Value Chain Approach Key for Fighting Hunger and Poverty in Tanzania
Lasting change doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, development interventions that are intended to generate quick results have the potential to undermine local capacity and sustainability.
So how do development practitioners reconcile the short-term need to show “quick wins” with the long-term goal of sustainable food security and economic growth?
ACDI/VOCA’s Lee Rosner addressed this question at a May 22 Microlinks Breakfast Seminar titled “Balancing Quick Wins with Sustainability: Feed the Future’s NAFAKA Project in Tanzania.”
Feed the Future Program Focuses on Sustainable Food Security and Economic Growth
Rosner is the chief of party on the USAID-funded Tanzania Staples Value Chain Project (NAFAKA), which is one of a number of projects in the Feed the Future program in Tanzania.
Maby Palmisano, ACDI/VOCA’s senior director of monitoring and evaluation, joined Rosner to explain how program indicators, targets and milestones were determined, how they are being tracked and how the data will be used for learning purposes.
Laying Groundwork to Benefit Smallholder Farmers
NAFAKA integrates agricultural, gender and nutritional development approaches to improve smallholder farmers’ productivity and profitability in the maize and rice sectors. In its first year, the program was required to demonstrate quick results while laying the groundwork for long-term local capacity development.
“How do we ensure sustainability when there’s so much pressure for quick wins?” Rosner asked. “We can’t say you can’t have both. We have to have both.”
Value Chain Methodology Nurtures Local Private Sector
The value chain approach plays a key role in achieving both objectives. Following this methodology, ACDI/VOCA employs a “light touch,” encourages ownership of reforms and leverages private sector interest in program activities.
In the first year of the program, the project staff applied three strategies:
- Staff worked with private sector actors, such as input suppliers, to provide materials for demonstration plots, which will help create demand for improved inputs and technologies.
- The program worked with end-market buyers, such as the Kilombero Rice Plantation, to establish outgrower schemes and provide embedded services.
- The program stimulated demand for farmers’ groups and associations and strengthened existing groups, which will enable farmers to take advantage of economies of scale and engage in group marketing.
Strong Rice and Maize Value Chains Ultimate Goal
Rosner emphasized the importance of following a value chain approach to strengthen the target sectors and to identify entry points that would allow “quick wins” while working toward the ultimate goal of sustainability.
“The value chain approach is the way to go,” Rosner said. “We use a light touch—we mentor, we facilitate, but we do not engage as actors in the value chain.”
Approximately 80 percent of NAFAKA’s resources support improvements in the rice value chain and 20 percent in the maize value chain.
Feed The Future Program Fights Hunger and Poverty in East Africa
NAFAKA is a 5-year, $30 million program that was awarded to ACDI/VOCA under the Support for Food Security Activities (SFSA) IQC.
SFSA is a comprehensive food security program that is part of USAID’s Feed the Future initiative to harmonize regional hunger- and poverty-fighting efforts in countries with chronic food insecurity and insufficient production of staple crops.
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Pictured at top left: ACDI/VOCA’s Lee Rosner and Maby Palmisano discuss the need to show quick wins while also providing sustainable food security and economic growth.