Increasing smallholder incomes
One of AGRA's goals is to increase smallholder incomes and livelihoods by working with Farmer Organizations (FOs) to provide demand-driven, income-enhancing services to their members.
A Farmer Organization Support Centre in Africa (FOSCA) was set up to help meet this goal by:
- Identifying a robust network of FOs in AGRA's Priority 1 countries and identifying income-enhancing needs of the FO members
- Increasing the supply of relevant services available to FOs
- Linking FOs with service providers and private sector players to enable FOs to deliver income gains for their members
- Documenting lessons, evaluating outcomes, and building the knowledge base on FOs in sub-Sahara Africa (SSA)
The work of FOSCA is grounded in a number of strategic and operational collaborations with AGRA's programs and partners:
FOs prioritized by FOSCA are partners or potential partners in existing AGRA and BMGF grants.
The initial pilot activities will be those working with the World Food Program's (WFP) Purchase for Progress (P4P), AGRA's Market Access and Soil Health Programs.
A number of grants have already been made during the course of the first year, in partnership with AGRA for:
- Support to aggregation for smallholder commercialization;
- Support to medium and large scale farms;
- Development of upstream activities and value addition in the livestock sector.
A number of horizontal intervention areas that cut across the different value chains have been identified including: Access to inputs, markets, extensions, and finance and farmer organizations.
FOSCA will pair its coordinator for managing knowledge with AGRA's M&E team to define agreed criteria and then work to generate new data as well as collate existing information.
Sharing knowledge with other AGRA programs
The program will work closely with AGRA's Extension and Gender Officers, to facilitate greater synergy learning and sharing with other AGRA programs.
This approach will ensure that the investments in other existing programs in the areas of Seeds, Soil Health and Markets Access are enhanced by more effective and efficient FOs capable of translating inputs to impact.
AGRA's Breadbasket Approach provides new opportunities of bringing about more alignment and integration between AGRA's investments and the interventions of national governments and other development partners. In this context of place-based programming, FOSCA will contribute to the development of a network of smallholders support facilities to facilitate smallholders' access to inputs, services and market.
The way forward
FOSCA's activities in the target countries will be informed by AGRA's overall approach to place-based programming through its breadbasket approach. The goal is to bring about an integrated transformation of staple crop value chains in targeted areas selected in FOSCA's priority countries.
The major investment thrusts envisaged include the following:
Facilitation of learning and exchanges of experiences through site visits, learning trips and direct engagements between FOSCA's partners and members of the Advisory Group.