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Building resilience through agribusinesses

Photo: Farm Africa / Nichole Sobecki Photo: Farm Africa / Nichole Sobecki

The problem

Most people living in South Wollo and Oromo Nationality Zones are small-scale farmers who heavily rely on rainfall to feed their crops. Farmers’ dependency on unreliable weather patterns, coupled with poor access to agricultural inputs and markets, stops them from earning a decent living from farming.

In recent years, erratic rains and extreme weather have hit harvests hard, forcing almost half of the population to rely on food aid. Low-input, low-output farming leaves smallholders exposed to the effects of climate extremes and limits their ability to adapt to a changing climate.

Between 2010 and 2017, The Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara’s (ORDA) HARVEST and HARVEST-PLUS projects helped farmers improve their farming practices and triple their yields.

However, a shortage of rural enterprises that supply agricultural inputs and buy farmers’ produce endangers these important gains.

What are we doing?

This project aims to transform the business environment small-scale farmers operate in, enabling them to increase their incomes and food security, and improve their ability to absorb climate shocks.

This project is improving the availability of agricultural goods and services by:

  • Setting up businesses supplying agricultural inputs, such as seeds of drought-resistant crop varieties, irrigation systems and fertilisers, which farmers need to withstand extreme weather events and realise their potential.
  • Training local agribusinesses in processing and marketing so that they can sell farmers’ crops into new profitable markets.
  • Helping farmers and agribusinesses produce and sell mung beans, a lucrative environmentally-friendly drought-tolerant crop.
  • Running business-to-business events that connect farmers, suppliers and buyers.

We are working with financial institutions and local enterprises to develop a range of financial products that will enable farmers and agribusinesses to gain access to the working and investment capital they need to expand operations and develop their business models. Activities include:

  • Facilitating the development and marketing of sharia-compliant financial services products appropriate to the needs of the majority Muslim population.
  • Strengthening existing Saving and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs).
  • Building awareness about the importance of access to finance schemes.
  • Introducing rural communities to mobile banking and microfinance products.
  • Providing businesses with financial training so they can develop robust business plans and identify and apply for loans.

Who are we working with?

With funding from SIDA, Farm Africa is working with the NGOs Mercy Corps and The Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA).