schemes on a regular basis. Currently ten informal agricultural commodities buyers have been identified of which six are from Katanga, three from Markets in Chimoio City, and one from Guro District North of Manica Province.
Green mealies are a major commodity sold by smallholders with a revival in markets (smaller ad hoc earning them around $220,00 in cash sales) during 2021. Other reliable markets in 2021 were found for cabbages, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions all of which saw increases in cash sales for farmers compared to 2020.
Recent discussions with Freshmark/Shoprite have been encouraging and more specific details on volumes, types and delivery details are now in place. Quantities are still small, however BAGC is following up on this and supporting specific farmers to develop a production and harvesting scheme that is reliable and meets the needs of Shoprite.
Access to finance
BAGC sees securing financial services for farmers and other agribusiness operators as a key aspect of its work. Two key developments in this area include:
- An MOU with the IFAD funded Rural Enterprise Finance Project under which it will facilitate access by rural business operators to financial products by developing business plans for financing.
- An MOU with the World Bank’s Smallholder Irrigated Agriculture and Market Access Project- IRRIGA 1. The project has a number of financing instruments that are targeting the irrigation schemes. Grants can be made available to farmers for items such as small storage and primary packing sheds. There is also an eVoucher system being put in place for farmers to purchase inputs from agrodealers.
AFAP has developed and introduced an inputs startup kit facility for selected agro-dealers under the Inputs Partnership. This is matched with the provision of inputs on revolving credit consignment by Yara, Bayer and K2Seeds. To date the total volume of seeds supplied under the programme is about 6 mt however seed supplied on credit consignment has almost doubled. Similarly, Yara fertilizer supplied under consignment credit has nearly quadrupled with Yara increasing the revolving credit limit for each agrodealer selected for the programme. A particular agrodealer within the programme has seen their credit limit increased to $50,000.
In total, agro dealers doubled their sales in 2021, compared to a year earlier.
Subsequently, the participating inputs partners registered average annual sale increases of about 37%. And in terms of value the small businesses registered annual increases of 45%. Due mainly to price increases particularly for fertilizers which rose three-fold in 2021. These price rises (due mainly to globally high gas prices) has had a knock on effect of lowering sales of fertilisers as can be seen from the 2021 figures. It is not expected to improve in 2022.