A bigger voice for farmers

Three new partnership agreements were signed recently with private companies: Shalem Investments in Kenya and Agromaco and ACOF in Mozambique. Shalem purchases sorghum from more than 9,000 farmers, and is launching new ‘fortified’ sorghum flour products that will further expand market opportunities for small-scale producers. Agromaco provides dairy feeds, on credit, to 2SCALE dairy farmers, and is leading a farmer training program on feed and fodder production. The aim is to combine on-farm fodder production with scientific nutrition practices to ensure that animals remain healthy and productive even during the dry season when fodder is often scarce. ACOF is a soybean processor, working with farmers and other 2SCALE partners (including large soya buyers). More than 1,000 new soybean farmers (600 women) joined the partnership in 2015; and have been organized into groups led by coaches – employed by ACOF – who will not only provide extension support but also organize collection of produce and supply of inputs.

These are not new partnerships; they have generated significant impact already. The change is to strengthen the ‘inclusivity’ aspect by explicitly mentioning partnership-governance and related issues, with clauses to ensure that farmers, and especially women, have a greater say in planning and implementation. For example, there are numerical quotas for gender representation (two of the three firms are headed by women). Decision-making has been ‘democratized’, with a specified minimum number of farmer representatives on the management committee in each partnership. 2SCALE is not involved in decision-making, but helps to facilitate smooth relationships and trust-building between buyers and sellers.

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