In June 2012, ACDI/VOCA’s Support for Food Security Activities team launched a $24 million United States Agency for International Development (USAID) project in Zambia to increase food security and decrease poverty. The program targets smallholder farmers and agribusinesses to increase agricultural productivity and facilitate inclusive access to markets and private sector investment in target value chains. The project focuses on three objectives:
- improved smallholder productivity;
- greater access to markets and trade; and
- increased private sector investment in agriculture-related activities.
The Production, Finance, and Improved Technology Plus (PROFIT+) program is a core activity of President Obama's Feed the Future (FTF) global hunger and food security initiative in Zambia. PROFIT+ is fostering economic growth, significantly contributing to Millennium Development Goal one—halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger by 2015.
30 Percent Increase in Productivity and Income
Despite Zambia’s recent economic growth, poverty and malnutrition remain rampant, particularly in rural areas. Access to finance, especially for smallholders, is limited, greatly inhibiting growth. PROFIT+ is building on previous USAID-supported activities by closely linking efforts to enhance input supply with output markets and ensuring that women and vulnerable groups fully benefit from value chain development.
Applying both “push” and “pull” interventions to create pathways out of poverty for smallholders, PROFIT+ ensures that vulnerable households and women benefit equitably from increased productivity and investment. On the push side, the project assists smallholder and vulnerable (i.e., female-headed or HIV/AIDS-affected) households through training to farmers, associations, and small-scale processors that will enable them to increase their productivity through the application of new technologies. On the pull side, the project is partnering with private, locally based companies to improve smallholder producers’ access to larger markets and create 1,000 new jobs in value-added processing.
PROFIT+’s geographic focus is in Eastern province where the typical smallholder farms less than three hectares. The project also works in peri-urban Lusaka within its target horticulture value chains. PROFIT+ expects to achieve a 30 percent increase in productivity and income from selected value chains, benefit 200,000 smallholder farmers, and increase the value of agricultural sales by $125 million, in particular for value-added processing.
Zambia Program Calls for Localization
To achieve its objectives, PROFIT+ is leveraging an estimated $50 million in new private sector investment in maize, soybean, groundnut, sunflower, onion, and tomato value chains. In addition, the project is dedicating $7.1 million for the Innovation, Investment, and Partnership (IIP) Fund for local and private sector partners to build their capacity to deliver services well beyond the life of the program.
In 2015 the project will focus on improving agricultural productivity through the implementation of an agrodealer development strategy. Through this strategy, PROFIT+ will ensure that the increase in farmer demand for inputs is met through market suppliers.
PROFIT+ will catalyze private sector investment in a way that will sustain value chains’ competitiveness and create economic opportunities for smallholder farmers long after the PROFIT+ project ends. The project will engage private sector partners to assume a leadership role behind this push, while at the same time supporting processors in developing outgrower schemes that emphasize aggregation and storage utilization options that improve quality and quantity. PROFIT+ will also use established community-based structures to connect smallholder farmers to large buyers and facilitate the building of trust and market-driven relationships.
Drawing on its 50 years of agricultural experience in Africa, ACDI/VOCA is the prime contractor for PROFIT+, leading program management, value chain analysis, and interventions related to marketing, trade, and financial services. ACDI/VOCA, a pioneer in the value chain approach, has substantial experience facilitating change in market systems worldwide through demand-driven, participatory, and systematic approaches. The following partners lend their expertise to the project:
- IFDC brings its experience in commercial agro-input systems to increase production and productivity.
- CRS provides training in Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC).
- Danya leads the implementation of strategic communications to increase behavior change and facilitate learning.
- Crown Agents provides technical assistance in warehouse management, transportation, trade, and marketing.
For more information, contact Meredith Jones at email@example.com.