In Mozambique iDE is implementing its largest global operation with funded projects totalling more than US$40 million. By implementing a range of innovative agricultural, entrepreneurship and alternative livelihood projects across the country, iDE is working to lift thousands of people out of poverty.
The US$6.4 million ($8.5 million CAD) project, being implemented by iDE and funded by Global Affairs Canada, has been designed to enhance economic empowerment, well-being and inclusive growth by providing support to women involved in agricultural value chains.
“At first, I thought iDE might purchase products from me like other NGOs,” says Mubeen, “But after participating in the training, I understood. They were here to show me how to grow my business.”
Shei is one of 146 farmers powered by the successful project known as Accelerating Impact of Food Security (AIFS) – which is part of iDE’s broader Korsung agricultural initiative, which translates as “good farming practices” in local language, Dagbani – which ran between April 2021 and March 2022.
Working as a cashew farmer in central Cambodia, In Laihout, 40, was uncomfortable with the fact that most of her crop was being exported to Vietnam where it was being processed and then on-sold by traders to bulk buyers at a significant profit.
Because there weren’t many processing centers in her low-income region, farmers like her were selling their cashews for small margins, only to see these foreign traders capitalize on their hard work and lack of local value chains.
But instead of accepting the situation, Laihout decided to start her own cashew collecting and processing business, initially working through a farmers’ association and community processing center in her village in Kampong Thom province, paying local farmers a fair price for their product and processing it herself.
The rains didn’t come in November, as they used to. When they did begin in December, here in Zambia’s Copperbelt Province, they didn’t last long.
“The drought has really impacted the farmers,” said Inutu Musialela, 53. “In February, it didn’t rain at all. In March, it did rain, but not until the last week.”
“Most of the crops were planted, like maize and sunflower. The rains started but then they went off. The farmers were hit with that. Their crops didn’t grow.”
Since Inutu began working with iDE in 2012, she says the local climate has changed significantly. As a Farm Business Advisor (FBA), Inutu has taught small scale farmers how to fertilize and protect their crops from pests.
Nowadays she spends just as much time teaching farmers how to become resilient to climate change, telling them to plant early maturing crops that require less water, or that they should plant a greater diversity of crops should some varieties fail.
“Because climate change has hit us now, I encourage them to prepare the land before the rains come.”
“They dig holes, like a basin, to plant their crops inside. These potholes hold water around the roots. There they can grow soybeans, maize, anything.”
Tryness Nsofwa, 57, proudly inspects her field of groundnuts. She uproots a clump of pods from the damp, red earth and is pleased with what she sees. Cracking open a husk to reveal edible fruit inside, Tryness notes the nuts are well formed and plentiful. “It’s looking very nice,” she says of her crop. “I will keep some for my family and I will sell some.”
Farm Business Advisor (FBA) Flora Mostiço is a change agent in her Mozambican community. At her market store in Nhamatanda, in the Beira Corridor, the mother of six sells affordable agricultural inputs including high quality seeds, fertilizer, and water pumps. Despite repeated cyclones in the region, she runs a successful small scale farm and provides business support to other farmers. “I started with something small and now I am growing,” Flora says of her business. iDE has trained some 332 (117 women) FBAs like Flora across Mozambique’s Maputo, Sofala, Manica, Tete and Zambezia provinces.
Farhana Yeasmin, 24, remembers what it was like when her husband was the family’s sole earner. Because he was a day laborer and made little money, they struggled to even pay for basics. And if he couldn’t find work, the family sometimes skipped meals.
Kamala Magar’s day began before dawn. The Nepalese farmer would get up and walk miles in the cold to fetch water for her family. It would take her most of the morning to retrieve just one jar, which she’d use to make breakfast before setting out for more.
iDE teams up with Bext360 to create a pilot program connecting Honduran coffee farmers to every aspect of the value chain through blockchain.
Because FBAs are entrepreneurs who connect urban suppliers and buyers to rural smallholder farmers, they can be a powerful force in a time of crisis.
Juddy has been working with John Muta, a Farm Business Advisor (FBA), for the past few years, and through talking with her we came to understand how the FBA program is affecting women’s empowerment in the household. Using the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), which measures empowerment across domains ranging from decision-making power to control over income, we asked Juddy about her roles.
A mother of five, Ho Thi Hiu used to supplement her household’s meager income by growing rice. She would also make a small profit by buying piglets in a nearby town, raising them, and selling them fully-grown. But raising pigs is no easy task.
The use of demonstration plots helps convince skeptical farmers that agricultural technology, like drip irrigation, can make a difference in crop yields and boost their incomes.
Farm business advisors are change agents who dispense information about best practices in technology, fertilizers, pest management, and post-harvest storage through training sessions and demonstrations, as well as sell direct services, such as crop spraying.
Refugees are making new lives with the assistance of agricultural extension agents who provide training, advice, products, and services so that they can build businesses around vegetable production.
Compared to mainstream fertilizers and air-borne applications, Fertilizer Deep Placement produces 40% less chemical runoff and 30% fewer greenhouse gas emissions. It also increases yields, leading to a win-win for the farmer and for the environment.
To overcome disasters such as crop disease, iDE works with farmers to diversify their crops and connect to markets, helping them have enough food and money to survive year-round.
What if one million farmers could grow more food with less water?
iDE has been building markets for over 30 years. One thing we know for sure is that every market is different. Replication of what works in one context is not a guarantee of success in another. We replicate our approach, but each context dictates a unique solution.
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