Almost 730, 000 smallholder farmers in Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania could soon benefit from a new, US$15.5 million programme that aims to improve their productivity and incomes.
The programme, which involves partnership between Kenya-headquartered Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and The MasterCard Foundation in Canada, will promote investments in post-harvest handling (PHH) technologies and access to storage facilities to help uplift farmers from poverty.
“Through small and medium enterprises, farmers will also gain access to cold storage facilities, cleaning and drying machines and licensed warehouses as well as processing technologies.” Agnes Kalibata, AGRA President said.
“Through small and medium enterprises, farmers will also gain access to cold storage facilities, cleaning and drying machines and licensed warehouses as well as processing technologies such as cassava chippers [and] graters,” Agnes Kalibata added.
Access to these technologies, Kalibata tells SciDev.Net, will help farmers reduce post-harvest losses from 30 to five per cent thereby increasing sellable volumes and farmers’ income.
“In addition, we have recently formed a partnership with PHH solutions providers such as cocoons and metal silos manufacturers and distributors to address post-harvest issues resulting from Tanzania bumper harvest,” she added.
The five-year partnership, she explains, will have AGRA as a grant-making institution to stakeholders such as agricultural value chain actors for capacity building and development and implementation of effective, robust and low-cost information and communication technology (ICT)-based delivery mechanisms.
“We believe that making it possible for smallholder farmers and small to medium-sized enterprises to access credit, savings, and insurance services, and helping them connect to strong market value chains, is critical to driving transformation of the agricultural sector in Africa,” said Ann Miles, director of financial inclusion at The MasterCard Foundation, in a statement. “This initiative should result in real change to the lives of many people in these three countries.”
AGRA will also leverage its seed systems, market access, farmer organisation, policy and advocacy and innovative finance to enhance the productivity, incomes and food security of smallholder farmers, says Kalibata.