Our diverse range of projects span Asia-Pacific and Africa.
Kwale Agribusiness Program
Products: Cotton, grain, pulses, and livestock including stock feed
Program phase: Scale
Key program partners: Base Titanium, Cotton On Group, and Kwale County Government
Base Titanium Limited (BTL) has developed a mineral sands mining project in the Kwale Province of southern Kenya. The company is mindful of its responsibilities to the local communities and since 2014 has partnered with Business for Development (B4D) to initiate programs which support the local farming communities in their endeavours to improve the returns from their agricultural activities. Together with the Cotton On Group (COG), the Government of the Republic of Kenya, and local Kwale Government, the Kwale Agribusiness Program (KAP) has been established to elevate local farming communities from their historical subsistence farming to more commercially oriented and thus profitable farming practices. Further support has been initiated by the formation of the PAVI Kwale Farmers’ Co-operative, giving the farmers a united voice in negotiations with COG and other buyers, suppliers, government and supportive stakeholders.
At the start of the program, B4D initiated trials of a number of different crops, including cotton, green grams, cow peas, potatoes, and sorghum to identify which might provide a better return to the farmers. It was confirmed that cotton grew well in the region. However, the cotton farmers found they still were unable to achieve any improvement in the returns from their farming efforts. They had to pay a government-regulated fee to cotton gins for processing their raw cotton. The cotton lint was returned to the farmers for sale. The cotton seed was processed downstream to extract cotton seed oil (a good quality cooking oil) and seed cake – a protein rich animal feedstock. As the cotton seed was commonly processed by others the farmers were unable to gain any income from this valuable by-product. Their returns were limited to the low prices paid for their raw cotton and what they could individually glean from selling the cotton lint.
Through re-configuration of the cotton value chain, B4D identified a symbiotic relationship with cotton, stock feed and poultry production. Over time the program built cotton production to commercial levels, and the seed from the cotton went into stock-feed formulation. To complement these two new industries, B4D reinvigorated the poultry meat and egg industry in Kwale. This was achieved through a combination of trialing breeds, training farmers in good husbandry practices and building demand for the produce at both the village level and at the local hotels and restaurants. This has provided farmers not only greater financial returns, but the establishment of the poultry industry has changed lives with improved nutrition thanks to access to poultry and eggs. (See Chicken Changing Lives blog for more insight).
To establish the KAP there were a number of significant barriers which had to be addressed:
Subsistence farming mindset: Farmers did not commonly view farming as an enterprise or a means to generate significant income, nor conceive of different opportunities that income could provide. B4D engaged extensively with the farming community to gain an understanding their needs and priorities, and also explained the concept of a cooperative which gave them opportunities for combined development. As a result, over time trust was established with the community.
Lack of crop diversity: Farming practices were entrenched and largely limited to primarily maize, grains, and pulses. Little consideration was given to crop suitability for the local environment, or crop rotation to optimise land use and maintain soil health. As a result, yields were low and crop quality was poor. B4D trialled a number of crop options, and over time the program identified improved seed and livestock genetics, better equipment for farm development and provided quality technical advice and instruction. This achieved improvements in crop quality and yields, and increased income for farmers accordingly.
Farmer labour and engagement with agriculture: Kwale farming practices reflected the traditional methodologies, and the division of labour followed customary gender roles. B4D evaluated opportunities for engagement of women, the young, and people with disabilities into the local farming practices.The integration of poultry into the value chain provided multiple benefits by not only improving farm income but also enabling this stakeholders to participate in the program.
Poor agronomic practice: Farmers had limited access to technical training or knowledge of improved agronomic practices. To address challenges with land, soil, and crop inputs, the KAP program trained farmers to utilise mechanical equipment, soil additives, herbicides, and water management techniques for increasing yields. B4D identified superior poultry breeds better suited to local conditions, better access to veterinary supplies as well as the means to develop higher nutrient stockfeed.
Limited access to credit/finance: In the beginning it was found that 60% of Kwale households had no savings and 57% did not possess any assets. As a result, farmers were unable to purchase key inputs for improving their enterprises. B4D facilitated access to credit from two sources:
Kinondo Financial Services Association provided loans to farmers, to facilitate purchase of soil improvement additives and other necessary farm inputs.
Kenya Co-operative Bank extended a working capital facility for farmers to underpin their cotton production.
Poor logistics and transport infrastructure: The absence of storage resulted in damage and loss of crops. Similarly, the lack of transport limited the prospects to access broader markets. B4D introduced the idea of packaging inputs (such as seed or fertiliser) for groups of smaller scale users. Through the support of the Kwale County Government, B4D facilitated the establishment of suitable storage facilities and also initiated a fee-for-service transport of farmers’ produce.
Weather and climate hazards: Lack of land preparation and soil development meant farmers could not optimally benefit from seasonal rainfalls. The KAP program demonstrated how farmers could mitigate the impacts of climate and weather hazards through improved land preparation, crop rotation and crop cycling. Furthermore, the benefits of seasonal rains were improved by reducing the risk of crop failure, timing for higher yields and adopting soil practices which achieved better water in-soil storage and retention.
In summary, B4D has been able to support the Kwale Agribusiness Program across a broad spectrum of strategies which have succeeded in improving the income and livelihood of the local Kwale farming communities.
PAVI Kwale Farmers’ Co-operative
To further support the Kwale farming communities, B4D has participated in the establishment of a farmers’ cooperative which is better able to service the farmers’ needs as well as represent farmers’ interests to the local and federal government, BTL and respective interested stakeholders.
The PAVI Kwale Farmers’ Co-operative Society Limited (PAVI) was established in 2014. The name is derived from ‘pamba na viazi’, the Swahili words for cotton and potatoes. PAVI was established to enable farmers to collaborate and have a stronger voice in liaising with suppliers and service-providers across the supply chain. PAVI provides a one-stop-shop for farmers, pursuing their best interests, facilitating better access to credit, to procurement of farm inputs, technical services, storage, transport and other supportive services.
PAVI represents farmers to government and advocates on behalf of members. PAVI has successfully accessed technical services and additional resources through the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries (MoALF) and Kwale County Government. Both levels of government have shown keen interest to support agribusiness opportunities proposed by PAVI. A stock mill has been constructed and negotiations are underway for the construction of a cooperative managed cotton gin. Both agribusinesses will be managed by PAVI.
The collective representation of farmers through PAVI has also made it possible for farmers to directly negotiate with global buyers. Through KAP’s partnership with COG, PAVI identified the quality standards expected by buyers, the scope of potential demand as well as the social responsibilities of buyers and suppliers. PAVI has also been able to provide broad training to farmers, monitor compliance with COG’s standards and meet Competitive African Cotton Initiative (CompACI) guidelines, which sets out 50 standards in four clusters.
The FarmForce Digital Platform
In 2019, KAP tested FarmForce, a digital ‘first mile’ platform to enable data sharing between farmers and technical management. FarmForce provides close to real-time data sharing and exchange, the monitoring of crop quality, the identification of risks to crops (such as pests or inclement weather), and advice of remedial action to prevent crop damage. This digital platform underpins the success of KAP in the achievement of better returns to farmers. Rapid access to experienced information facilitates improvements in crop yields, the early identification of potential hazards along with timely recommendations on remedies, and the gathering of feedback for future improvement in the decision-making process.
The implementation of FarmForce also enabled rapid completion of surveys to identify baseline practices, the status of land preparation and the broad monitoring of crop progress.
This has brought about the success of:
Streamlined processing of loan applications
Pilot of electronic payment system for smallholders
Improved traceability of agriculture produce
Improved monitoring of fields
Improved monitoring of staff
Through the implementation of the KAP, FarmForce had successfully brought the agricultural practices of the Kwale farming community into the modern world. As the program scales up in the coming years, B4D will be using SourceTrace as a digital platform.
Through the participation of COG in the KAP to support the improvements of Kwale farming practices, COG has advised on the necessary quality, quantity and standard of social responsibility expected of the Kwale farmers. COG is a significant global buyer of cotton lint, with a current annual demand for 6,000 tonnes of high quality ethically produced cotton to produce garments in Bangladesh. COG’s demand roughly equates to the current total production of Kenyan cotton. At the moment, however, Kenyan cotton does not meet all COG’s expectations. Further improvements are required.'
The KAP model has shown that the modernisation of the Kenyan cotton industry is possible through sustainable improvement in agriculture practice, quality control, efficiency, and greater retention of profit margins by the farming community.
The key challenge over the next five years will be to implement the KAP blueprint across broader cotton farming communities of Kenya.
The program will contribute to the revitalisation of the cotton industry in Kenya, through expansion and replication of the KAP model across Kenya. The following objectives are aimed at tackling the challenges involved. The full outline of this programs “Theory of Change” may be found by pressing the link.
Obj 1: Kenyan smallholder farmers will have increased voice, agency, and capacity.
To meet COG demand for sustainably sourced, single-origin cotton, the KAP program will need to scale-up all current activities and reach more farmers. This will require increasing engagement with more farmers, including women and marginalised groups; providing farmers with better access to finance so they can purchase the required inputs; establishing the required logistics including storage and transport; and providing access to technology to support quality production practice to increase yields and quality. Based upon the success of the KAP, these pursuits need to be underpinned with vibrant and functional co-operatives that focus on the needs, abilities, and opportunities of the respective farming communities throughout the country.
Obj 2: Farmers have increased resilience through improved food security, nutrition, and diversified income.
To achieve this objective, work will be required to introduce and train newly recruited farmers in alternative crops and climate smart agronomic practices. This will be complemented with the introduction of poultry production so that the symbiotic integration of crops, feed and poultry can be achieved. With farmers producing a quality differentiated cotton product, a digital platform will be established to support cotton traceability.
Work will also be done in liaising with key government stakeholders both at a county and national level to ensure farmers are more broadly supported by government services.
Obj 3: Established partnerships and contractual certainty delivers increased profits for farmers and global buyers and guarantees supply.
B4D will endeavour to facilitate strengthening the transparency and accountability of the value chain to ensure it delivers benefits to all of the stakeholders. Clear contractual agreements will be targeted to establish sustainable offtake requirements with respect to quality, quantity, and social impact. At the same time the aim will be to provide greater certainty of product sales for farming cooperatives and their effective supply of quality product. The endeavour will ensure a fair and equitable distribution of value to all stakeholders in the value chain.
Obj 4: Development of new localised cotton processing capacity will deliver increased national support and export of Kenyan cotton and lint.
Through modernising the value chain to incorporate localised processing of raw cotton, farmers will understand how to improve their quality control and yield, as well as achieve a greater share of income from the value chain. To initiate this objective over the coming year, a PAVI managed gin will be constructed in the Kwale province and local staff with be recruited and trained to manage and operate the gin.
By-product cotton seed from the gin will be processed into cotton seed cake for use in poultry feed. Through PAVI the local cotton farmers will not only gain a second income but also benefit personally through individual poultry production.
Obj 5: Increased export of Kenyan cotton delivers sustainable returns for farmers and generates new employment opportunities.
BTL will possibly close its Ukunda mineral sands mine around 2025. Consideration needs to be given to the refurbishment of the mine site directed toward large-scale cotton production. This will provide new employment opportunities for farmers and their local communities to expand their horizons into commercially oriented cotton production.
The Government of the Republic of Kenya is committed to the expansion of the KAP model to revitalise the Kenyan cotton sector. B4D will be collaborating with the Government to replicate KAP across Kenya.
Changing paradigms with scale is central to the design of the KAP model. When the program reaches its full scale, it is potential to be a game changer for farmers across the whole of Kenya. Improving farming practices and more vertical ownership of the value chain will lead to stronger economic outcomes for Kenyan farmers and their local communities.Between cotton and poultry, the expected reach will be 15,000 and 10,000 farmers respectively. The multiplier effect upon local communities could benefit in excess of 200,000 people, providing greater income, new secondary industries and the diversification of livestock.The Republic of Kenya has the potential to significantly gain from the expansion of the Kwale Agribusiness Program and B4D will be there with its support and advice.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Community Piggery Enterprise, PNG
Papua New Guinea
Products: Pigs and pig feed
Program phase: Implement
Key program partners: Oil Search Ltd, Landowner Companies: Trans Wonderland Ltd, Gigira Development Corporation, Mananda Umbrella Joint Venture and PNG Mining, Petroleum Hospitality Services and Hides Gas Development Company Ltd.
While more than 80% of PNG's population are engaged in subsistence agriculture, widespread malnutrition is stubbornly evident. Traditional diets include sweet potato, cassava, taro and sago – foods high in starch but low in protein.
Some of the best access to protein is via livestock, and especially pigs. Despite the country being well suited for livestock, production has been in decline due to poor management and low support of the industry. The cost of feed is also another major inhibitor to production, and an integrated farm management approach is required to produce local feed.
The program has been established in Hela Province (part of the Highlands), a remote Province with high levels of poverty and, over the past decade, increasing levels of tribal violence.
The program partners (a combination of local landowner companies and Oil Search) share a vision – to create a transformative piggery investment delivering both commercial and community outcomes in the Highlands. To achieve this vision, the partners are committed to building a Community Piggery Enterprise (CPE) with investment support.
The CPE will use a proven feed formulation, developed by Busines for Development over a number of years, at the PNG model farm funded by Oil Search. The feed formulation will be composed of 100% local produce by commercialising kau kau and cassava production, creating economic opportunities for the piggery, community outgrowers, and feed production. The first CPE will be established in the Hela Province. The feed is designed with community outcomes as a focal point, supported by improved genetics, agronomic disciplines, and scientifically backed fermentation for superior nutrition.
With the application of funding for a Highlands-based program, the program allows for:
Training villagers in pig feeding, housing and health management.
Growing, according to good agronomic practice, kau kau and other crops that can be fed to pigs.
Constructing of a piggery (up to 200 sows when fully developed) and outgrower training facility farm to produce pigs to six weeks of age.
Developing infrastructure to support preparation of kau kau silage for this site and to supplement kau kau supply from feed farmers to the 180 outgrowers who will grow the pigs to sale age at around 24 weeks.
Providing technical services to support outgrowers.
- Constructing an abattoir to process carcasses and box ready retail cuts.
Developing local, regional and national sales, through butcher shops, supermarkets and food service, with possible expansion to export development.
As a result of the CPE there is potential to improve protein supply and food security, expand enterprise opportunities for communities, aid in the reduction of law and order issues, and provide a sustainable model for agricultural development.
With funding support, the CPE will progress to create a new market and brand - ‘from feed to fork, 100% Highland village pork’.
Market and Opportunity Analysis to Guide Market-Led Development of the Myanmar Pulse Sector, Myanmar
Program phase: Research
Key program partners: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
Myanmar’s pulse sector is currently vulnerable to market fluctuations, given its heavy reliance on India and China as trade partners – 70% of Myanmar’s exports by volume of the ‘big four’ pulse types (black gram, green gram, chickpea and pigeon pea) are exported to the two countries. The pulse sector has historically been production-focused, with little pressure to consider demand drivers given its two strong trade partners. However, both India and China are making concerted efforts towards self-sufficiency, creating the need for Myanmar to build greater resilience in its pulses and broader agriculture sectors.
Market development is critical to shifting the pulses sector to become demand driven, identifying untapped or under-utilised markets as well as value addition opportunities. A demand driven pulse sector will help improve the sector’s resilience and ultimately improve the resilience of smallholder farmers.
This program follows on from the Myanmar Private Sector Agribusiness Landscape Analysis conducted in 2018-19.
Research, analysis and stakeholder engagement to answer the following research questions:
What are the top domestic and international market opportunities available to the Myanmar pulse industry, based on the extent of value chain improvements required to access these opportunities and the distribution of value along the value chain, prioritising the return to smallholder farmers?
What improvements in the value chain are required, which stakeholders contribute to improvement challenges, and which are best positioned to drive the changes required to access top market opportunities?
What improvements in the enabling environment are required, which stakeholders contribute to improvement challenges and which are best positioned to drive the changes?
The aim of the pulses market development analysis is to understand Myanmar’s export/domestic market opportunities – involving the identification of potential trade partners, understanding which pulse types or pulse alternatives are in demand (current and future), identifying value add opportunities for pulses, and understanding how much customers are willing to pay for each of these commodities.
A value chain analysis will identify areas which require investment to better access existing and new market opportunities, and to maximise benefits returned to smallholder farmers.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Tabar Group of Islands Co-Operative Cocoa Program, PNG
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Program phase: Implement
Key program partners: St Barbara Ltd, Simberi Mine Services Ltd
Picturesque and isolated, the Tabar Group of Islands (TGI) in New Ireland, PNG, is home to the Simberi Gold Mine operated by St Barbara since 2012. The mine has brought a significant increase in economic opportunities for the local community. On closure of the mine, an independent economic future for the community needs to be developed to ensure the community continues to thrive.
In 2018, an Options Study was conducted to assess potential agricultural opportunities that met local agronomic conditions plus logistical challenges, and have a strong return on investment for the local community. Cocoa was viewed as a viable opportunity.
B4D is working with St Barbara’s Environment and Community Relations teams to:
Establish a community owned cocoa business.
Create a centralised nursery, cocoa production, and cocoa processing on Simberi Island before shipment to an offtake partner.
Train farmers in good agronomic practices.
Build the business eco-system, so when St Barbara closes, the community is independent and the program continues.
Develop offtake partnership for future cocoa production.
The program will enable St Barbara to create a positive legacy for the region by transforming the future through cocoa enterprise for the local communities. Through collaboration with other regional stakeholders, St Barbara are demonstrating leadership in what may become a broader provincial, economic, development plan.
Program phase: Research
Key program partners: Rio Tinto, Stuart Anstee & Consultants
The implementation of a traceability system is a key building block in working towards credibility for cashmere produced under the South Gobi Cashmere (SGC) Project, helping SGC differentiate cashmere produced by its herders and attract more brands, creating greater financial resilience for the overall program. As a result, long-term independence and financial sustainability can be achieved for herders and the environment.
There are numerous traceability systems in the market. As cashmere is a complex supply chain, the conducted research reviewed products on the market and recommended an off-the-shelf traceability system that was fit for purpose.
Business for Development was engaged to complete a traceability system assessment for SGC to support the work being undertaken by SGC to develop a sustainable cashmere supply chain. The assessment was conducted in two phases:
Phase 1 – A cross-section of stakeholders were interviewed to determine stakeholder perceptions and priorities, taking into consideration SGC’s current and future supply chains. Desk research was also completed to complement interview insights, with the final output of this first phase being an understanding of SGC’s requirements for a traceability system.
Phase 2 – The cashmere industry requirements from phase 1 of this assessment were consolidated and expanded upon to develop a set of five criteria, which were used to assess a shortlist of traceability systems.
Three traceability systems were compared against SGC requirements, incorporating the output of stakeholder interviews and desk research. Business for Development's recommendation was based on the company’s track record, the diversity of customers currently using the platform, and the platform’s focus on customer engagement, a key priority for the brands working with SGC. Discussions are currently underway regarding a potential pilot.