Farming as a Business
At the core of our approach to rural enterprise development is support to farmer-led organizations, including cooperatives and producer groups to create profitable business. Self Help Africa provides training so that smallholder farmers have a better understanding of costs and markets and assist them to work with the private sector through creating links to buyers and processors.
Recent examples of this work includes linking cashew farmers in West Africa to processors who export to Europe and the United States, working with farmer cooperatives in Ethiopia to improve returns through the sale of malt barley, and an out-grower scheme in Malawi to support farmers to graft better quality Mango trees for export of pulp to the Middle East.
We help farmers to add value to their produce through low technology opportunities such as cleaning, grading, packing and simple processing. Better storage facilities at a community level allows small-scale farmers to bulk their harvests collectively, thus improving the opportunity for producers to access larger and more lucrative markets for their crops. We’re also providing strategic advisory services to SMEs. In Zambia we have provided strategic advice and support to a range of SMEs including Kaoma Cassava Processing, Senanga Rice Agro Ltd, and Mukuyu Trust (producers of honey, caterpillar and mushrooms).
Access to timely and affordable micro-finance services is vital if smallholders are to invest in developing their farm enterprises. We are supporting the growth of Rural Savings and Credit cooperatives in Ethiopia, and across our programmes we’re helping farmers to join and start saving with micro-finance institutions.To measure the success of our work we monitor changes in household income, turnover of smallholder enterprises, number of smallholders with improved access to markets and the number of farmers with savings in micro-finance institutions.