Addressing Value Chain Constraints to Empower Producer Groups
ACDI/VOCA brought volunteer technical experts to Mali to improve the agriculture sector. With partner Winrock International, ACDI/VOCA implemented the USAID-funded Mali Agricultural Value Enhancement Network (MAVEN) program. The program provided solutions and support to improve Malian agriculture by improving productivity and increasing access to finance in targeted value chains. MAVEN supported USAID Feed the Future goals in Mali.
MAVEN’s underlying strategy was to raise productivity for Mali’s producers in a way that:
- supports farmer access to markets or processors
- strengthens targeted value chains for long-term sustainability
- enhances food security through increased smallholder incomes and increased home consumption
The program applied a value chain methodology to identify key constraints and applied volunteer technical assistance to resolve those critical constraints. MAVEN worked with subsectors and products that have growth potential, encouraging cooperation among value chain participants to motivate them to do business with one another. The program coordinated with other activities in Mali to leverage resources, multiply impact, and prevent duplication.
MAVEN prioritized impacts on women and includes women in all program activities.
Program Increases Food Security and Economic Growth
The MAVEN program contributed to USAID/Mali’s accelerating economic growth strategic objective and made a positive impact on Mali’s food security and economic growth. The program:
- Improved production, processing, storage and marketing of select agricultural crops;
- Enhanced business management skills of farmers, agribusinesses and farmer associations/cooperatives;
- Increased access to quality inputs and finance
Volunteers Provide Expertise and Add-Value
Over the Life of the Project, MAVEN leveraged the expertise of 78 volunteers, who completed 1,479 days of service valued at $678,590. Volunteer experts were recruited from a variety of international sources in the United States and Europe, as well as regional volunteers from West Africa and other parts of in Africa. Volunteers supported 67 host organizations – including farmers groups, women’s groups, private enterprises, and agriculture training institutions. Through these efforts, MAVEN trained/assisted 5,872 (5,018 FtF) individuals, 48% of whom were women and benefitted 4,741 (4,381 FtF) households.
Key accomplishments included:
- Introducing over 120 new or improved agricultural technologies or management practices to help farmers increase production, lower costs, increase sales and sustainably manage natural resources.
- Facilitating access to loans and business development services for nearly 1,500 individuals and enterprises.
- Providing organizational development, leadership and technical training to support 26 women-owned businesses and women’s cooperatives and to facilitate successful collaboration between women and men.
- Helping producers diversify livelihoods through the introduction of rice-fish farming, fish-poultry systems, and expanded horticulture and poultry production.
- Supporting increased food security and nutrition by strengthening producer groups and processors, and facilitating value chain linkages, for nutritious staple crops products, animal source foods and fruits and vegetables.
- Building the capacity of agricultural education institutions and service providers to ensure that today’s farmers and future leaders have the support and training they need to be successful.
- Leveraging more than $68,000 in cash and in-kind support from program hosts and partners to support volunteer assignments.