UKaid-West Africa Food Markets Programme builds capacity of Grantees and Policy Advocacy Stakeholders
On 16th and 17th November 2017, West Africa Food Market Programme (WAFM) organized a two day retreat and capacity building workshop in Accra for 33 of its stakeholders from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Nigeria who are involved in value chain activities of Sorghum, Millet, Maize and Cassava as well stakeholders who are promoting regulatory and policy reforms in food trade among these countries.
The overall objective of the retreat was to build the capacity of agribusinesses-beneficiaries of WAFM Challenge Fund Grants, in the four focus countries of the project and policy influencers in addressing the challenges of food insecurity and trade. The WAFM Challenge Fund Grantees are involved in production, processing, warehousing, distribution and cross-border trade of Sorghum, Millet, Maize and Cassava across two major trading corridors: Ghana-Burkina Faso and Nigeria-Niger.
In the opening remarks, the WAFM Team Leader, Dr. Terence Lacey, underscored the importance of agriculture to the economic development of developing countries. “WAFM is contributing to boosting the purchasing power and the resilience of farmers and people to hunger and malnutrition in targeted countries”, Dr. Lacey stated. He further added that there is the need to increase food production, improve the value chain to ensure smooth agricultural trade on the major transit trade corridors and with particular attention to Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and address Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs).
WAFM Challenge Fund Grantees who attended the retreat include Premium Foods Limited, AMYA Agro Plus and KEDAN Limited (from Ghana); AFEX Commodities Exchange, Psaltry International Limited, AACE Foods Limited (from Nigeria); ADS Burkina, Neema Agricole du Faso SA (NAFASO), Faso Agriculture Intrants (FAGRI) (from Burkina Faso) and Federation des Cooperatives Maraicheres (FCMN) and Entreprise de Transformation Céréalière (ETC) (from Niger).
Mr. Akinyinka D. Akintunde, the Business Development Manager at the Nigerian-based AFEX Commodities Exchange, views this retreat as timely due to the current proactive approach being embraced by the WAFM Programme saying “end-to-end linkage of players in the value chain has greatly boosted our business”.
Ukaid-WAFM and partners advocates smooth cross-border transit for food staples
West Africa Food Markets Programme (WAFM), in collaboration with Borderless Alliance, and Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) organized a Road Governance Caravan event in Ghana as part of the project’s Policy Facility to influence tariffs and para-tariffs policies affecting agricultural trade in road transport. The event attracted more than 350 stakeholders including transport operators, staple food traders, border authorities (Police and Customs) and local government officials along the 800km Tema to Paga road corridor. The caravan in addition, received support from USAID ADVANCE project, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, USAID West Africa Trade and Investments Hub, and the Ghana Shippers Authority. Issues were highlighted by participants as areas of major concern along the Ghanaian Corridors:
- Techiman-Kintampo road continues to be a hotspot for illicit payments and unscrupulous behaviour by uniformed services.
- Transit trucks departing from the Port of Tema has a 7-day mandatory period to exit the Ghana through the authorised borders. Failure of which Ghana Customs charges GHS1, 000.00 (One thousand Ghana Cedis) as penalty from the 8th day which has become an issue of protest by transporters and traders.
- Vehicle height should be made very clear to traders, drivers and truck operators at the entry and exit points, in order to avoid unnecessary confrontations with Police and infrastructure damage
- The Ghana Police is mandated to provide escort service for traders due to reported robbery cases on that stretch of the corridor. However, the Techiman and Kintampo police officers were reported of refusing to provide escort for traders and transit cargos despite collecting money for the escort service.
- Techiman women maize traders complained of lack of point of contact or hotline to reach to authorities whenever they are faced with obstacles and problems from Burkinabe customs and security officials.
- Ghana Customs directive prohibiting ‘’ illegal freight forwarders’’ at Paga border from processing documents on goods in transit, has created congestion, delays at the border. The situation has been reported to the Customs for it to be addressed.
Challenge Fund-Success Story
Psaltry International: promoting rural transformation through service linkages
With support of UKaid-funded West Africa Food Markets Programme, Psaltry International has developed a fully inclusive business model with smallholder farmers communities and has demonstrated that community focused businesses have the capacity to transform agricultural value chains.
Psaltry’s Business Model
Psaltry International Limited located in Oyo State, Nigeria, was established in 2005 and produces high quality cassava starch and vitamin fortified gari. The company currently works with 5,000 farm families comprising 2,000 outgrowers, providing them with services such as training, extension, access to credit and market for their produce.
The company is providing value chain services to the famers including supply of pro- vitamin ‘A’ cassava stems developed by International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and distributed in conjunction with IFDC for cultivation on 5,000 hectares of land to feed the gari processing factory.
Psaltry is situated among 12 farming communities in Oyo State with a population of about 15,000 people. Even though there is great potential for agricultural production, the lack of basic infrastructure, access to inputs and markets limited negatively affected farming until
The company successfully applied for a WAFM grant, to provide value chain services to smallholder farmers involved in the company’s Cassava Nucleus Estate Development. Un- der the project, Psaltry provides input financing, extension services, farm business development, assured market for farmer’s produce, and transportation arrangements to farmers. Psaltry has, with WAFM’s support, introduced the processing and marketing of pro- vitamin ‘A’ cassava roots from its farms and those of smallholder farmers into gari, 50% of which will eventually be sold to customers in Niger.
From 500 outgrower farmers cultivating about 2,000 hectares, the company is working towards its target of 5,000 hectares involving 5,000 farmers by the end of planned WAFM involvement in 2019. The project would also provide social amenities such as water facilities, schools, health centers, training centers and various empowerment programmes for the farmers.
Key results to date
- Additional 1,852 smallholder farmers receiving services from Psaltry as a result of WAFM’s grant
- Increase of farmer profits by 124% on average
- Around 80% of smallholder farmers changed their behavior following the training on Good Agricultural Practices.
“Incomes are improving not only for the smallholder farmers, but also for people associated with the value chain. The character of the community is changing for the better.” Busari Duada, Local Chief of Alayide Community on whose land the company is situated
Some initial results
The WAFM grant helped Psaltry to establish a modern gari processing factory in the community to process vitamin ‘A’ fortified cassava into gari. Water, supplied from a borehole, is checked constantly for quality and waste from factory is recycled to water vegetables gardens and sediments used for animal feeding.
The WAFM grant also enabled Psaltry to provide services to an additional 1,852 smallholder farmers. These include mechanizati on services, inputs supply and training. It also helped Psaltry to establish modern farm estates, bringing many farmers into one location, and facilitating access to land by women and youth. Farmers are increasing the sizes of their farms to take advantage of the market opportunities that Psaltry provides while training on proper agronomic practices and use of high-yielding varieties. Farmer profits have in- creased by 124% on average according Ifeolu Bangboye, the Agriculture Officer at Psaltry.
The training and extension services provided by PIL have contributed to changes in farm practices in the community. According to Gbohalan Taye, a farmer in Ogun Estate, about 80% of them changed their behavior following the training and the supply of improved varieties received from Psaltry.
In addition to on-farm extension, Psaltry also airs a radio programme to educate the farmers on best agricultural practices, and facili- tates smallholder farmer access to loans without the need for a guarantor.
Psaltry’s Impact and WAFM’s Objectives
The impact can be seen both at the farmer and at the community level. Farmers are increasing the sizes of their farms to take ad- vantage of the market opportunities that Psaltry provides, while training on good agronomic practices and use of high -yielding varieties is leading to increased yields and incomes.
At the community level, impacts can be seen in terms of infrastructure, water supply, roads and education. According to Busari Duada, the Local Chief of Alayide Community, prior to Psaltry’s arrival there were only 4 trucks in the community. There are now 250 trucks and 50 tractors. In the same period rents have increased from £1.5 per month for a room to £5.5 per month. From building mu d houses, the standard is now concrete houses. The community’s water supply, roads and education system have also transformed.
The Psaltry project contributes to improvements in community livelihoods that the WAFM programme ultimately seeks. Through the Psaltry model, smallholder farmers have the opportunity not only to improve productivity and production, but also incomes, through direct sales into an assured market. The company encourages the farmers to retain some of the produce for their own consumption and food security.
The skills and extension services provided by Psaltry is also transferable to the production of other food crops to further strengthen food security. Selling into an assured, stable market has also led to assured incomes and is strengthening the resilience of the farmers through the additional assets they are acquiring in the community. In future, the model will sell into cross border markets with Niger and others in the region.