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This project is funded by the European Union

COMRAP

COMESA’s Regional Agricultural Inputs Program Project Summary


IImplemented by ACTESA in partnership with IFDC This project is funded by the European Union

European Union Food Facility – COMESA’s Regional Agricultural Inputs Program (COMRAP)

COMRAP Agro-Dealer Development Agro-Dealer and Agent Trainings September 2010-December 2011 The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of IFDC and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union or of the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Host Countries

BURUNDI

ETHIOPIA

MALAWI

RWANDA

SWAZILAND

UGANDA

ZAMBIA

ZIMBABWE

t Cover

photo: A rural agro-dealer’s shop in Malawi.

u A roadside

vegetable market offers seasonal produce.


COMRAP Project Summary

Table of Contents Background. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Training Objectives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Summary of Achievements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Baseline Survey/Training Needs Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Country Baseline Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Partner Identification/Contracting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Training of Trainers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Agro-Dealer/Agent Trainings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Support to Agro-Dealer/Agent Trainings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Accreditation and Association Building. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 Linking Agro-Dealers to MIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 M&E Plan for Agro-Dealer Development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78 COMRAP M&E Execution, October 2010 to August 2011. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Administration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Challenges. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Lessons Learned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 Recommendations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Implementing EU-Funded Activities Post-COMRAP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Annexes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Annex 1. Training Summary by Session as of December 31, 2011. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Annex 2. Summary of Achievements July 2010 – December 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 Annex 3.  Acronyms & Abbreviations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

The information in this document was prepared in 2011.

1


COMRAP Focus Countries


COMRAP Project Summary 3

p Agro-dealers

attending a COMRAP training session.

t COMRAP worked

in the eight highlighted countries.

Background More than 60 percent of the population in eastern and southern Africa is undernourished. Moreover, the prices of staple foods doubled during 2007-08, threatening food security for over 250 million people in the region (and over one billion worldwide). While the rate of food price increases slowed, prices have continued to rise. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is alleviating poverty by promoting regional agricultural integration and removing trade and investment barriers. COMESA’s Regional Agricultural Inputs Program (COMRAP) is responding to rising food prices by increasing agricultural productivity. COMRAP provided smallholder farmers improved access to finance, fertilizer and seeds. COMRAP was a two-year project implemented by the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) and funded by the European Union (EU) Food Facility Program. The overall objective of COMRAP was to contribute to improved rural food security and livelihoods in the COMESA region through training and capacity building of national and regional agro-input providers. Over the course of its implementation, the project sought to reach about three million smallholder farmers in Burundi, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This represents 10 to 15 percent of smallholder farmers in each country. Through COMRAP, ACTESA sought to achieve three main results: u Improve financial services. u Establish or strengthen agro-dealer networks and support output trade for key value chains. u Support commodity chains for seed and plant material.

As a facilitating partner in the project, IFDC implemented the agro-dealer development component of COMRAP in association with the Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK). Agro-dealers play a crucial role in bringing inputs closer to farmers and are critical to building sustainable agricultural sectors in the region.


COMRAP Project Summary 4

Training Objectives The main objective of the agro-dealer/agent training under the agro-dealer development component of COMRAP was to equip agro-dealers/agents with knowledge and skills in Business Management and Technical Products. The activities that IFDC undertook under the agro-dealer/agent training component were: u Establish baselines regarding currently existing agro-dealers and numbers of women involved in the

business. u Conduct a training needs assessment. In collaboration with other partners and a training expert, IFDC

conducted a sector training needs assessment by seeking expert opinion and focus group interviews. u Hold a stakeholder workshop to validate agro-dealer, extension agent and farmer training curricula. u Identify Host Institutions/Partners and facilitate the signing of memoranda of understanding (MoU) with

the institutions. IFDC and COMESA conducted this activity. u Conduct training of trainers (ToT) workshops. IFDC conducted four ToT workshops and trained at least 10

trainers from each country. u Conduct training for agro-dealers and their agents using a curriculum of six training modules during an

eight-day session during a four-month period. u Accreditation of agro-dealers six months after they successfully completed a training course and audit

their conduct every six months. u Where Market Information Systems (MIS) exist, IFDC supported the development of a relationship

between agro-dealers (and traders) and MIS. The key deliverables under the COMRAP Agro-Dealer Development Component included: u A trained network of nearly 5,800 agro-dealers and 2,000 agro-dealer agents providing farm input supplies

and technical advice to smallholder farmers. The dealers and agents are now linked to regional agro-input suppliers and financial institutions (including national banks). u Improved access to agricultural inputs for 3.3 million smallholder farms. u Development of a national agro-dealer trade association in each country intended to continue COMRAP

activities after the project’s end and provide members with market information, advocacy, communication and educational benefits. u Accreditation of at least 1,000 trained agro-dealers across the eight COMRAP countries. u Link agro-dealers to MIS where these are available.


n September 2010 – December 2011

COMRAP Project Summary

Summary of Achievements

5

Baseline Survey/Training Needs Assessment In collaboration with farmer organizations and other partners, IFDC conducted a baseline survey and training needs assessment on agro-input distribution, fertilizer and seed use and identified appropriate agro-dealers in the eight countries. The purpose of the baseline survey was to assess levels of agro-dealer development, evaluate existing training materials and additional training needs and to develop the most appropriate strategies to achieve COMRAP objectives in each country.

Country Baseline Summary Following initial assessments, IFDC and AGMARK training specialists were able to identify the varying levels of existing agro-dealer development and ‘tailor’ training activities and projections to suit individual country conditions. The varying levels were classified into three categories: HIGH, EMERGING and NEW. The HIGH category represented countries where agro-dealer networks were already established, with clearly defined agro-dealer development programs and the beginnings of strong national-level associations. Countries in this category include Malawi, Uganda and Zambia. The EMERGING category, represented countries where new programs were being launched and/or re-emerging. Rwanda and Zimbabwe were in this category. Burundi, Ethiopia and Swaziland were in the NEW category, representing countries where agrodealer development was new and IFDC/ AGMARK needed to create awareness and provide relevant information to the government and other stakeholders.


COMRAP Project Summary 6

This initial analysis of the level of agro-dealer development, coupled with discussions with local host training partners on existing development programs and trainers networks, was the basis upon which IFDC and AGMARK made the beneficiary target projections for each country. Table 1 shows the target beneficiary number projections by country. Table 1. Beneficiary Number Projections by Country

Country

No. of Agro-dealers

No. of Dealer Agents

No. of Farms

Burundi

400

150

230,000

Ethiopia

400

150

230,000

Malawi

1000

300

560,000

Rwanda

800

250

450,000

Swaziland

400

150

230,000

Uganda (UNADA)

1000

300

560,000

Zambia

1000

400

580,000

800

300

460,000

Zimbabwe

The IFDC/AGMARK team conducting the initial baseline survey indicated that the projections were simple estimates (minimum figures) for judging program success and should not restrict in-country implementation teams from going beyond these numbers. During implementation, estimates were scaled up in a number of countries.


Using the curriculum and materials developed, IFDC, AGMARK and their partners trained nearly 5,800 agro-dealers in the eight countries. These networks will facilitate agro-dealers’ access to financial services, strengthen their ability to deliver more inputs in a timely manner and improve the quality of their technical advice to farmers, even beyond COMRAP. In turn, this will stimulate smallholder farmers’ demands for improved agro-inputs and facilitate the marketing of their surplus production.

Partner Identification/Contracting From September to December 2010, IFDC identified and signed contracts for the implementation of the agrodealer development component of COMRAP with a number of ‘host country partners.’ The primary role of the host country partners was to work closely with IFDC and AGMARK to identify trainers, facilitate trainings, liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and other government agencies in the respective countries and oversee and maintain the accreditation of trained agro-dealers. IFDC signed contracts with the following host country partners: Rochdale Cooperative Development Consult PLC of Ethiopia; Rural Marketing Development Trust (RUMARK) of Malawi; Regional Excellence and Development Initiative (REDI) of Swaziland; the Uganda National Agro-Dealers’ Association (UNADA) of Uganda; ELIF Business Solutions (SME ToolKit Project) of Zambia; and the African Center for Fertilizer Development (ACFD) of Zimbabwe. In Burundi and Rwanda, IFDC worked with existing IFDC offices in arranging and delivering training to agro-dealers and agents.

Training of Trainers The purpose of the ToT activities was to impart product knowledge about fertilizers, seeds and crop protection products (CPPs), skills in business management and output marketing to men and women from the eight COMRAP countries. Upon completion of the ToT training, they were then used as trainers to train agro-dealers and agro-dealer agents in their respective countries. IFDC was to train at least 10 trainers from each of the eight countries. Four ToT workshops were held between September and November 2010. The first ToT workshop was held September 6-13, 2010, in Lusaka, Zambia. The workshop brought together 46 potential trainers (11 of whom were women) drawn from MoAs, training institutions and the private sector of Malawi, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The second ToT workshop took place in Matsapha, Swaziland, during September 16-23, 2010. Sixteen participants (11 men and five women) from both the public and private sectors and agriculture graduates from

COMRAP Project Summary

The baseline survey and training needs assessments were also important in providing information for the development of general curriculum for agro-dealer and agent trainings, as well as in conducting ToT courses for selected agro-dealers. The general curriculum was used across the countries to guide COMRAP in-country training teams in maintaining basic standards. Owing to the unique nature of circumstances in the COMRAP countries, individual training needs were further tailored to suit local country contexts. For example, local names and local currency were used in some of the finance module exercises. Two sets of training materials/ curricula were developed for the agro-dealer/agent trainings – The Technical Training Module and Business Management Module. The Technical Training Module provided basic information on fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, as well as other technologies and product handling. The Business Management Module focused on the general principles of running a small agro-dealer shop, including managing working capital, managing stocks, selling and marketing, record-keeping, product/service costing and pricing and managing business/customer relations.

7


COMRAP Project Summary 8

the University of Swaziland participated in the training. The training was opened by Dr. Robert Thwala, the MoA principal secretary, who emphasized the need for Swaziland to improve its food productivity to achieve food self‑sufficiency. The third workshop was held in Kigali, Rwanda, October 7-15, 2010, for participants from Burundi and Rwanda. A total of 36 participants (including 11 women) drawn from the MoAs, the private sector and farmers’ cooperatives attended the training, which included a field trip to Kabuga to visit practicing agro-dealers. The fourth ToT workshop for participants from Ethiopia was held in Nairobi, Kenya, October 11-18, 2010. Sixteen participants (including five women) from the public and private sectors and farmers’ cooperatives in Ethiopia attended the workshop, which was opened by Piero Nardi of the European Commission office in Nairobi. During the training, participants visited an agro-dealer in Embu to learn how a business is operated in Kenya (including how capacity development interventions have improved the business). A total of 114 trainers (36 women) were trained across the eight countries. In all the workshops, a classroom format was used, supported by audio-visual aids and question-and-answer sessions. Trainers used a participatory approach including the use of group discussions and some practical exercises. Similar training programs were used for all the in-country trainings. Participants received both soft and hard copies of the training manuals. The main outcome of the ToT workshops was the development of country-specific COMRAP training work plans and reports of specific ToT trainings.

Agro-Dealer/Agent Trainings Following the successful completion of the ToT workshops and development of country-specific work plans, IFDC, AGMARK and host country partners embarked on in-country agro-dealer/agent training in late October 2010. In each of the countries, agro-dealers were selected based on several criteria: involvement in some form of business, particularly the agro-input business; interest in the agro-input business; demonstrated capacity to

p Participants

in the Training of Trainers Workshop held in Kigali, Rwanda, October 7-15, 2010.


The first country to conduct the agro-dealer/agent training was Uganda, followed by Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Uganda, the first in-country training took place October 24-November 4, 2010, in Kampala. In Swaziland, the in-country agro-dealer training was held in Manzini, October 25-November 1, 2010. Burundi and Rwanda joined Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe by mounting their trainings in January and February 2011, respectively. Burundi and Rwanda adopted a model somewhat different from the other countries whereby the six-day agro-dealer training was split into two, three-day trainings for the former and three, two-day trainings for the latter. While this model suited agro-dealers/agents who could not be away from their businesses for the normal eight-day training duration, it posed challenges in ensuring that those trained returned for the second and/or third round to complete the training. Due to the delayed start in these two countries, trainings were held simultaneously in several locations in order to catch up with rest of the countries and to ensure targets were met before project-end. Other agro-dealer/agent training events held during the quarter ending December 31, 2010, are detailed in Table 2, which shows the disaggregated figures for the total number of participants in the different countries.

COMRAP Project Summary

run a business successfully; the ability to read and write; and an understanding/appreciation of marketing. Farmer associations, cooperative unions, business associations and relevant government departments within the target countries worked closely with the host institution in identifying and selecting the trainees.

9


COMRAP Project Summary 10 Table 2. Summary of Participants Trained During the Training Events (October-December 2010)

No. of Men Participants

No. of Women Participants

Total No. of Participants

Agro-dealers

55

35

90

Oct. 31-Nov. 4, Kampala

Agents

44

29

73

Nov. 14-20, Mbale

Agro-dealers

56

33

89

Nov. 21-25, Mbale

Agents

38

18

56

Dec. 5-16, Mbarara

Agro-dealers

63

27

90

Dec. 13-16, Mbarara

Agents

66

27

93

Oct. 25-Nov. 1

Agro-dealers

28

44

72

Nov. 17-24

Agro-dealers

38

49

87

Nov. 1-8, Kadoma

Agro-dealers

25

52

77

Dec. 4-11, Mutare

Agro-dealers

25

72

97

Nov. 16-23, Blantyre

Agro-dealers

53

14

67

Nov. 19-22

Agents

4

2

6

Dec. 13-19, Mponela

Agro-dealers

81

47

128

Dec. 16-19, Mponela

Agents

0

0

0

Nov. 29-Dec. 6, Chipata

Agro-dealers

51

37

88

Dec. 13-20, Ndola

Agro-dealers

53

22

75

Dec. 15-22, Livingstone

Agro-dealers

59

22

81

Dec. 3-6, Chipata

Agents

32

13

45

Dec. 17-20, Eastern (Ndola) Agents

30

13

43

Ethiopia

0

0

0

Rwanda

0

0

0

Burundi

0

0

0

801

556

1,357

Country

Uganda

Swaziland Zimbabwe

Malawi

Zambia

Date and Venue of Training

Type of Training

Oct. 24-30, Kampala

Total Number of Participants Trained


COMRAP Project Summary 11

p Participants

during a group discussion at the second agents’ training session held in Goromondzi, Ruwa, Zimbabwe (July 8-10, 2011).

In all the countries, trainers used training materials/curricula developed by IFDC/AGMARK and validated by stakeholders. Materials consisted of the Business Management and Technical Modules. During January-April 2011, 4,321 agro-dealers and agents were trained across seven countries (excluding Ethiopia). Of these, 1,536 were women. As of April 30, 2011, a total of 5,682 agro-dealers and agents had been trained in seven of the eight COMRAP countries (excluding Ethiopia). Of those trained, 4,475 were agro-dealers (1,580 women and 2,895 men) and 1,207 were agents (438 women, 769 men). This represents 73 percent of the approximately 7,800 total agrodealers and agents targeted for the eight countries. By the end of April 2011, a total of 1,580 women agro-dealers and 438 women agents had been trained. This represents 36 percent of the total agro-dealers/agents trained. Ethiopia conducted its first training in Adama, Oromia, May 2-9, 2011. Delays in the start of in-country trainings in Ethiopia occurred because of lengthy discussions with the government regarding implementation modalities. By mid-July, however, Ethiopia had conducted four agro-dealer/agent trainings in four provinces with a total of 433 participants (305 agro-dealers and 128 agents) trained, representing 78 percent of the total country target (initially set at 550). During June-August 2011, several countries completed their in-country agro-dealer and agent trainings. Burundi, Malawi and Rwanda completed training in June 2011, and Uganda and Zambia completed training in August 2011. As of August 31, 2011 (the initial date of completion of the COMRAP activities), COMRAP had trained 7,383 agro-dealers and agents across eight countries. Of these, 5,599 are agro-dealers (1,845 women and 3,753 men) and 1,784 are agents (584 women, 1,200 men). This represented 94 percent of the approximately 7,800 total agro-dealers and agents targeted for the eight countries.


COMRAP Project Summary

Training of agro-dealers and agents continued during the COMRAP extension period (September-December 2011) in Ethiopia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. Three agro-dealer/agent training sessions were held in Ethiopia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, respectively. By December 31, 2011, a total of 7,908 agro-dealers and agents had been trained in the eight countries under COMRAP (exceeding the target of 7,800). Of those trained, 5,874 were agro-dealers and 2,034 were agrodealer agents. Of the 5,874 agro-dealers trained, 1,975 were women. Of the 2,034 agents trained, 653 were women. Table 3 shows the summary of agro-dealers/agents trained in the eight countries. A detailed summary showing the number of agro-dealers and agents trained per session as of December 31, 2011, is attached as Annex 1. Table 3. Number of Agro-Dealers/Agents Trained (as of December 31, 2011)

12

Country Total No. Target Trained

% against Target

Total No. Men Trained

Total No. Women Trained

Country

Type of Training

Burundi

Agro-dealers

400

400

100

339

61

Agents

150

151

100.67

102

49

 

551

 

441

110

 

Total

Ethiopia

Agro-dealers

400

449

112.25

411

38

Agents

150

244

162.67

205

39

 

693

 

616

77

1000

1098

688

410

300

249

83.00

183

66

 

1347

 

871

476

 

Total

Malawi

Agro-dealers Agents

109.8

 

Total

Rwanda

Agro-dealers

800

846

105.75

606

240

Agents

250

254

101.6

159

95

 

1100

 

765

335

176

228

 

Total

Swaziland

Agro-dealers

400

404

101

Agents

150

151

100.67

80

71

 

555

 

256

299

1000

910

91

635

275

300

298

99.33

202

96

 

1208

 

837

371

1000

994

99.4

650

344

400

377

94.25

218

159

 

1371

 

868

503

 

Total

Uganda

Agro-dealers Agents

 

Total

Zambia

Agro-dealers Agents

 

Total

Zimbabwe

Agro-dealers

800

773

96.63

393

380

Agents

300

310

103.33

232

78

 

1083

 

625

458

7,800

7,908

5,279

2,629

  Grand Total

Total  

101.38

% Women against Total Trained

19.96

11.11

35.34

30.45

53.87

30.71

36.69

42.29  


n Burundi Training in Burundi began in February 2011, with the first training held in Bujumbura. All the trainings were coordinated by IFDC’s Burundi office as host partner. The target was to train 400 agro-dealers and 150 agents. As in other countries, agro-dealers in Burundi are critical in enhancing the agricultural knowledge of farmers and consequently in increasing the country’s agricultural output. Agents, on the other hand, help agro-dealers to sell; they are often the first contact with farmers and can provide them with specific and helpful information about agro-inputs. The trainings in Burundi were divided into two training sessions. The first three-day training session covered technical topics and the second covered business management. At the end of the second round of trainings, it was felt that the agro-dealers needed additional training in business management. Therefore, all of the agrodealers were called back for another two-day training on business management, bringing the total number of training days to eight, as in other countries. The trainings were conducted in four locations representing the country’s regions (Gitega for the central-eastern provinces, Ngozi for the northern provinces, Bujumbura for the western provinces and Makamba for the southern provinces). Agent training took place in one four-day sessions in the same venues as the agro-dealer training.

Participants Participants for the trainings were drawn from Burundi’s four regions. Recruitment of agro-dealers/agents was conducted by IFDC in collaboration with the MoA and the trainers.

Participant Expectations: u To receive knowledge and skills in agribusiness and seeds. u To be recognized as certified agro-dealers. u To receive support from COMESA and/or IFDC (funding and loans). u To advocate to the government so that agro-dealers can participate in these functions. u To be linked to other agro-dealers in the COMESA region. u To learn new information on how to improve their businesses.

COMRAP Project Summary

Summary of Country-Specific Reports

13


COMRAP Project Summary 14

Agro-Dealer Trainings A total of 400 agro-dealers were trained during the four-month period in Burundi. Table 4 below shows the number of agro-dealers trained in the first, second and third round of training held in the four different locations in Burundi. Table 4. Summary of Participants Trained in Burundi by Location and Session

Training Venues

Participants Expected

First Session (3 days)

Second Session (3 days)

Extra Training (2 days)

Bujumbura

100

96

95

93

Gitega

140

136

129

119

Ngozi

100

119

116

114

60

58

59

59

400

409

399

385

Makamba Total

In the first training session, 409 agro-dealers were trained about the technical aspects of inputs. During the second round of trainings, the number dropped to 399 agro-dealers. By the third round, the number had dropped to 385. The rate of participation by women was not high (under the 40 percent directed by ACTESA), but the percentage increased during the next training sessions in Ngozi and Makamba. The chart below illustrates the number of men and women agro-dealers trained in the different locations across the country. Figure 1. Number of Men and Women Agro-Dealers Trained, by Location

Mr. Zenon Nsananikiye, from the MoA and Livestock (and the national coordinator for COMRAP in Burundi), supported the trainings by visiting almost all of the agro-dealer and agent training workshops. The trainings were also supported by other partners including AGMARK, IFDC and Women in Agro-Business in Sub-Saharan Africa Alliance (WASAA). Representatives of the organizations visited training sites to provide support and to ensure that quality standards were maintained across the eight COMRAP countries.


A total of 151 agro-dealer agents were trained during February-June 2011 across the four regions, exceeding the target of 150. The objective of the agent training was to equip them with the knowledge and skills to be able to provide farmers with information on inputs in order to increase agricultural production. Topics covered were similar to those in the agro-dealer trainings except that agents received only an overview on the technical topics because the training time was shorter (four days compared with eight days for agrodealers). The percentage of women agents trained was significantly higher than that of agro-dealer women trained – 34 percent for agents compared to 16 percent for agro-dealers. The same trainers were used to train both agro-dealers and agents. Table 5. Number of Agents (Men and Women) Trained in Burundi

Origins

Men

Women

Total

Bujumbura

19

14

33

Gitega

41

16

57

Ngozi

19

11

30

Makamba

20

11

31

Total

99

52

151

The chart below shows the number of men and women agents trained in different locations. Figure 2. Number of Agents Trained in Burundi by Location and Gender

Training Methodology and Approaches

The training was delivered using the set-up, deliver and follow-up (SDF) methodology as presented in the ToT. Participatory approaches were used during the training; question and answer and small group work sessions increased participation and comprehension. Debates were lively. Some small group exercises were organized to check if participants understood concepts (for example, exercises on the ability to complete a business register). Field demonstrations were held and these increased the comprehension of illiterate participants.

COMRAP Project Summary

Agent Training

15


COMRAP Project Summary 16

p A group

of agents during a small group discussion about seeds in Bujumbura.

The content delivered was prepared from a manual written in the Kirundi language, the main language used by all the participants during the training for technical topics. The modules on business were translated from French to Kirundi. Translation was done by a team of trainers under the supervision of the consultant, the national coordinator and the principal trainer from AGMARK. For the business topics, the business management module developed by AGMARK was used. This was also translated into Kirundi.

Issues and Challenges u Completing the application and evaluation forms was a challenge for the trainers because it was in English,

which is not understood well by all of the trainers. It was translated from English to Kirundi, the sole language used by all participants. u The organization of two training sessions of three days each is not as effective as a single eight-day session.

However, participants did not want to work on weekends. u Training for six days was insufficient to cover all the training topics. Two extra days were added, equaling

the eight training days in other countries. u Female participation was lower than targeted (under the 40 percent directed by ACTESA); the majority of

agro-businesses in Burundi are run by men. Female participation increased in Ngozi and Makamba and for the agent trainings. u Participants expressed their wish to get certificates immediately after the second session of training. This

was not possible because the certificates were not yet available. u Low literacy levels of some participants hampered knowledge transfer. Work groups and other

participative methods were used.


u For the majority of participants, this training was the first they had on these topics. u Before the training, participants considered themselves primarily as ‘sellers.’ After the training, they

considered themselves as agro-dealers. It was clearly understood that a more client-driven approach generates mutual benefits for the agro-dealers and their farmer-customers (who receive better information and services closer to the farm). Participants hope that after the training, COMESA will provide support (funding to support agro-dealers). Each participant learned about the dangers inherent in handling chemical products; before the training they didn’t know whether chemicals were/were not dangerous/poisonous. They also learned the importance of wearing protective clothing. u Participants asked the facilitators if IFDC can support the Government of Burundi to produce its own

fertilizers because import costs are very high. The response given is that agro-dealers and traders should form associations, work together and import together so that they can become stronger financially, and therefore can reduce agro-input import costs. Associations will also help them access loans and other financial products, which are necessary to increase imports and grow their businesses. u Where participants’ identification was done by women, the rate of women’s participation was higher than

provinces where identification was done by men.

Recommendations u It is very important to organize follow-up training as soon as possible to mentor agro-dealers trained,

determine if the information learned in the training workshop is put into practice, check the degree of performance and prepare accreditation for those who had a high score. u It is important to train other agro-dealers who did not participate in the training and chose to send their

employees. u Additional agro-dealers should be trained and

women dealers should be sought in order to reach the targets set for female participation. u Participants recommended retraining courses

and a follow-up, as well as organized capacity building through visits to experienced agrodealers in other countries (because they are more developed and organized than Burundi). u It is very important to advocate for policy

changes with the government to help agrodealers conduct their businesses more effectively (for their own good, the good of their farmercustomers and for the good of the country).

“T

he training has been very helpful to me and after checking my business, I discovered that I had lost around 200,000 Burundian francs. I decided to choose another more prosperous place, and began to implement what we learned during the training. So now my business is much better. Thanks to COMRAP for the opportunity for this training.” – Habanabakize Djuma, trainee

u It is important to have the GPS coordinates of the

agro-dealers to eliminate those who are not real agro-dealers and facilitate monitoring and other steps that lead to certification. u Agro-dealers should work with financial institutions and advocate for lower interest rates on loans granted

to purchase agricultural inputs.

COMRAP Project Summary

Lessons Learned

17


COMRAP Project Summary 18

p Rwandan

agro-dealers during a group session, working on a ‘Costing and Pricing’ exercise.

Conclusion Participants were thankful for the training, the first in Burundi. A participant who represented all of the agrodealers expressed great satisfaction at being able to implement the information learned during the training. Participant satisfaction was very high because many found an opportunity to develop their businesses by improving relationships with their farmer-customers. Overall, the training was a success (apart from lower than desired participation by women). All the modules were completely covered. A majority of trainees declared their satisfaction regarding the training. Extra training days were necessary because the original training period was shorter than in other countries and some business topics were not well-covered before the additional training session.

n Ethiopia Ethiopia was last to begin agro-dealer/agent trainings, conducting the first training in May 2011. The delay was due to the time taken (by government) to adopt the unique model of implementing COMRAP using private sector agencies. Ethiopia is unique. Unlike the other COMRAP countries – where distribution of inputs is done by both government and private sector (private agro-dealers), inputs (fertilizer, seed) are imported and distributed by the government through primary cooperative societies. Currently, there are over 36,000 primary cooperative


The major contributions of cooperatives in poverty reduction activities are in enhancing food security by supplying and distributing agro-inputs. Cooperatives implement government efforts in the importation and distribution of improved agro-inputs to poor rural farmers. This has improved sustainable rates of growth of production for the last eight years. The cooperative sector has been responsible for about 80 percent of the importation and 95 percent of the distribution of chemical fertilizers to poor farmers. Cooperatives are also engaged in the export market and make significant contributions to Ethiopia’s foreign exchange (especially in the coffee market). The role of private dealers is also growing in regard to the competitive market environment. It is in line with this effort that the training program in Ethiopia focused on increasing the participation of private dealers. In Ethiopia, Rochdale Cooperative Development Consult Plc (in collaboration with IFDC) implemented the COMRAP agro-dealer development component.

Training Objective The objective of the training was to increase the capacity of agro-dealers and agents in agribusiness, product knowledge and agricultural output marketing in order to enhance production and productivity in Ethiopia. This training program directly fits into the country’s Agricultural Growth Program, which was designed to increase food security and incomes. The COMRAP program planned to train 550 agro-dealers and agents (400 agro-dealers and 150 agents). Unlike many African countries, agro-dealers in Ethiopia have relatively strong networking positions through associations (known as agricultural marketing cooperatives). Farmers access fertilizer and seed through these cooperatives. The issue of credit facilities is also handled by the primary and secondary cooperatives in which individual members are accountable for the repayment of loans.

p Participants

of the June 3-10, 2011, agro-dealer training in Mekele-Tigray, Ethiopia.

COMRAP Project Summary

societies and 272 cooperative unions with 5,957 affiliated cooperatives. There are 38 different types of cooperatives. Among them are agricultural marketing, savings and credit, multi-purpose, consumer, etc.

19


COMRAP Project Summary 20

p Keeping

records of inventory, sales and expenses help agro-dealers build their businesses.

Unlike other African countries, there are two types of agents – agricultural extension agents and cooperative promotion agents (or cooperative organizers) at the grassroots level.

Participants The trainings were planned so that each of the four major regions of Ethiopia (Oromia, Tigray, Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region [SNNPR]) benefited from at least two training sessions. Participants were drawn from the surrounding areas for trainings in a particular region. Participants were identified and selected by Rochdale in collaboration with the management of regional bureaus, unions and primary cooperatives. Private agro-dealers were also included in the training, even though they only engage in distribution of agricultural chemicals. As stated above, the majority of fertilizer and seed is distributed by the government through the cooperatives (over 95 percent of fertilizers and 85 percent of seed). In each training session, participants included both agro-dealers and agents. They received the training in two separate classes. In all regions the training for agro-dealers was eight days in length while agent training was for three days. Rochdale made concerted efforts to get the training documents translated into three local languages within a very short time since the program started late in Ethiopia. Materials were distributed to trainees in soft and hard copies. Each training session was officially opened by officials of either the Regional Agricultural Bureau or Cooperative Development Agency. The opening ceremonies were also attended by a representative from the MoA and the COMRAP coordinator. The sessions were marked by an opening speech by the regional officials, introductory remarks by representatives of Rochdale, IFDC and AGMARK and objectives of the training from the lead trainer. Officials emphasized the importance of the training and urged the participants to do their best to realize the goal of improving input delivery. The opening ceremony gave participants the opportunity to introduce themselves to other trainees, trainers and visitors. At this point, government officials encouraged trainees to actively and seriously participate during deliberations. Experience-sharing was also encouraged during their stay. Representatives of IFDC and AGMARK who participated introduced the objectives of COMRAP. They also urged trainees to actively participate during discussion sessions. By the end of the agro-dealer/agent trainings in Ethiopia, 687 agro-dealers and agents had been trained. The matrix below summarizes the number of agro-dealers and agents trained across the various regions in Ethiopia.


Summary of Agro-Dealers/Agents Trained in Ethiopia

M

F

T

M

F

T

M

F

T

OROMIA / ADAMA

77

5

82

49

6

55

126

11

137

May 2-9, 2011

SNNPR / HAWASSA

88

6

94

29

-

29

117

6

123

May 12-19, 2011

TIGRAY / MEKELLE

31

3

34

5

2

7

36

5

41

June 3-10, 2011

AMHARA / BAHIRDAR

81

7

88

30

10

40

111

17

128

Aug 23-30, 2011

OROMIA II / ADAMA II

33

-

33

30

2

32

63

2

65

Sep 19-26, 2011

COMRAP Project Summary

Table 6.

AMHARA II / BAHIRDAR II

36

5

41

24

6

30

60

11

71

Nov 10-17, 2011

21

TIGRAY / MEKELLE II

23

4

27

16

4

20

39

8

47

Nov 21-28, 2011

SNNPR / HAWASSA II

36

5

41

30

4

34

66

9

75

Dec 3-10, 2011

TOTAL

405

62

440

213

34

247

618

69

687

Region

Agro-Dealers Trained

Agents Trained

Total Trained

Training Dates

Participant Expectations Participants’ expectations from the various trainings are summarized as follows: u To receive new information on how to run their businesses. u To deliver quality products to their customers. u To improve their knowledge on how to properly use and sell fertilizers, chemicals and improved seeds to

farmers. u To become certified agro-dealers. u To be networked with other agro-dealers in the country and the region. u To receive more inputs on time and with a better price for farmers. u To gain knowledge on how to provide better services to their customers. u To know more about business and strategic planning.

Course Content Trainees were provided with handouts translated from materials developed by IFDC/AGMARK in Business Management and Technical Modules. The training modules included: basic business management, agricultural marketing and technical product knowledge. The topics covered under the business management module included: managing business relationships, managing working capital, business records, costing and pricing and selling and marketing. The agricultural marketing course covered introduction to agricultural marketing,


COMRAP Project Summary 23

p Healthy t Bulk

maize growing on a demonstration plot.

fertilizer at an agro-input shop.

cereal bulking and aggregation, grain storage and handling, market cost pricing and warehouse management. The technical course covered fertilizer, seed and CPPs.

Training Methodology Three different local languages were used for instruction depending on the region: Oromifa for Oromia; Amharic for Amhara and SNNPR and Tigrinyha for Tigray. Videos showed how to effectively use agro-inputs. The manuals were also helpful and were translated into the local languages. The manuals were printed and distributed to trainees to use as references at home. Trainings were organized according to methodologies recommended during the ToT training. A participatory approach was used in which trainees were encouraged during the question-and-answer sessions. Another approach used was group discussion where trainees were divided into small groups to stimulate discussions and experience-sharing. In small group discussions, participants were encouraged to do the calculations and other exercises that would enhance their skills in bookkeeping and financial management. Trainees presented their findings from the group discussions to the plenary through the trainers. The trainers assisted them during the presentations. Guest speakers were invited to most of the trainings and discussed topics such as the importance of capacity building for cooperatives to enhance food security and economic development, access and utilization of agricultural credit, the operation of an agricultural chemicals business and issues related to fertilizer and seed supply and distribution, the operation and performance of cooperative federations, etc. Trainees actively participated during these sessions and tried to link them with the information they received during the training.

The Training Success Story and Lessons Learned u Training brought cooperative leaders, professional managers and development agents together. This rare

opportunity enabled them to share their views and field experiences. During general discussions, guest speakers were present and the topics of input procurement, storage, transportation, distribution and credit facilities were raised.


COMRAP Project Summary 24

p A group

discussion during a training session.

u A consensus was also reached that by encouraging and supporting cooperatives to apply modern agro-

input and farming techniques, smallholder farmers’ incomes can be increased, their purchasing power enhanced and their vulnerability reduced. u Capacity building in the management and marketing of agricultural produce is believed to rapidly

shift smallholder farmers from low productivity and low income to higher productivity/higher income livelihood systems. Without the appropriate institutional mechanisms to improve the supply of agro-inputs and output marketing, smallholders in the country are unlikely to realize the benefit of a competitive market. Cooperatives represent one such mechanism. u Trainees considered themselves as distributors of agro-inputs before the training. After the training they

considered themselves as actual agro-dealers. u Trainees were giving less attention to the effects of chemicals before the training. After the training all

recognized the cautionary measures that must be taken in dealing with chemicals. u There is a need to work with many stakeholders to increase the participation of women. u How to network agro-dealers both at regional and national levels was raised by participants. u Participants asserted that cooperatives are an important means of linking farmers to markets locally and

internationally, increasing agricultural productivity and ultimately reducing poverty.

Issues and Challenges u Language was a challenge. As indicated above, three different languages are spoken in the four regions

of the country. It was difficult to find one trainer who could speak all three languages. Hence some of the trainers had to be sourced locally from within the region and therefore, did not undergo the COMRAP ToT. Translation into three local languages, customization and adaptation of AGMARK’s training modules was difficult.


u Participants’ different levels of education made imparting knowledge more difficult. u Trainees had difficulty completing the application forms since they were written in English. Rochdale

translated the evaluation form into one local language. u In the trainings (agro-dealer/agent), the level of participation by women was very low compared to other

countries. This is due to the patriarchal nature of the society and also the system for distribution of inputs – through cooperatives, which are usually dominated by men. The participation of women was low since the number of women cooperative members is low. Traditional barriers also contributed to low turnout of women. u Literacy was also a problem for a few participants.

COMRAP Project Summary

u The training did not start when it was scheduled.

25

Conclusion and Recommendations The Ethiopian government‘s policy toward cooperatives is supportive in terms of creating an enabling environment. Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan foresees a central role for agricultural cooperatives in increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers. It apparently envisages cooperatives being active in input supply and output marketing. The underlying rationale for developing agricultural cooperatives is that farmers who are organized for collective input procurement, output marketing and other activities are able to achieve higher yields (and subsequently higher incomes) than farmers who are not. COMRAP trainings were instrumental in achieving overall objectives of COMESA: “to contribute to improving rural food security and livelihoods in the COMESA region through training and capacity building of national and regional input producers and regulation of related regional frameworks.” The accreditation process is ongoing; the establishment of national and regional farmers’ organizations are anticipated. Long-term sustainability will be ensured by working in close collaboration with experienced partners and stakeholders. The training of accreditation experts (inspectors) in Ethiopia is to be held shortly. This will pave the way for agro-dealer accreditation. Rochdale efforts during the agro-dealer/agent training were successful. All partners in the implementation were supportive; ACTESA, IFDC and AGMARK staffs were involved throughout the process. The MoA’s Regional Bureaus of Agriculture and Regional Bureaus of Cooperatives were also helpful. Facilitators and organizers of the training also played a significant role. Rochdale’s recommendation can be summarized in one sentence: Given the importance of this effort in positively impacting national food security, there must be an emphasis on further trainings for more agro-dealers (in particular for women and youth) and follow-up activities to further the COMRAP implementation process.

n Malawi Trainings began in October 2010 and continued through June 2011. The Rural Market Development Trust (RUMARK) was contracted to implement COMRAP with targets of 1,000 trained agro-dealers and 300 trained agents. A total of 1,098 agro-dealers (688 male and 410 female) were trained (a 110 percent achievement of the target). The gender distribution of 62.6 percent male and 37.4 percent female is a significant achievement considering the nature of the business. A total of 249 agents (183 male and 66 female) were trained, or 83 percent of the target. The failure to achieve the target was due in part to the failure of the project fund managers to remit more funding despite training funds for Malawi being available.


COMRAP Project Summary 26

p A farmer

in Malawi next to a traditonal storage platform for harvested maize.

Training Objectives The first objective of the training was to equip agro-dealers with business management skills using a sixmodule curriculum and technical knowledge. This information consequently contributed to a strengthened agro-dealer network and supported output trade for key value chains. The second objective was to equip agents in technical and product knowledge, refresh their knowledge of extension skills and establish linkages between agro-dealers and agents. It was expected that the training program would result in: improved and sustainable access to agro-inputs by smallholder farmers; and improved marketing of agricultural produce by smallholder farmers through agrodealers. This would be realized by the establishment of a strong agro-dealer network in the COMESA region and improving output trade of key commodities through the establishment of support mechanisms for value chains of those commodities. While the primary beneficiary of the program is the smallholder farmer, the secondary beneficiaries are the 1,000 agro-dealers and 300 agents trained.

Participants Agro-dealers were selected from RUMARK’s database and prospective agro-dealers. There were, however, some challenges in identifying agents because the ACTESA definition did not apply to Malawi. An agreement was reached in which the agents would be comprised of agricultural extension staff from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MoA&FS), staff members of larger agro-dealer shops and input suppliers’ distributors.


Representatives of the following stakeholders were always invited to the training sessions – Farmers Organization Ltd, Monsanto Ltd, MoA&FS, Malawi Rural Finance Company Ltd., Seed Co Malawi Ltd, Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM), the European Union (EU) and Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM). Frequency of attendance varied from session to session; however, stakeholders’ representatives were always given the opportunity to make presentations on their services and respond to challenges that agro-dealers face in their business relationship. IFDC representatives also attended the sessions whenever possible.

Participant Expectations At each training session, participants were asked to provide expectations. They included: to receive basic and advanced training (as possible); how to develop business plans; how to conduct market surveys; how to create demand; how to access credit; how to conduct output marketing; and how to link effectively with suppliers. The expectations were addressed with the assistance of the various stakeholders (in addition to the trainers). However, satisfaction levels varied because of the different levels of exposure of the participants.

Course Content On average, the agro-dealers’ training sessions were conducted for seven days and covered 14 modules categorized in three broader topic categories of business management, output marketing and technical knowledge. Agent training lasted for four days and focused on technical knowledge and linkages. ACTESA agro-dealer and agent training manuals and handouts were used in the training sessions.

p Agro-dealer

agents during training at Mangochi, Malawi (June 13-16, 2011).

COMRAP Project Summary

There were 10 trainers (seven men and three women) who facilitated the training sessions. They came from RUMARK (seven), theMoA&FS (one) and the Agricultural Input Supply Association of Malawi – AISAM (two).

27


COMRAP Project Summary 28

Training Methodologies and Approaches The target number of trainees per session was 150. However, this varied slightly from venue to venue depending on facilities available. Because the agro-dealers are located across the country, the training was conducted at a centralized venue in each region. Due to variations in education and business expertise as well as the large numbers of trainees, they were split into two or three groups. Trainees were asked to indicate their medium of communication during training.

Training Evaluation At each training session, all trainees completed evaluations. A sample of 25 percent of the evaluation forms were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) and the following are the results:

“I

u Goal achievement – 98 percent indicated

that they achieved their goals at the training. u Clarity of training objectives – 81 percent

strongly agreed that the objectives of training were clearly defined. u Relevance of topics – 75 percent strongly

have attended more than one agrodealer training session in Malawi, but I benefited most from the COMRAP trainings, particularly in the areas of costing and pricing and output marketing. In the future, I would like to concentrate on output marketing because of the high profit.” Mrs. Florence Kahumbe Proprietor, Cash Plus agro-dealer shop Mtakataka Turnoff, Mangochi, Malawi

agreed that the topics were relevant. u Overall assessment of facilitators – 80

percent strongly agreed that facilitators were knowledgeable; encouraged active participation; answered questions in a complete and clear manner; used a variety of training methods; and were respectful of the different skills and values of participants. u General satisfaction – 88 percent were generally satisfied with all aspects of this training. u Learning points – The majority indicated that business management, costing and pricing, business

relations and product knowledge were very important. u Usefulness of topics – 61 percent indicated that all topics were useful. u Topics expected but not covered – 44 percent expected business accounting and market research skills

to be covered. About 20 percent expected information on livestock management. u Other topics to be added – Tracking the answer above, respondents indicated the following topics should

be added to additional training sessions: basic accounting; market research skills; livestock management; and weed management. u Recommendation to others – 99 percent would recommend the training to others. u Areas to improve – All (100 percent) indicated that they would have preferred a longer training session

and/or additional training sessions in the future.

Issues u Training as designed was very suitable for agro-dealers. Although such courses have been conducted in

Malawi previously, this training served three purposes. First, the training was extremely beneficial to those who had never been exposed to any training. This was clearly indicated in the trainees’ feedback. Secondly, for those who may have received such training before, this was a focused and topic-specific refresher


u In hindsight, various training modules should have targeted different categories of agro-dealers for

maximum impact. u Linkages to the other specific program interventions (improved access to financial services, agro-dealer

accreditation and harmonization of seed regulations and standards) were absent; however these are all important factors to a successful agro-dealership.

Challenges Challenges encountered can be grouped into three types: administrative/operational, financial and those emanating from the trainees. Administrative/operational challenges included: u There was no prior consultation with individual member countries to allow for modification of the training

material to suit individual country needs. u There were no guidelines for the selection of potential trainees although an application form was made

available. u There was a tendency to micro-manage the training on a one-size-fits-all basis. For example, evaluation

tools, number of trainers per training session, operational and implementation flexibility, etc. This did not allow for leeway to adjust the training (as long as the objectives were met). The design of the evaluation instruments made targeted analysis and coding difficult. u The definition of agents assumed uniformity in all participating countries. u The accreditation issue was not clarified. u Local adaptation of training materials should have been allowed.

n Challenges agro-dealers faced included: u Evaluation instruments were not user-friendly to most and were long. This compelled RUMARK to organize

dedicated sessions to fill out forms. u The flat transport rate for trainees created suspicion of RUMARK. u The different literacy, education levels and languages caused some trainees to lag behind. Trainers

sometimes had to schedule additional sessions to assist them. u Some trainees felt that the training duration was too short for all the modules. This could be true for those

with challenges in literacy levels. u Some of the agro-dealers expressed dissatisfaction over the absence of an opportunity to provide an

appraisal on the other aspects of COMRAP since they (agro-dealers) are the targeted beneficiaries.

Lessons Learned u It transpired that in the three components of COMRAP there were issues of national impact and issues of

regional impact yet all the components were given the same approach. u Trainees’ different knowledge levels necessitated protracted sessions in order for the class to be at the

same level. The demand for attendance was also influenced by the fact that there was monetary gain in the form of allowances and full scholarships.

COMRAP Project Summary

course. Third, the inclusion of new materials upgraded the information imparted in previous trainings. Due to lack of information provided prior to the training (as well as timing constraints) trainees’ expectations varied from information transfer to receiving grants, to assistance in accessing capital.

29


COMRAP Project Summary 30

Recommendations u Regional training must be based on a needs assessment because different countries are at various levels of

attainment and development. u If components of a program are implemented by different parties but all have a shared beneficiary, then

there is need for better liaison and coordination among the implementers so that the common or shared beneficiary is apprised of all the components. u A clearly defined Project Management Plan (PMP) must be developed by the implementing partner not by

the overseer. u There is need in such developmental programs to have an exit strategy for sustainability. u To promote gender parity, working with women groups to encourage participation is helpful. Publicity

regarding gender parity for specific programs exerts peer pressure to achieve parity.

Conclusion All participants showed enthusiasm and interest in the training as manifested by their commitment, hard work and interaction with the trainers. The training was very interactive. The agro-dealer training component was implemented in isolation of other components (such as the seed and plant commodity value chains and financial services). Agro-dealers did not have sufficient information regarding follow-on components. It would have been desirable if other components of COMRAP were highlighted by a representative from those components. This may have generated confidence-building.

n Rwanda Training of agro-dealers in Rwanda started on January 2, 2011, and continued until June 2011. Trainings were organized and coordinated by IFDC’s Rwanda Agro-Dealer Development (RADD) project. As in Burundi, agro-dealer trainings in Rwanda were conducted in three phases. The first phase took place in January, the second in February and the third in May. The decision to organize the training in phases was made during the technical meeting at IFDC’s Rwanda office in December 2010. It was decided that eight consecutive days of training would be a business hardship for many trainees, and the training objectives might not be reached. A decision was made to divide courses into three training phases, but with the same team of agrodealers, two days per group for the first two sessions and three days for the last session. The agro-dealers were grouped into ‘classes’ of about 30, and the venue received three classes per week. Only after all three training sessions were the agro-dealers deemed to have completed the training and hence receive a certificate. All six agent trainings took place in March. The agent training sessions lasted three days, with participants receiving training on technical product knowledge and business management. Due to the delays in starting the training in Rwanda, sessions were organized to take place back-to-back to save on implementation time. Further, the implementing team took into account the fact that no training activities could take place during April because this is the month when Rwanda remembers the victims of the 1994 genocide.


u Agro-dealers

on a field visit to other agro-input businesses.


COMRAP Project Summary 32

Participants By the end of the agro-dealer trainings in June 2011, a total of 846 agro-dealers and 254 agents had been trained. Table 7. Summary of Participants Trained in Rwanda per Session: January to June, 2011

Type of Training Agro-dealers

Session No.

Jan. 2011 (Series 1)

Feb. 2011 (Series 2)

May 2011 Total Country % Against (Series 3) Target Set Target

1

354

343

0

342

342

2

275

271

0

267

267

3

266

262

0

237

237

Total Agro-dealers trained

Agents

Mar. 2011 (Agents)

 

 

 

846

1

0

0

78

0

78

2

0

0

87

0

87

3

0

0

89

0

89

Total Number of Agents Trained

254

800

105.75

250

101.6

Participant Expectations Based on reports written by the training supervisors, the participants’ expectations included: u To learn more about agro-inputs. u To acquire knowledge on proper dosages of CPPs and fertilizers. u To improve business management skills, so that they can open their own businesses. u To learn how to calculate prices. u To learn more about quality seeds. u To learn more about the consequences of improper use of chemical products. u To understand agro-input market regulations in Rwanda. u To learn more about running an agro-input business (constraints and opportunities).

Training Methodology and Approaches The participative approach was used in formal sessions and breakout groups. Field trips (visiting shops and markets) were organized and interactive discussions involving the participants and trainers were used to ensure that specific interests of the participants were covered. The SDF model of training was used and all trainers had been trained on this approach. The host institution organized presentations from other institutions such as banks, input supply companies, agro-chemical companies, etc. These presentations, which usually took place on the afternoon of the third day of training, were an opportunity for others involved in the agro-input value chain to talk about their products and to meet and network with agro-dealers. It also presented an opportunity to link agro-dealers to input suppliers. During the last phase of agro-dealer trainings in May 2011, MINAGRI representatives presented temporary licenses to the trained agro-dealers.


COMRAP Project Summary 33

p Agro-dealers

received training through COMRAP regarding the use of AMITSA’s price collection processes.

Issues In general, the agro-dealers appreciated the training. In particular, the topics on business management were useful because they were relevant to daily activities and brought out areas of weakness in managing their businesses. In addition, they were happy with the mini-exhibition organized during the training because they were able to learn about new products and network with new companies operating in Rwanda. Further, agro-dealers were able to confirm the price of products and meet with suppliers, in the hope of helping the government fight against counterfeit products. Most importantly, agro-dealers appreciated the temporary license provided by MINAGRI, which will help them obtain a definitive license.

Challenges u Absence from training by some agro-dealers/agents due to sickness or other problems accounted for the

loss of 30 agro-dealers who did not receive temporary licenses. u Agro-dealers/agents who completed the training were not awarded certificates as promised. u A majority of the trainers had an agronomy background and were not well-equipped to conduct the

business management training. It was decided that a ToT workshop be held to equip trainers with the business management training skills required. This training was held at the beginning of March and delayed training for at least one week. u Language was a major challenge. Both the business and technical training modules had to be translated

from English to French and later from French to Kinyarwanda. u The training evaluation forms were not translated into Kinyarwanda and the English version proved a

challenge to complete. Although this problem was partly resolved by hiring temporary staff to help agrodealers/agents complete the form, there was confusion with business and owners’ names.


COMRAP Project Summary 34

p Agro-dealers

during a demonstration on the safe use and handling of CPPs.

u A promotional

banner outside the entrance of a training venue.

Lessons Learned Most agro-dealers were running their businesses without records; they memorized numbers or wrote the day’s transactions in a notebook without order. During training they were encouraged to use the knowledge and skills acquired in records management to better manage their business records. The training contributed to improving the visibility of COMESA and ACTESA throughout the country.

Conclusion and Recommendations u We wish to convey thanks to COMESA and COMRAP who contributed to the development of the agro-

input market in Rwanda. In addition, a special thanks is given to all of the agro-dealers and agents who participated in the training sessions. u We recommend that COMESA, MINAGRI, IFDC and AGMARK continue to collaborate in developing the

agro-input market in Africa, particularly in Rwanda, to eliminate hunger and poverty. u There is need to give participants’ certificates of attendance so that they build confidence and take the

program seriously. Accreditation of agro-dealers is a necessary next step. u It is recommended that COMESA organize follow-up training and technical assistance to the agro-dealers

prior to accreditation.


COMRAP Project Summary 36

p Participants

visiting one of the exhibition stands during the agro-input mini-exhibition organized by RADD in May 2011.

n Swaziland Swaziland was among the first four countries to begin the agro-dealer and agent trainings in October 2010. All trainings in Swaziland were coordinated by the local host partner, Regional Excellence and Development Initiative (REDI) in collaboration with IFDC/AGMARK. REDI is a training and consulting organization that offers short-term courses, organizational development and consulting services across the Sub-Saharan region. The program was supported by the MoA, which brought senior officials for the opening and closing ceremonies of all trainings. REDI also invited other stakeholders to the trainings as observers, including officials from the Swaziland National Agricultural Union (SNAU). All activities during the trainings were extensively covered in both print and electronic media. Training sessions were held in three locations in the country -- Matsapha, Big Ben and Siteki.

Agro-Dealer/Agent Training Objectives in Swaziland The objectives of the trainings in Swaziland included: u To improve competitiveness and integration of staple food markets in the region through improved micro-

and macro-economic policies as the drivers of those markets. u To improve and expand market facilities and services for key agricultural commodities. u To give agro-dealers basic skills in business management, output marketing and product knowledge. u To encourage food producers to increase supply. u To deal directly with the effects of volatile food prices on local populations. u To increase food production capacity and improve the way agriculture is managed in the longer term.

Participants Participants were selected by networking with the MoA and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), companies and associations that are already in the agro-dealer business. The participants were selected from


COMRAP Project Summary

all four regions of the country (Hhohho, Shiselweni, Lubombo and Manzini) and 408 agro-dealers were trained during the period (above the targeted 400). Of these, 245 were women (60 percent of the total trained) and 163 were men (40 percent of the total trained). Swaziland held five agro-dealer workshops. A total of 555 agro-dealers and agents (above the target of 550) were trained. Of these, 299 were women. Of the 404 agro-dealers trained, 228 were women, representing 101 percent of the target. The number of agents trained was 151 (including 71 women), of a target of 150, representing slightly more than 100 percent of the target. The following table gives a summary of agro-dealers and agents trained. Table 8. Summary of Agro-Dealers and Agents Trained in Swaziland, October 2010 to November 2011

Date and Venue

Type of Total Training Participants Participants Trained

# Men Trained

# Women Trained

Total AgroDealers

Total Agents

Male AgroDealers

Female AgroDealers

37

Male Female Agents Agents

25 Oct - 1 Agro-dealers Nov, Manzini

72

28

44

72

 

28

44

 

 

17-24 Nov, Hhohho

Agro-dealers

87

38

49

87

 

38

49

 

 

14-21 Feb, Manzini (Esibayeni)

Agro-dealers

83

38

45

83

 

38

45

 

 

7-14 Mar, Lubombo

Agro-dealers

85

27

58

85

 

27

58

 

 

9-11 Mar, Lubombo

Agents

49

36

13

 

49

 

 

36

13

26-29 Apr, Siteki

Agents

50

23

27

 

50

 

 

23

27

16-18 May, Lubombo

Agents

52

21

31

21

31

7-14 Nov, Lubombo

Agro-dealers

77

45

32

77

 

 

555

256

299

404

SUBTOTAL

53   151

Figure 4. Statistical Distribution of Participation by Gender at the Agro-Dealer Training Held in Big Bend (November 7-14, 2011)

45

32

176

228

80

71


COMRAP Project Summary 38

Participant Expectations Agro-dealer and agent expectations included: u Introduce and brief participants about the COMRAP program. u Empower participants with business management skills and knowledge. u Impart knowledge and skills on agro-inputs (seeds, CPPs and fertilizers). u Identify specific challenges facing the farming community in the respective provinces and

discuss the possible strategies that could be employed to address these challenges. u Provide participants with knowledge on output marketing and the importance of involving

agro-dealers in output marketing. u Understand and appreciate the role of all stakeholders (including government) in the

agribusiness development value chain. u Recognize the contribution of women in smallholder farming and the need to support them. u Share experiences, enhance business linkages and networks. u Share knowledge about the strategies that farmers are using to combat the effects of dry

spells and droughts in the country. u Involve private companies; remind them of the role of agro-dealers in input and output

marketing systems and create a sustainable network between private companies and the rural agro-input suppliers. u Form a national agro-dealer association and local agro-dealer associations, which are

demand-driven and able to serve the interests of all agro-dealers in the country. u Develop recommendations for policy change or improvement for the betterment of

smallholder farmers.

Course Content and Training Materials Trainers used materials developed by IFDC/AGMARK for both the agro-dealer and agent trainings. The Business Management module covered topics such as managing working capital, costing and pricing, business relations and output marketing and marketing. The technical module covered topics such as seeds, fertilizers, and CPPs – including safe use and handling. REDI reviewed the materials and made changes to incorporate local examples that were relevant to participants. All trainees were given bound copies of training modules on business management (including output marketing) and technical knowledge.

Training Methodology Participants were briefed on the facilitation methods that were to be used. Presentations were made in the local language supported by notes and workbooks. PowerPoint presentations were also used during


At the end of each session, participants were given a form to answer questions and evaluate the course. A majority of the participants agreed and/or strongly agreed that the information was easy to understand (i.e., the way facilitators presented the topics covered). Participants also agreed that the most beneficial topics were managing working capital, managing stock, basic business relationships and warehouse and inventory management. Most participants strongly agreed that the manual provided was helpful and covered the relevant topics discussed (such as technical aspects and fertilizer use).

Presentations by External Stakeholders Presentations by external partners were mainly done by representatives of banking institutions – First National Bank, Swazi Bank and NedBank. Accessing credit and/or finance for re-stocking of inputs was identified as a major challenge by most agro-dealers. It was therefore important to bring representatives of the banks and agro-dealers together to discuss ways of resolving the issue of accessing credit.

Issues and Challenges u Participants expected a session on social issues such as HIV/AIDS. The course covered only business and

technical aspects of the agro-input business. u In Swaziland training materials were not translated into Siswati. u The concept of an agro-dealership is still new (particularly for the targeted small-scale agro-dealers). u The process of forming an agro-dealer association/network began toward the end of the project. It would

have been more beneficial to agro-dealers if the process had begun earlier. u There were challenges in recruiting agents because there are very few in Swaziland. u Most of the small agro-dealerships in Swaziland are seasonal. This made it difficult to recruit agro-dealers

to attend training during the rainy season when business was at its peak. u The training period (eight days) was viewed by some as too long. Some employers would not allow

employees to be out of the workplace for such long periods of time. u Participants also expected to be issued certificates of attendance after completing the course. The issue

could not be addressed since there were no certificates that were readily available.

Conclusion The agro-dealer training program in Swaziland was successful. More than 500 agro-dealers and agents were trained during the program and more than 40 percent of those trained were women.

Recommendations u Certificates should be given to participants to boost their confidence and credibility. u Clear recruitment guidelines should be given to the host institutions.

COMRAP Project Summary

the training. Participants were also given exercises to use for practice during the training, engaged in group discussions and overnight assignments were also given. They were also required to conduct a recap on what was learned the previous day (a participant was selected at random to lead the recap exercise).

39


COMRAP Project Summary 40

p Agro-dealers

on a field visit in Rwanda.

n Uganda The agro-dealer development component of COMRAP was implemented by the Uganda National Agroinput Dealers Association (UNADA) in collaboration with AGMARK and trainers who had participated in the ToT in Lusaka, Zambia. Agro-dealers and agents were trained in business management, product knowledge and output marketing with the hope that the trained agro-dealers would gain the knowledge and skills required to operate sustainable and profitable businesses. This would lead to improved delivery of inputs to smallholder farmers. The objective of the trainings was to build the capacity of the agro-dealers and agents in order to contribute to improving rural food security and livelihoods through sustainable agro-input distribution mechanisms. Specifically, the trainings focused on the following: u Empower participants with business management skills and knowledge. u Impart knowledge and skills about agro-inputs (seeds, CPPs and fertilizers). u Provide participants with knowledge on output marketing and the importance of involving agro-dealers in

output marketing. u Share experiences, enhance business linkages and networks. u Introduce and brief participants about the COMRAP program. u Understand and appreciate the role of UNADA in agro-input development in Uganda.


UNADA mobilized agro-dealers and agents to participate in the COMRAP trainings. Ten regional trainings were held for agro-dealers while four training sessions were carried out for agents. A total of 911 agro-dealers (32 percent women) and 298 agents (32 percent women) were trained from October 2010 to August 2011. Tables 9 and 10 show the total number of agro-dealers and agents trained in Uganda.

Table 9. Number of Agro-Dealers Trained Under COMRAP in Uganda

Date of Training

Venue

No. of participants

Region(s)

Men

Women

Total

24th Oct. - 4th Nov. 2010

Kampala

South Central

55

35

90

14th - 25th December 2010

Mbale

Eastern Mountain

56

33

89

5th -16th December 2010

Mbarara

Kigezi

63

27

90

9th - 19th January 2011

Masaka

South Western

53

39

92

23rd Jan – 3rd Feb 2011

Soroti

Eastern Lowland

63

29

92

1st – 12th April 2011

Gulu

Northern (Acholi)

63

27

90

13th – 26th May 2011

Lira

Northern (Lango)

66

24

90

5th – 16th June 2011

Arua

West Nile

86

9

95

6th – 14th June 2011

Iganga

East Central

64

31

95

24th July – 16th Aug 2011

Masaka

Western and Mid Western

53

35

88

622

289

911

Total

Table 10. Number of Agro-Dealer Agents Trained by Region and Gender in Uganda

Date of Training

Venue

No. of participants

Region(s)

Men

Women

Total

31st Oct – 4th Nov 2010

Kampala

North and West Nile

44

29

73

21st – 25th Nov 2010

Masaka

Eastern mountain

38

18

56

12th – 16th Dec 2010

Masaka

Kigezi

66

27

93

16th – 20th Jan 2011

Masaka

East Central

54

22

76

202

96

298

Total 

Participant Expectations The participants’ expectations included: u Gain knowledge in effective agro-dealer business management. u Learn various ways of accessing credit and loans to run an agro-input business.

COMRAP Project Summary

Participants

41


COMRAP Project Summary 42

p An

agro-dealer training in Musanze, Rwanda, includes a visit to an agro-input shop.

u Networking with other stakeholders to ensure markets for the products and reliable sources of input

supplies. u Learn how to identify quality products from counterfeit products. u Share experiences in business management with fellow agro-dealers and also get new business contacts. u Learn how COMRAP can help agro-dealers acquire facilities for output marketing initiatives. u Gain accounting skills to better manage record-keeping. u To learn more about the role of UNADA in the agro-dealer sector. u Receive certificates of attendance/participation, hand-outs and manuals from the training. u Learn new strategies to improve marketing skills. u Learn the existing government policies (laws) governing seeds and other inputs.

Course Content Trainings covered business management, product knowledge and output marketing. These were covered by the commercial trainers. Various presentations were also made by external facilitators including seed suppliers, agro-chemical companies and distributors, government officials, grain companies/millers, banks and microfinance institutions such as savings and credit cooperatives. UNADA also took the opportunity to inform agrodealers on its benefits and how agro-dealers can work together to lobby government and other stakeholders for better policies.

Training Methodologies and Approaches Trainers delivered the theory from manuals prepared by IFDC/AGMARK and reviewed by UNADA to suit specific circumstances in Uganda. During the presentations, in addition to the lecture method, various participatory techniques were employed to ensure that participants learned more effectively and efficiently. These included the use of case studies, demonstrations, problem-solving techniques, plays, brain-teasers and use of group discussions and group presentations during plenary. Participants were divided into three groups in order to have more interaction/discussion with the facilitators and to maximize the knowledge and have a clear understanding of the issues they were handling and benefit from the individual experiences.


Issues and Challenges u A large number of participants stated that working capital management was a big problem. “There is a

time I looked at my shop – no money was in the counter nor could I see any stock; I wondered what I had done wrong,” recalled one agro-dealer. u Through lectures and experiential sharing, participants were able to appreciate the role of capital

management in business management. This was further explained by the external facilitators, basing it on the use of loans as a source of capital. Participants were conducting business alongside other activities and therefore needed to separate cash from each business. u Most agro-dealers are not registered and licensed with the regulatory control body (MoAs, Animal Industry

and Fisheries). This hinders them from participating in government programs involving the distribution of agro-inputs to farmers. u Participants learned different costs to incorporate in product pricing. They became aware of the dangers

of under-pricing and over-pricing and how to set competitive prices. These were among the new skills attained during the training. u Participants stated that record-keeping was a major problem and those who tried to keep records did not

have organized records (such as cash books, delivery notes, invoices, goods-received notes, etc.). u Agro-dealers are faced with competition from some government and NGO programs that provide

free inputs to farmers. This limits the agro-dealers’ customer base and makes their businesses highly unsustainable. u Many agro-dealers do not use protective gear in their shops and this is likely to have negative long-term

health effects. In regard to financing, most financial institutions do not have favorable credit facilities for agro-dealers. Interest rates are very high and other terms and conditions are difficult for small agro-dealers to meet. They called for alternative financing mechanisms including formation of savings and credit cooperatives for agro-dealers. u Agro-dealers appreciated the new component of output marketing, because it is the only way farmers can

be encouraged to buy more inputs. However, they indicated infrastructural challenges existing in the rural areas, including inadequate storage facilities, poor roads and erratic prices. Other challenges include poor quality standards of grain and disorganized farmers. u Many agro-dealers were not able to participate in the training because of limited resources at the time of

the training.

Lessons Learned u Agro-dealers generally agreed that management of working capital is an important yardstick to measure

a company's operational and financial efficiency. Fiscal management must form part of strategic and operational thinking. Efforts should constantly be made to improve the working capital position, yielding greater efficiency and improving customer satisfaction. u Though some agro-dealers were offering services to their farmer-customers such as technical advice on

the use of agro-inputs, active demand creation/marketing of the available inputs among farmers was not being carried out.

COMRAP Project Summary

Delivery of the theoretical part of the training was done during the morning sessions and most of the afternoons were reserved for external presenters. In addition, group discussions and plenary sessions, experience-sharing rather than lecture method were often used with case studies, demonstrations, problemsolving techniques and role playing.

43


COMRAP Project Summary

u Notes

44

adorn a wall during a COMRAP Training-of-Trainers session.

u Participants stated that record-keeping is still a problem and those who try do not have organized records. u Participants appreciated the module on managing business relationships and stated that they need to

develop relationships with various players in order to make their businesses stronger. They called upon government to do more inspections for agro-dealers in order to help them improve quality.

u Participants noted that promotion of fertilizers among farmers requires participation of all stakeholders

to convince small-scale farmers of the benefits of using fertilizers and improved seeds. There are still many misconceptions regarding the use of fertilizers among small-scale farmers.

u Most agro-dealers did not know much about the importance of different stakeholders in their business

and relationship building. Participants also did not know the various networking methods and other salient issues like trustworthiness and faithfulness to their customers.

Conclusion The COMRAP pilot phase was very successful with an achievement rate of over 91 percent of set targets. Overall objectives were achieved and reactions from the participants indicated that a great deal had been learned in business management, product knowledge and output marketing – which will improve agrodealers’ businesses.

Recommendations u More training and field visits.  There is need for more focused trainings on topics such as credit

management and business plan development. Agro-dealers suggested that visits to seed and grain companies should be part of the training so that they are able to observe what goes on in the value chain.

u Supportive kits.  Agro-dealer kits could be provided to agro-dealers as a start-up to implement what is

learned. The kit could include record-keeping books, safety gear, renovating the agro-dealer premises to make them unique and other equipment such as scales, moisture meters, etc.

u Financing agro-dealers.  A detailed study on alternative financing mechanisms for agro-dealers should

be undertaken to identify the most appropriate form and conditions for agro-dealer financing. Despite the various products and services offered by commercial banks, it is still difficult for agro-dealers to access credit and/or loans.

u Registering agro-dealers’ businesses.  The trainers encouraged agro-dealers to formalize their

businesses and develop strong business profiles by registering their businesses as limited companies, partnerships or as cooperatives. This will enable them to operate as legal entities and do business with the government and other stakeholders.

u Agro-inputs guide.  There is a need for UNADA to liaise with the relevant stakeholders to develop and

constantly update simplified manuals that give guidance on the available inputs, agronomic practices, recommended usage, handling and storage of seed, fertilizers and CPPs. The guides would be useful to agro-dealers, farmers, agricultural officers and other stakeholders involved in improving agricultural productivity.

u Follow-up.  There is a need to conduct follow-up visits to all of the trained agro-dealers to assess

performance and find out if they are putting the theory into practice. UNADA could capture success stories and testimonies. A documentary of the findings could be made and shared with other stakeholders.

u Agro-dealer savings and credit cooperative societies (SACCOs).  During each of the trainings,

agro-dealers decided to establish SACCOs in the 10 regions of the country. The SACCOs were started to provide credit for agro-dealers (given the challenges encountered in accessing credit from commercial financial institutions). Agro-dealers need assistance in officially registering SACCOs, and then be trained on management.


COMRAP Project Summary 46

p Agro-dealer

training in Mbale, Uganda (November 14-21, 2010). A total of 89 participants (including 35 women) attended the training.

n Zambia Zambia started its agro-dealer and agent trainings in November 2010 in Chipata, Eastern Province. Trainings in Zambia were coordinated by the host partner, SME Toolkit Project. The COMESA SME Toolkit Project is a tripartite partnership of the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank (IFC), COMESA and ELIF Business Solutions Ltd. (ELIF), a Zambian enterprise involved in business development support services with a focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) including farmers and agro-dealers. SME Toolkit Zambia was established in 2006 and launched in January 2007. Since then SME Toolkit has carried out a number of SME trainings with a focus on financial literacy and business planning trainings and workshops. Other activities have included business development advisory and mentorship activities. From 2010 to 2011 SME Toolkit Zambia and ELIF also partnered with the Zambia National Commercial Bank in promoting financial literacy and business planning training workshops for the bank’s SME business owners and managers. In 2010, about 750 SMEs in the nine provinces were trained in this program and in 2011, about 2,000 SMEs were to be trained.


u To teach agro-dealers business management and technical skills. u To provide a forum for agro-dealers to share business experiences, learn from each other and provide a

platform for networking.

u To highlight challenges and successes in the agro-dealer business.

Participants Agro-dealers and agents were drawn from each of the country’s provinces. Recruitment of agro-dealers and agents was done by the host partner in collaboration with other partners such as the MoAs and Cooperatives (MACO), CARE-Adapt Program, Zambia Cooperative Federation, Zambia National Farmers Union and district farmers associations.

n Number of Participants Trained Attendance at most of the training workshops by agro-dealers and agents was good. In some of the training programs the targeted numbers of participants was not attained, while in others the number of participants was above the target. The total number of participants in both the agro-dealer and agent trainings was 1,372 (503 women and 869 men). Most of the participants were 30 to 50 years old. Table 11 and Figure 5 illustrate the age group distribution of participants: Table 11. Training Participants by Age and Gender

Participants

Below 30 years

30 – 50 years

Above 50

Women

159

344

503

Men

218

651

869

Total

377

995

1372

Figure 5. Distribution of Training Participants by Age and Gender

Below 30 yrs

30-50 yrs

Above 50 yrs

COMRAP Project Summary

Training Objectives

47


COMRAP Project Summary 48

n Gender mainstreaming in recruitment of participants In the implementation of the program, it was emphasized that as part of gender balance, participation by women was key and that at least 40 percent of participants should be women and youth. Moreover, this participation was to be based on the affirmative, meaning only women, men and youth involved in agrodealerships, agencies or farming activities should be selected regardless of their sex, but with a priority on women and youth. To this end the Zambia SME Toolkit project and ELIF as the country host in close liaison with ACTESA and IFDC agreed to engage and collaborate with WASAA, a women’s agribusiness promotion organization. WASAA was given the opportunity to mobilize the 40 percent female participation in these trainings. WASAA is a relatively new organization in Zambia and had started some pilot activities in the Eastern province. However, some of the women WASAA recruited for the training were not actually agro-dealers or agents, but intended to be. Although many of the women WASAA recruited were involved in farming activities, very few were involved in agro-dealerships and/or agro-agency activities (including agro-input marketing). This was unfortunate, because the training was meant for actual agro-dealers and agents who would be able to enhance their agribusiness activities.

Participant Expectations Participants were asked to state their expectations of the agro-dealer and agent training workshops before they began; some of their responses included: u To gain knowledge and share agro-business experiences with each other. u To learn about record-keeping. u To learn more about business management and more about being an agent. u To be taught technical aspects of agro-dealing, the most critical aspect in agribusiness. u To create and improve agribusiness networks (particularly with fertilizer and seed companies). u To be linked to financial institutions and other institutions that support agribusinesses (i.e., seed suppliers,

CPP suppliers, insurance companies, banks, etc.)

Course Content As in most of the other countries, the training programs for agro-dealers and agents were designed to be eight-day and four-day sessions, respectively. Trainings where divided into two main areas – business management and technical knowledge. The business management sessions took about five days to cover and included topics such as: managing working capital; managing inventory; selling and marketing; basic record- keeping; costing and pricing; and managing business relationships. The second part of the training on technical aspects covered three days and key topics included: CPPs; agriculture output marketing; cereal bulking and aggregation; and warehouse management. The agent trainings followed a similar structure and topics, although these sessions were very compressed and lasted only four days.

Training Methodologies and Approaches Lectures and focus group discussions (FGD) were used to teach and share experiences in both agro-business processes and practices. Facilitators started with presentations of training modules. Participants were divided into groups to discuss themes, which they eventually presented to all participants. Each group was asked


COMRAP Project Summary 49

p A roadside

market in Uganda.

to discuss and make a presentation on several topics. Before every presentation, participants were given handouts on each topic, which contained exercises. In addition to the main presentations from trainers, guest speakers and presenters from other agrodealerships, stakeholder institutions and organizations were invited to make presentations. Among the presenters were representatives of seed companies, CPP companies, fertilizer manufacturers and suppliers, insurance companies, Africare’s Market Improvement Innovation Facility (MIIF), and banks (Zanaco’s agribusiness department). Presentations were important in helping promote and develop strategic business relationships among agro-dealers/agents and those presenting. The link with Africare’s MIIF helped agrodealers learn about other available funding opportunities in their markets.

COMRAP Visibility Strategy in Zambia The SME Toolkit team collaborated with ACTESA and the National COMRAP Coordinator to initiate an effective nationwide COMRAP media outreach strategy. They engaged National Agriculture Information Services (NAIS) to provide coverage by video and audio of the official opening sessions and some of the training sessions. At all official opening sessions, SME Toolkit used its media relationships to invite ZNBC-TV and Radio, Muvi TV Lusaka and Copperbelt TV, Zambia National Information Services (ZANIS) and The Times, Post and Daily Mail newspapers. NAIS through its LIMA time TV programs presented the materials in the form of documentaries on ZNBC-TV and Radio news programs at no additional cost to ACTESA. The Daily Mail published a special Agriculture Focus Program. Muvi TV and other media also produced various news stories and articles, including other special interviews at no charge, apart from the allowances for reporters and cameramen.

Issues The agro-dealer and agent training workshops began the last week of November 2010. The program started on a low note because some stakeholders felt that it was not the right time for trainings since it was in the middle of the planting season. However, participation was generally good, with almost 100 percent attendance and participation during the training workshops.


sale exhibition in Busia market, Uganda.

A number of issues emerged, both negative and positive as follows: u Prior to the start of trainings, AGMARK and IFDC had not prepared customized training materials for

trainees, apart from providing the initial ToT manuals. u The presentations of other stakeholders (banks, input suppliers/manufacturers, insurance companies,

etc.) were important, strategic and helped to facilitate partnerships between agro-dealers and these institutions. u The training was appropriate, and provided practical information for the agro-dealers.

Challenges All the workshops were conducted successfully, though with challenges including: u Participants had different levels of education; therefore communication was a challenge. u The modules did not have sufficient information that the participants could go back and refer to. This

proved a challenge because instead of listening to the lessons being taught, most participants’ attention was divided because they tried to copy the trainers’ notes as presented. u In some of the training workshops, demonstration packs were not provided. u The difference in agro-dealers’ experience made it difficult for the trainers to teach them at the two

different levels. u At some of the trainings, agro-dealers sent employees (who are not the decision-makers). As a result the

trainings did not always reach the intended targets.

Recommendations Participation in the agro-dealer training presented a very interesting learning experience and opportunity to better understand the many issues that agro-dealers and agents are faced with, as well as the many business opportunities that exist in the agribusiness sector. In addition, the program built the capacity of the host partners in project management. Below are key recommendations: u The time frame for training should be shifted to the dry season when agro-dealers’ businesses are not at

the peak. u A needs assessment must be conducted before training. u Provide different training modules to agro-dealers at different levels in business and with different

technical skills. u Field visits should be included in the program to aid in teaching and also for the agro-dealers to actually

visualize what they are taught. u In the technical aspect of the trainings, agro-dealers should also be taught how to handle livestock

products because some agro-dealers deal with livestock products as well as crop products.

Conclusion u The Zambia agro-dealer and agent training program began in November 2011 with the first training

launched in Chipata, Eastern Province, officiated by Mrs. Eurelia Zulu( Eastern Province Permanent

COMRAP Project Summary

t Grain

51


COMRAP Project Summary 52

Secretary). Due to the late start of the trainings, the team designed a back-to-back strategy, which helped do the work in a shorter time. The trainings covered the main areas of business management and technical training. Collaborations with government and private sector or civil society stakeholders were promoted, which made the overall training mobilization and coordination efficient. u According to the evaluations, there was a high level of satisfaction among participants. Trainees were

enthusiastic to learn and apply business management and technical skills in their business operations. There is a real need to continue agro-dealer capacity building training programs.

n Zimbabwe The agro-dealer and agent trainings were coordinated by the African Centre for Fertilizer Development (ACFD) as the host institution and facilitated by the COMRAP trainers trained by ACTESA during the ToT workshop. The ACFD is an autonomous intergovernmental agricultural research and development institution set up by the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union or AU) as part of a broader strategy in implementing the 1980 Lagos Plan of Action, which was to move Africa out of food insecurity, eradicate poverty and address environmental degradation issues. The major objectives of ACFD are: u To develop affordable and accessible technological solutions that increase the use of fertilizers and local

organic materials. u To formulate collaborative resource development, marketing and soil fertility management projects with

national, regional and international organizations. u To conduct research, foster and support training in all aspects of plant nutrients resource development,

procurement, marketing and use. u To conduct research on soil fertility management leading to improved and sustainable agricultural

production and environmental protection. ACFD has been the pioneer of an agribusiness development program in Zimbabwe since 1995. The program spread to other parts of Africa including Zambia and Malawi. The major project activities of ACFD include: u Training of agro-dealers. u Expansion of rural marketing infrastructure. u Promotion of agro-processing. u Privatization of agri-credit. u Training of agro-dealers, targeted rural traders, existing and prospective agro-dealers and extension

workers.

Training Objectives In Zimbabwe, the objective of the training was to build the capacity of the rural agro-dealers in business management, product knowledge and output marketing so as to contribute to improving rural food security and livelihoods in the COMESA region. The major emphasis was on sustainable agro-input distribution mechanisms and farming systems, which agro-dealers and other stakeholders are expected to share with smallholder farmers who are the targeted beneficiaries of the program. The specific objectives of the agro-dealer training program were: u Introduce and brief participants about the COMRAP program.


u Impart knowledge and skills on agro-inputs (seeds, CPPs and fertilizers). u Identify specific challenges facing the farming community in the respective provinces and discuss the

possible strategies that could be employed to address these challenges. u Share knowledge on the strategies that farmers are using to combat the effects of dry spells and droughts

in the country. u Provide participants with knowledge on output marketing and the importance of involving agro-dealers in

output marketing. u Share experiences, enhance business linkages and networks. u Understand and appreciate the role of all stakeholders in the agribusiness development value chain

(including government). u Remind participants about the contribution of women in smallholder farming and the need to support

them. u Bring on board private companies and remind them of the role of agro-dealers in input and output

marketing systems and create sustainable networks between private companies and the rural input suppliers. u Form national agro-dealer associations, which are demand-driven and there to serve the interests of all

agro-dealers in the country. u Develop recommendations for policy change or improvement for the betterment of smallholder farmers.

Participants n Agro-Dealers The definition of an agro-dealer differed from one country to the other, but the general definition in the context of the program in Zimbabwe was that an agro-dealer is a rural input trader who is the final contact with the smallholder farmer on the input value chain. This definition was the basis for recruitment of participants for all the agro-dealer trainings in Zimbabwe. Participants were drawn from the eight rural provinces of the country (Manicaland, Midlands, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central). The training targeted men, women and youths involved in agro-dealerships. The program target for participation by women was at least 40 percent and ACFD achieved 49 percent. The majority of the women who comprised the 49 percent are co-owners of the businesses with their husbands, as well as a few managers and single parents.

n Agents Zimbabwe developed a unique definition of an agent after realizing that the definition was not very clear in the project document. The definition that Zimbabwe adopted was that an agent is above the agro-dealer on the input value chain and gives support to the agro-dealer. In view of this definition, the participants that attended the agent training included extension workers and employees of banks, insurance companies, seed companies, fertilizer companies, marketing boards or authorities, regulatory authorities, farmers’ unions and cooperatives.

COMRAP Project Summary

u Empower participants with business management skills and knowledge.

53


COMRAP Project Summary 55

p Participants t The

at a training session in Zambia.

front of an agro-dealer shop advertises its stock with detailed painted products.

n Recruitment and Selection of Participants The ACFD worked closely with the Department of Agricultural Extension and Technical Services (AGRITEX), which falls under the MoA’s Mechanization and Irrigation Development to recruit agro-dealers and agents for the trainings. AGRITEX works directly with agro-dealers and farmers from the grassroots to the national levels so in every district they were tasked to select participants using the criterion that was agreed upon between the Ministry and ACFD. The major prerequisite was that participating agro-dealers should have a shop, should be trading and have a valid trading license. In carrying out the recruitment exercise, the ACFD coordinator communicated with the provincial AGRITEX office at least 14 days before training and indicated the expected number and quality/type of participants from each province. The province then assigned the districts to identify participants on an equal sharing basis. For instance, in a province of eight districts, each district was required to identify 10 agro-dealers bringing the total to 80 participants. The prospective list of agro-dealers would then be sent to ACFD a week before for vetting and approval. This method ensured equity in recruitment. Other stakeholders who assisted in recruitment of participants were WASAA, NGOs such as SNV, CARE Zimbabwe and IRD as well as the Ministry of Gender, Women Affairs and Community Development. WASAA provided the majority of the women participants during the first two trainings in Kadoma and Mutare. IRD assisted in the recruitment of participants for the Mutare training because it had a number of programs with agro-dealers in that area so it had a well-maintained and current database, which was used to identify participants. CARE Zimbabwe assisted during the Masvingo workshop because it also had several agro-dealer programs in Masvingo province. SNV assisted with recruitment for a number of workshops because it was implementing a project on output marketing concepts as well as consignment stock programs via a project working with input wholesalers and distributors. Ideally, participants should have applied for the training program by completing an application form provided by IFDC, but due to time constraints participants filled these out during the training workshops.


COMRAP Project Summary 56

p An

agro-dealer training workshop in Zambia’s Southern Province (April 4-11, 2011).

n Number of Participants by Province and Gender The table below shows the distribution of trainings by province and by gender. Table 12. Distribution of Agro-Dealer Trainings by Province and Gender in Zimbabwe

Date

Venue

Total Trained

No. of Women

No. of Men

04-12 Nov 2010

Kadoma

77

52

25

04-12 Dec 2010

Mutare

97

72

25

08-15 Jan 2011

Gweru

100

53

47

22-29 Jan 2011

Masvingo

86

30

56

12-19 Feb 2011

Matabeleland North

65

22

43

12-19 Mar 2011

Mazowe

73

40

33

21-28 Mar 2011

Murehwa

82

27

55

20-27 Apr 2011

Chinhoyi

69

41

28

21-28 May 2011

Matabeleland South

74

30

40

05-12 Nov 2011

Nyanga

54

13

41

Total

10 Sessions

773

380

393

The Kadoma, Mutare and Gweru workshops show higher attendance for women than other trainings. This was because these areas have more WASAA members and a significant number attended the training. In subsequent workshops such as these held in Nyanga, Matabeleland North and Murehwa, there was a much lower level of women participants. The final result was 49 percent of those trained were women and 51 percent were men.


Total Trained

No. of Women

Bulawayo

44

12

32

08-10 Jul 2011

Mashonaland East

40

8

32

22-24 Jul 2011

Chinhoyi

53

10

43

29-31 Jul 2011

Bindura/Mazowe

51

20

31

05-07 Aug 2011

Gweru

40

11

29

COMRAP Project Summary

29 Nov - 01 Dec 2011

Nyanga

82

17

65

57

TOTAL

6 Sessions

310

78

232

Table13. Distribution of Agro-Dealer Agents Trained by Province and Gender

Date

Venue

24-26 Jun 2011

No. of Men


COMRAP Project Summary 58

Table 14 summarizes the number of agro-dealers/agents trained in Zimbabwe.

Table 14. Summary of Agro-Dealers/Agents Trained in Zimbabwe, October 2010-December 2011

Date and Venue

Type of Total Total # Men # Women AgroTraining Participants Trained Trained Dealers Participants Trained

01-08/11/10, Kadoma

Agro-dealers

77

25

52

77

0

25

52

0

0

04-11/12/10, Mutare

Agro-dealers

97

25

72

97

0

25

72

0

0

08-15/01/11, Gweru

Agro-dealers

100

47

53

100

0

47

53

0

0

22-29/01/11, Masvingo

Agro-dealers

86

56

30

86

0

56

30

0

0

12-19/02/11, Bulawayo

Agro-dealers

65

43

22

65

0

43

22

0

0

12-19/03/11, Bindura

Agro-dealers

73

33

40

73

0

33

40

0

0

21-28/03/11, Murehwa

Agro-dealers

82

55

27

82

0

55

27

0

0

20-27/04/11, Chinhoyi

Agro-dealers

69

28

41

69

0

28

41

0

0

21-28/05/11, Gwanda

Agro-dealers

70

40

30

70

0

40

30

 

 

24-26/06/11, Bulawayo

Agents

40

32

8

0

40

0

0

32

8

08-10/07/11, Harare

Agents

44

32

12

0

44

0

0

32

12

22-24/07/11, Chinhoyi

Agents

53

43

10

0

53

0

0

43

10

29-31/07/11, Bindura

Agents

51

31

20

0

51

0

0

31

20

05-07/08/11, Gweru

Agents

40

29

11

0

40

0

0

29

11

05-12/11/11, Nyanga

Agro-dealers

54

41

13

54

0

41

13

82

65

17

0

82

0

0

65

17

1,083

625

458

773

310

393

380

232

78

29/11-01/12/11, Agents Nyanga SUBTOTAL

Total Agents

Male AgroDealers

Female AgroDealers

Male Female Agents Agents


In the trainings, participants’ expectations were written on a flip chart and hung on the wall so that during the course of the training the facilitator would be able to address them. Although the expectations varied from one province to the other, there were many similarities. The specific expectations for selected provinces are highlighted below:

n Expectations of Agro-Dealers u To be given funding by COMESA for restocking. u To be given inputs by COMESA. u To be assisted in forming a provincial agro-dealer association and to learn how they have been formed in

other countries. u To learn new agro-dealer skills. u To be part of the government’s input voucher schemes. u To be certified by COMESA. u To acquire knowledge on the various agro-inputs to assist in improving their businesses. u To gain more knowledge on animal health products. u To learn about various ways accessing credit will help to run our businesses. u To network with fellow agro-dealers and suppliers to improve business linkages. u To learn how COMRAP can help acquire facilities for output marketing initiatives. u To learn various ways of keeping business records. u To share experiences on how an agro-dealer business can succeed. u To be linked with other agro-dealers in the COMESA region.

During the first trainings (Kadoma and Mutare), some participants had problems understanding what the program was all about. Some came anticipating that they would leave the workshop with fertilizers for their shops. This was due to communication problems because of the delays in starting the program and because it was planting time and agro-dealers and farmers thought it was a COMESA/government program aimed at giving them inputs for that planting season. Most who attended the trainings explained that they expected to get funding/credit from COMESA to purchase inputs.

n Expectations of Agents Agents constituted a different category on the input value chain. The agent trainings came toward the end of the program, when its objectives were fairly well known by everyone in the country through publicity. Their expectations included: u To come up with practical solutions to problems facing farmers. u To get access to funding from banks and COMESA. u To have access to the database of agro-dealers trained by COMESA. u To get feedback on the views of agro-dealers on the services offered by the agents. u To network with various organizations supporting agro-dealers. u To learn how COMRAP can help agro-dealers acquire facilities for output marketing initiatives. u To learn various ways of keeping business records.

COMRAP Project Summary

Participant Expectations

59


materials from the IFDC CATALIST project are useful in agrodealer shops to help customers to understand proper fertilizer use.

u To share experiences on how agents can best help agro-dealer businesses succeed. u To get guarantees from COMESA in order to serve agro-dealers. u To understand government policies on agribusiness development in the country. u To get special training of extension workers from COMESA and government.

n The Gap between the Training Program and Participant Expectations Knowing participants’ expectations, facilitators made sure that they explained the program thoroughly. There was a session in which the background of COMRAP was highlighted. This was presented either by the COMRAP National Coordinator or ACFD Managing Director. During each opening session, it was made clear that participants would not receive agro-inputs from COMESA, but rather, that through COMRAP, COMESA was working to link agro-dealers and farmers to markets. Regarding the issue of learning new skills in agro-dealership management and networking with other agrodealers in the country and beyond, participants were encouraged to interact with one another during training. They were also put into groups made up of people from different districts to encourage relationship-building and networking. During modules such as selling and marketing, trainers used role-playing to encourage interaction among participants and the sharing of practical understanding of agro-dealership management. For the provinces that expected some training on animal health products, ACFD arranged for a volunteer trainer to conduct that module in addition to the modules designed for COMRAP. Agro-dealers appreciated this and were satisfied with the arrangement. ACFD ensured that private companies actively participated in the training workshops by inviting them to meet agro-dealers and make presentations on their products and services. Some of the companies that participated include Seed Co, Pioneer, Pannar Seeds and SeedRidge. Agro-dealers wanted to meet bank representatives because the dealers’ major challenge is access to finance. Initially, the banks were hesitant to participate because they had little or no confidence in agro-dealers. Following sensitization and training of bank representatives under the Rural Finance component of COMRAP, bank representatives participated in the program by attending the agent trainings. By this time, however, it was too late to develop a finance product to offer to smallholder farmers and agro‑dealers. Participants’ expectation to acquire skills in business management and technical knowledge on inputs was fully met by the trainers, who have a strong technical background and experience gleaned from work as employees of fertilizer, crop protection and input supply companies. Those volunteering to provide training in livestock development also had hands-on experience working in crop and livestock production. Agents were given the database of COMRAP-trained agro-dealers for further interactions. In some cases, the training offered was not able to immediately meet the expectations of agents to get guarantees from COMESA to serve the different categories of smallholder farmers. However, agro-dealers were encouraged to develop strategies to design products and services that are tailor-made to meet the wider range of expectations of the various categories of agro-dealers and smallholder farmers. Agents also sought to understand government policies on agribusiness development. This expectation was met through engagement of the government’s specialized divisions (such as Seed Services Department and Fertilizer and Farm Feeds Remedies Institute) to make presentations during training and explain how their work affected agro-dealer businesses in Zimbabwe. The National Coordination Unit was also instrumental in answering certain questions pertaining to policy issues. Agent trainings were more stakeholder workshops to develop practical solutions to problems facing smallholder farmers. The focus was on a demand-driven developmental approach to problems of hunger and food insecurity in the region.

COMRAP Project Summary

t Educational

61


COMRAP Project Summary 62

p Fresh

vegetables for sale at a market.

Expectations on how COMRAP would assist in facilitating output marketing, in view of the importance of market links in the value chain, was satisfactorily met through discussions and presentations on COMESA’s broad objectives. These include promoting trade among member states through building capacities for increased production as well as working towards harmonization of trade policies across borders of member states. Agents were given feedback on what agro-dealers felt about their services. This was covered during the module on managing business relations.

Course Content The program had two primary modules – business management and technical product knowledge. The topics under each module are shown below. The modules were covered by the ACTESA-trained commercial trainers. Table 15. Course Content Modules

Business Management Module

Technical Product Knowledge Module

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

1. Seeds and Seeds Standards 2. Fertilizers and Manures 3. CPPs 4. Warehouse Management 5. Animal Health Products (additional) 6. Conservation Agriculture (additional)

Basic Record-Keeping Working Capital Management Managing Business Relations Costing and Pricing Selling and Marketing Output Marketing

Courses indicated as ‘additional’ were not originally part of COMRAP course content, but were incorporated into the syllabus because of their importance when discussing food security issues. The output marketing module was regarded as a ‘round-up’ module, completing the equation of production or agribusiness. After gaining knowledge on business management and product knowledge, the farmer produces; after production, the farmer needs a market. Classes with too many trainees were divided into two groups. This was done to improve the interaction between the facilitator and participants, but it decreased experience-sharing among participants.


Training Methodologies and Approaches The training was conducted by nine commercial trainers coordinated by ACFD. They were trained in Lusaka, Zambia in September 2010. During that training, they were taught how to deliver the modules discussed above. They were also given trainers’ manuals, which they used to deliver the subjects.

n Methodologies used in the training included PowerPoint presentations, group discussions, pre- and post-tests, agro-dealer to agro-dealer learning and demonstrations. n Training Delivery u The trainers delivered the theoretical part of the training through PowerPoint presentations. There were

handouts for participants which were issued at the end of the program. In some cases the classes were divided into two. u During the marketing module, role-playing was organized by the facilitators to demonstrate certain

marketing principles critical to agro-dealers in both input and output marketing. u For the fertilizers and manures course, facilitators used pre-course and post-course tests to measure

understanding of participants on the concepts. During the CPP module, animal health topic demonstrations were also presented. u Issues of calibrations and use of correct nozzles when spraying in the field were also demonstrated using

real nozzles in the field or outside classrooms. In general, the workshops were participatory and participants were encouraged to share their experiences in agro-dealer business for the benefit of others who are still growing.

n External Presentations In order for the participants to relate the theory taught to practical situations, a number of private companies were invited to the workshops to make presentations to the agro-dealers and smallholder farmers on the products and services they offer. Companies that participated actively in this program included: Seed Co, Pannar Seeds, Pioneer Seeds, Seedridge, Cure Chem (agro chemical company), Agricura (agro chemical company), Zimbabwe Fertilizer Company, Windmill (Pvt) Limited and NICO ORGO.

COMRAP Project Summary

Although trainers followed the topics as prescribed in the module or participant handouts, they were very flexible in order to meet the expectations of the participants; time was provided to agro-dealers to make meaningful contributions during discussions.

63


COMRAP Project Summary

Table 16. Presentations by Private Companies

Company

Issues Discussed

Seed Co

u

Seed Co supports the program and has already started working with the interim committees formed in the provinces.

u

Seed Co is ready to support demonstration plots at agro-dealer shop sites.

u

Provided information packs on best seed storage practices.

u

Advised agro-dealers to sell varieties that are suitable for their areas.

u

Discussed the different varieties they sell in the country.

u

Highlighted the advantages of Pioneer’s packaging method of indicating number of kernels over using kilograms as a measurement method.

u

Ready to work with COMRAP-trained agro-dealers but they should come as groups.

u

Cure Chem is the supplier of most agro-chemicals to ZFC and Windmill.

u

Admitted that the company’s marketing strategy is poor, for it is failing to reach many agro-dealers, but the company promised to work closely with AFDC to reach out to agro-dealers trained by COMRAP because they were not known in a number of provinces.

u

Indicated that the company is working on packages of products and services suitable for small to medium businesses where agro-dealers were going to benefit more.

u

Presented on vegetable seeds and how vegetables help in boosting health.

u

Seedridge provided consignment stocks to agro-dealers in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland Central.

u

Presented on the benefits of inorganic fertilizers (particularly the products they sell).

u

Highlighted that they produce according to the requirements of the customer.

u

They are in the process of enhancing their distribution channels in the country, so they need to work with all COMRAP trained agro-dealers.

u

They were represented mostly by the trainers.

u

However, in some workshops, ZFC sent its marketing executive to address certain issues regarding marketing and distribution of the company’s fertilizers in the market.

u

Windmill is involved in output marketing. It is giving farmers inputs for production of maize and soy beans and it buys the outputs to process into stock feeds.

u

Both companies highlighted that they can work with agro-dealers if they form strong associations; however, at the moment, they are not ready to offer consignment stocks. They argue that in previous years there were a number of agro-dealers who defaulted.

Pioneer Seeds

64

Cure Chem

Seedridge

Fertilizer Companies NICO ORGO, ZFC and Windmill

During the agent training there were no external presentations; in-workshop presentations were made.

n Media Coverage and Visibility COMESA/ACTESA engaged a development communications consultant who made sure that the workshops were covered in newspapers and by national television. Articles on training activities were also posted in the Zimbabwe Farmers Union magazines which were distributed at the union’s conferences. The ACFD coordinator also appeared on national television and in articles in local newspapers that updated the nation on the progress of the agro-dealer training component of COMRAP.


n Participant Evaluations Each workshop was evaluated by participants using an evaluation form provided by IFDC. Among the participants’ comments were: u Workshops should not be held during planting time. u COMRAP should issue certificates of attendance. u Training was beneficial and more refresher courses are needed in future. u Include courses on livestock production. u The training was too long. u The program should be conducted in Shona, the local language. u All stakeholders should be invited to such workshops to hear agro-dealers’ issues. u The training should not end like a talk show. They want results. u Agents felt that the trainings should be done during the week, not on weekends. u Bring promotional materials such as COMESA hats and T-shirts to workshops for participants. u Develop a course on agro-dealership management in collaboration with universities.

Issues/Findings and Lessons Learned A summary of the findings and lessons learned include: u The program received maximum support from the Government of Zimbabwe. All the workshops were

officially opened by governors in the different provinces and they pledged on behalf of the government that it would do all it can to make the program a success. u The agro-dealers were glad to be participants in the COMRAP program and to have an opportunity

to refresh as well as be trained in new skills and gain new knowledge on business management and products. u Agro-dealers are facing challenges with most government and NGO input programs. For those who

participated in NGO voucher systems, they were not happy with the way they were handled; they said they were short-changed. There is poor administration of such programs. u Participants were encouraged by the output marketing module and they commented that it was a very

practical solution to improving the working capital and liquidity situations of their business if wellexecuted. Smallholder farmers are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous business people during the post-harvest marketing season. u Agro-dealers highlighted that they need funding to enable them to effectively participate in buying and

selling of produce. They also need fair policies from the government and other stakeholders. u NGOs such as SNV and Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs (CNFA) are running programs similar to

COMRAP. SNV is not only doing training but also running revolving funds for agro-dealers as well as linking agro-dealers with suppliers via an insurance program. u Agents appreciated the modules that were covered under COMRAP and suggested that additional

modules such as corporate governance should be included to improve the way agro-dealers do their business.

COMRAP Project Summary

Training Evaluation

65


COMRAP Project Summary 66

u Most agro-dealers admitted that they were not assisting farmers by hosting field days. They also did not

have demonstration plots. However, they promised to implement what they had learned in the trainings. u Agro-dealers were concerned about funding from COMESA to restock their shops. They indicated that

most banks did not have favorable credit facilities for agro-dealers and that in most cases banks require collateral in the form of urban houses, which most agro-dealers do not have. u The Department of Agriculture Extension and Technical Services pledged to follow up with the agro-

dealers to make sure that they are practicing what they learned for the benefit of the country. u The issue of certificates was raised in all workshops. Participants felt that certificates of attendance were

just as important as those awarded to accredited agro-dealers. u Because most smallholder farmers do not have cash to buy inputs, agro-dealers will remain poor. u A larger proportion of the participants were happy to get hands-on experience in record-keeping

(especially cash flow and costing). The calculations were somewhat intimidating to others, but they ended up appreciating the relevance of the modules to the success of their businesses. They also appreciated that most business people do not know how to effectively manage working capital. Training gave them very good skills on this aspect. u Lack of credit for restocking of inputs and to start output marketing on a large scale were identified as

major challenges. Stringent conditions/regulations were cited as the major hindrance to accessing bank loans. u Agro-dealers are faced with competition from government programs which supply free seeds to their

customers. Most government programs offer free inputs through the voucher system and agro-dealers are left out, as everything is handled by the Grain Marketing Board.

Resolutions Resolutions agreed to as a way for Zimbabwe to regain its status as the breadbasket of the region include: u The process of accrediting trained agro-dealers should go on, even after completion of COMRAP activities.

This activity could be linked to existing national programs. u Banks must be trained and encouraged to support agro-dealers and smallholder farmers. u AGRITEX staff members need more training to be able to serve agro-dealers and farmers effectively. The

private sector and NGOs must work with the government on this issue. u Stakeholder committees to spearhead agribusiness development through the private sector should be

established. Two provinces have already established theirs (Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West). u Government will be assisted in policy reforms with support from the private sector and donor community. u Agro-dealer national association should receive maximum support from all stakeholders and be

recognized as the single voice of agro-dealers. u Provide incentives for research and development in the country starting in 2012. u Trainings are not the end, but they are the means to the end; all stakeholders should work towards

developing markets to improve farmers’ incomes. u Adoption of new technologies is critical. u Develop and support smallholder irrigation schemes to reduce the effect of the long dry spells and

droughts the country is experiencing. u Train farmers on farming as a business. u Government should ensure that no land is lying idle at the expense of production.


n Banks Working with COMRAP Agro-Dealers CABS Bank and Kingdom Bank have engaged the COMRAP-trained agro-dealers to be their agents in different parts of the country. The agents are now banking centers for smallholder farmers and other community individuals. This is helping the banks, agro-dealers and smallholder farmers.

n Agro-Dealers Considered in Voucher Programs NGOs such as Goal Zimbabwe and PRP involved some of the COMRAP-trained agro-dealers in a voucher program they developed with the Government of Zimbabwe for 2011/2012.

n Associations Formed Provincial associations were formed in the eight provinces that participated. On December 13, 2011, ZINADA was formed and an interim national executive committee was elected.

Conclusion Zimbabwe trained 773 agro-dealers and 310 agents (a total of 1,083). The overall target was 1,100, so the goal was met at a level of 99 percent. Of the 1,083 trained, 625 (58 percent) were men and 458 (42 percent) were women. This met the target set by the project that at least 40 percent of the beneficiaries should be women. Overall, the program was very successful. COMRAP was a very strategic project for the country and it provided the needed foundation for revitalization of the agricultural sector after years of economic hardships. It is hoped, therefore, that COMESA can find more resources for accreditation and other aspects of these program that were not fully completed.

Recommendations n Certification of Agro-Dealers and Accreditation In future programs, certificates of attendance should be issued on the last day of training. Accreditation should never wait to be done later. It should be planned that those who receive training are accredited. The host institutions should lead accreditation for a noted period (working with national governments) and exit when the government is ready to take it over.

n Module Development Participants’ handouts should be developed in time and be adopted at the national level as an ideal source of information for its citizens. This means that such modules need to be developed locally with guidance from project organizers. It should also be noted that English is not spoken in some countries, so local languages need to be considered.

n Monitoring and Evaluation There is the need to make follow-up visits to trained agro-dealers to assess their performance and find out if they are putting the information learned into practice. Mentoring and coaching are also essential tools that need to be used after training to make sure that expected results will be achieved. The certified commercial trainers coordinated by the host institution can assist in mentoring. Other trained, successful agro-dealers can be also involved in the program to mentor new agro-dealers. It is important for the program to appoint local evaluators who then report to a regional evaluator for accuracy.

COMRAP Project Summary

Success Stories

67


COMRAP Project Summary 68

The results of such a program will need to be documented and shared with the partners involved. Resources should be made available to AGRITEX to do this work.

n Additional Training Sessions There is a need to design demand-driven trainings to improve the value of the program to agro-dealers. Future training needs to be more practical; agro-dealers should visit seed processing plants, fertilizer and agrochemical warehouses to have a practical feel of the theory lessons. Refresher courses will be necessary (perhaps after two years) to give agro-dealers new skills and knowledge and to learn the outcomes of the training they received.

n Financing Agro-Dealers The finance component of COMRAP should now give tangible results, considering the amount of work that has been spent in agro-dealer development. COMESA and the Government of Zimbabwe (and other development partners) should actualize the finance packages that were developed under COMRAP and see if they can assist.There is a need to establish and run a revolving fund that can assist agro-dealers to access working capital on very favorable conditions.

n COMRAP Phase II Needed It will be counter-productive to the participating member-states for COMRAP to end after all the work done. There is a need to have another phase which will start beyond training and link the three COMRAP components. A proper exit strategy needs to be observed in future programs.

n Registration of Agro-Dealer Businesses and Licensing Fees All agro-dealers should be required to operate legally. However, the license fees should be revised in Zimbabwe. A ‘one size fits all’ license is more convenient and should be affordable yet viable.

n Training and Capacity Building for Government Extension Workers There is a need to specifically target government extension officers so that they receive assistance through this program in order to benefit the agricultural sector.

n Building Capacity of Host Institutions Host institutions are critical in projects of this nature and magnitude, therefore their capacity status should be an issue.

n Standardization of Input Distribution Policies in the Region There is a need for COMESA to work on standardizing input distribution policies in the region (in the same way it is working to harmonize seed regulations).


To ensure that quality in the delivery of the agro-dealer and agent training was maintained across the eight COMRAP countries, IFDC and AGMARK developed a system in which a representative from AGMARK and/or IFDC was sent to provide back-up support during delivery of the training. These representatives were responsible for overall quality assurance, including ensuring the following: u That the baseline questionnaire was administered prior to the training and that the evaluation forms were

administered and collected at the end of the training. u That a short report on the training event, capturing training structure and coverage, challenges, lessons

learned and disaggregated data on agro-dealers trained, was prepared. u That financial accountability for training funds was adhered to.

Country Visits In line with supporting agro-dealer/agent trainings, country visits were made by IFDC/AGMARK team members to provide back-up support during training events. The visits also provided team members opportunities to meet with National Coordinators in the respective countries and/or hold meetings with other stakeholders. After returning from these monitoring visits, representatives drafted a short report on the training.

Accreditation and Association-Building IFDC developed a draft accreditation strategy and shared it with ACTESA. The strategy outlined the steps to be followed in the accreditation process and formation of national agro-dealer associations (NADAs). The draft Accreditation Strategy ‘Roadmap to Accreditation’ was shared with participants attending the 2nd National Coordinators meeting in Nairobi, January 28, 2011. In addition, IFDC/AGMARK presented activities involved in the process of accreditation, including sharing the Kenyan experience on accreditation leading to the birth of the Kenya National Agro-Dealer Association (KENADA). The purpose of the presentations was to inform the national coordinators and host partners about the accreditation process, but most importantly, clarify their different roles in the process. Following the January meeting, IFDC/AGMARK developed a work plan and budget for the accreditation process and submitted it to ACTESA for approval before implementation. By the end of April 2011, however, disbursement of funds from ACTESA for accreditation activities had not been made. In August 2011, staff members from COMESA/ACTESA, AGMARK/IFDC and their partner, I-Partner Group (I-PG), held a meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, to discuss the accreditation process in view of the delays in implementation including:

COMRAP Project Summary

Support to Agro-Dealer/ Agent Trainings

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u Review accreditation budget and work plan. u Discuss additional costs to IFDC and other partners as a result of the extension of COMRAP activities

(September 1-December 31, 2011) and chart the rollout of accreditation. u Agree on the administration of funds for accreditation.

Meeting attendees also outlined the process of accreditation, identified and listed the activities and developed a budget for these activities. Furthermore, attendees developed a total budget and stipulated the mode of disbursement of accreditation funds.

Accreditation Process Implementation During September to December 2011, implementation of the accreditation process began with the amendment and signing of contracts between IFDC and host partners to provide support to the accreditation process. Following the signing of the contracts, IFDC/AGMARK and I-PG developed the training curriculum for accreditation inspectors (mentors) and other accreditation tools and instruments (guidelines, criteria, survey tool and code of conduct). In order to harmonize the general tools and instruments of accreditation, ACTESA/IFDC/AGMARK organized a five-day validation workshop which was held in Lilongwe, Malawi, November 15-19, 2011. The meeting included COMRAP national coordinators from the eight countries, host institutions and other stakeholders to review, harmonize and customize the tools and instruments. The output from the meeting was a set of tools and instruments customized for each country.

“H

ad I known, I would have brought my son to be part of these mathematics. This is free and effective education.” - Female participant after a costing and pricing module

During the period December 5-24, 2011, IFDC/AGMARK held a series of ToT sessions for accreditation of inspectors (mentors) in different countries. The purpose of the trainings was to equip these inspectors with knowledge and skills to conduct a survey of agro-dealers in their respective countries using a set of standardized criteria. In addition, the inspectors will train other/additional inspectors in their respective countries. A total of 124 inspectors (10 each from Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe; 14 from Burundi; 20 from Rwanda; and 40 from Ethiopia) were trained.


National Agro-Dealer Association Building Facilitating the formation of NADAs is another of IFDC’s deliverables under the agro-dealer development component. During training sessions, trainers encouraged agro-dealers to form regional/district agrodealer associations by highlighting the benefits of associations and sharing information about established associations such as UNADA and KENADA. Based on experiences on formation of NADAs, the IFDC/AGMARK team recognized that for the NADAs to be sustainable, the initiative and drive for their formation should come from the agro-dealers. By the end of August 2011, agro-dealers in Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe had formed regional/district associations and/or cooperatives as follows: 30 district cooperatives (representing each of the 30 districts) in Rwanda, with a total of 865 members; 10 interim agro-dealer associations (representing the 10 provinces) formed in Zimbabwe with a total of about 1,000 members; and nine associations formed in Zambia. While the formation of grassroots associations is a good start towards formation of national bodies for agro-dealers, these interim associations need to exist as a function of demand from agro-dealers/farmers. Members also need to understand their role in the input/output supply chain. To this end, COMESA/ACTESA, in collaboration with IFDC, encouraged committee members of the interim agro-dealer associations to arrange for a meeting to discuss the importance and benefits of forming NADAs. Following the assessment of countries’ readiness to implement accreditation, validation and domestication of accreditation tools and instruments (to suit different country conditions) and ToT sessions for accreditation inspectors from the different countries, COMESA/ACTESA facilitated the testing of the criteria and conducting of agro-dealer surveys in those countries that were ready. In addition, COMESA/ACTESA facilitated in-country conventions that brought together committee members of the interim associations to discuss the importance of forming NADAs. These meetings were held in Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe in December 2011. Highlights of the accreditation activities and the NADA meetings in the different countries are summarized below.

n Burundi Following successful training of accreditation inspectors in Bujumbura, December 12-17, 2011, during which accreditation tools for Burundi were pre-tested and adopted, the national coordinator and host partner organized a sensitization exercise on accreditation across the country. The exercise raised awareness on accreditation and also prepared agro-dealers for the survey. During the awareness creation exercise, accreditation inspectors accompanied by the national coordinator and the host partner representative visited a total of 190 agro-dealer shops across the country and provided information on accreditation (importance and benefits), advice on store management, record-keeping and counseling services in readiness for the survey. To reach agro-dealers throughout the country, messages/information on accreditation were aired on Nderagakura Radio. Further, two journalists from the MoA relayed messages and also interviewed agro-dealers on radio.

COMRAP Project Summary

To actualize accreditation, it is necessary to have accreditation structures with authority from the national government (MoA) in place. In recognition of this, IFDC/AGMARK facilitated the accreditation panels at the national level in the countries. The role of the accreditation panels is to vet recommendations received from inspectors/mentors of agro-dealer surveys, and accredit the agro-dealers accordingly.

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p Group

discussions were held during the training sessions.

n Malawi Rapid Assessment AGMARK conducted a meeting to assess the readiness of the country to implement accreditation. Malawi was ready to accredit trained agro-dealers because that was the natural next phase of agro-dealer development after having trained agro-dealers for the last five years. Malawi was even more anxious because the government is using the same agro-dealers to support farmer programs. Further to this, the following issues were agreed upon: u Malawi agreed that there is a need for accreditation fees payable to the accrediting institution and that

accreditation should be renewed annually. u The accreditation survey tool was too bulky and needed to be customized. u 12 organizations were identified to nominate individuals for the accreditation panel.

From the accreditation panel, 10 individuals were appointed as accreditation inspectors to attend the validation workshop. Malawi’s MoA will maintain an agro-dealer database with details of contact, physical addresses and GPS data. During the meeting, the accreditation criteria and instruments were harmonized. However, customization to suit individual countries’ local environment was accommodated. The accreditation instruments to be used in all countries include: u The accreditation criteria. u Agro-dealer code of conduct. u Agro-dealer database. u Agro-dealer accreditation form.

Actualization of Accreditation Of the 10 identified inspectors, five underwent a five-day training in Harare, Zimbabwe. At the training, the inspectors received technical training in accreditation.


Remaining Work Due to the timing challenges of the project, the following activities were not undertaken: u Accreditation awareness among the beneficiary agro-dealers. u Accreditation panel briefing. u Finalization of the procedures by the trained inspectors. u Pre-testing of accreditation instruments. u Actual accreditation. u Linkages with finance institutions.

The Future Agro-dealerships in Malawi offer a unique opportunity for continuity and sustaining the system. RUMARK is poised to continue developing agribusiness by continuing the development of the RUMARK agrodealer association as a national association. The Government also will play a developmental role through its continued use of the agro-dealers as farm input distributors. RUMARK, through its own funding or by leveraging other similarly intended programs, will implement the outstanding issues and make the sustainability of the agro-dealerships a reality.

n Rwanda In Rwanda, IFDC’s RADD project was instrumental in the formation of the Rwanda National Agro-Dealers Federation in 2010. Agro-dealers in all 30 districts were encouraged to form committees of their cooperatives in collaboration with the Rwanda Cooperative Agency. These cooperatives are currently in the process of obtaining legal status. During the validation meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi (November 15-19, 2011), host partners were encouraged to hold meetings with interim committee members of cooperatives/associations in their countries to sensitize them on the importance and benefits of associations. The NADA meeting in Rwanda took place on December 20, 2011 in Kigali. Two representatives from each of the 30 cooperatives were invited to attend the meeting (56 attended). An AGMARK representative gave a presentation on the importance and benefits of associations, citing Kenya and giving examples of benefits enjoyed by members of KENADA. Representatives from the different cooperatives were also given an opportunity to give an overview of their activities. The outcome of the meeting was the formation of a steering committee comprised of six dealers representing the different provinces. The chair of the steering committee was also selected.

COMRAP Project Summary

Prior to the inspectors’ training, the Farmers Union of Malawi organized an awareness workshop where all the components of COMRAP were made known to the beneficiaries. Attending this workshop were 10 agrodealers from the RUMARK agro-dealer association.

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n Swaziland NADA Formation in Swaziland Swaziland held its national agro-dealer association formation meeting on December 14, 2011 in Matsapha. The purpose of the meeting was to facilitate the formation of a NADA by bringing together stakeholders (MoA, farmers’ union representatives and agro-dealers) to discuss forming an umbrella body for agro-dealers. In group discussions, participants reviewed the benefits and prerequisites including registration, election of committee members and eligibility to join the association. Stakeholders agreed that there was need for agrodealers to form an association. Seven interim committee members of the newly formed national agro-dealer association – Eswatini Agri Corporate World – were elected. Interim office bearers were tasked with developing the association constitution and making arrangements for its registration.

Agro-Dealer Workshop The purpose of the agro-dealer workshop was to sensitize agro-dealers about accreditation – the process and their role, discuss the tools and instruments of accreditation with a view to adopting them and pre-test the survey tools. During the meeting, the accreditation tools developed by the Swaziland team during the validation and harmonization workshop were presented, reviewed and finalized in readiness for accreditation. The tool was then pre-tested in both rural and urban agro-dealer outlets, and comments arising from the pre-testing were discussed in a meeting of inspectors. The tool was appropriately adopted.

Agro-Dealer Inspection Survey Following adoption of the survey tools, inspectors visited agro-dealers and carried out surveys. A total of 44 agro-dealers outlets were inspected (12 in Manzini, 11 in Shiselweni, eight in Lubombo and 13 in Hhohho). Most businesses visited were registered, although not all of them were recommended for accreditation. Most agro-dealers did not comply with health and safety measures; and waste management was not properly done. Of the 44 agro-dealer shops inspected, 15 were recommended for accreditation; 29 shops still needed some mentoring/training in areas such as business management and record-keeping before being accredited.

n Uganda In line with COMESA/ACTESA’s intention to support comprehensive, integrated and sustainable associations, IFDC facilitated a capacity building workshop for regional committee members of UNADA on December 8-9, 2011, in Kampala, Uganda. Of the eight countries where the agro-dealer development component of COMRAP was implemented, it is only in Uganda that there was a fully functional national agro-dealer association (UNADA, the national apex organization for all agro-inputs in Uganda). Unlike the other countries, support in Uganda focused on building strong regional/grassroots structures in order to increase association sustainability and increase autonomy in the regions and their constituent branches. It was felt that this would in turn create a strong foundation for UNADA and would enable the regions to provide services and instill confidence among association members. Against this backdrop, Uganda organized a two-day capacity building training to equip its regional members with knowledge and skills in areas of governance, association strengthening, good financial management practices, fundraising, etc. so that they could continue to play a crucial role in providing members with these services. The objective of the workshop was to enhance members’ skills in policy, advocacy and financial management, build their capacity to develop proposals, work plans and budgets and also align these work plans and budgets to the overall UNADA strategic plan (2009‑2014).


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communications expert ensured COMRAP events received media coverage.

One of the outputs of the workshop was the development of draft work plans and budgets for the different regional associations. In addition, members developed a strategy to strengthen the SACCOs formed as a result of COMRAP trainings.

n Zambia NADA Meeting The preliminary meeting to discuss the formation of a national agro-dealer association in Zambia was held on December 15-16, 2011, in Lusaka. The meeting brought together representatives of regional agro-dealer associations, MoA officials, COMESA/ACTESA staff, private agro-dealer business owners and representatives of fertilizer and seed companies. The first day was dedicated to presentations on association activities from the different regions. The district and provincial associations were formed after the agro-dealer trainings that were conducted in various provinces (Copperbelt, Lusaka, Eastern, Central, North Western, Western, Muchinga and Luapula). On the second day, the Zambia National Agro-Dealer Association (ZANADA) was formed and officials were elected (including a chairperson, vice-chair, secretary, vice-secretary, treasurer, committee members and trustees). The new ZANADA executive committee resolved that all provincial representatives, through their districts and provincial associations, should carry out effective member mobilization. SME Toolkit offered support to finalize ZANADA’s constitution and inception of the National Secretariat and partial incubation by offering secretarial and communications support through its chairperson and secretary. SME Toolkit also promised to use its national network and collaborations to provide ZANADA with logistical support for members’ meetings during its first six months.

Inspection of Agro-Dealer Shops The main objective of the survey was to carry out inspections of agro-dealer shops and make recommendations for either the accreditation of the agro-dealers, mentorship or other support. The inspections consisted primarily of personal interviews with the agro-dealers and/or requesting agro-dealers to complete the questionnaires.


COMRAP Project Summary 76

Inspections were carried out in three provinces – Eastern, Central and Copperbelt – and 126 agro-dealers were interviewed. In all three provinces, it was observed that agro-dealers were well-established and their volume of business was quite good. Most businesses were sole proprietorships involving families with between one to five full-time male employees. Part-time employees were hired only during peak periods such as the rainy season. All the agro-dealers visited were in full-time retail trading with the licenses to trade in input supplies and had attended at least one agro-dealer training course through COMRAP or an NGO. Of the 126 agro-dealers surveyed, 90 were recommended for accreditation while 36 would have to go through some mentorship before accreditation.

n Zimbabwe Implementation of the accreditation process in Zimbabwe began in November 2011, with the assessment visits conducted by IFDC/AGMARK and IPG. This was followed by customization of accreditation tools and instruments during the harmonization and validation workshop held in Lilongwe, Malawi; and the training of identified Inspectors in Harare on December 5-10, 2011.

National Agro-Dealer Association Meeting The interim NADA capacity building workshop was held December 12-13, 2011. NADA formation was an expected output of COMRAP, and during the trainings in the rural provinces, eight interim provincial association committees were formed. The interim committee members were asked to send two representatives to attend the agro-dealer association meeting, whose aim was to discuss formation of a national agro-dealer association. The meeting was held following capacity building by IFDC/AGMARK representative Wilfred Thembo (who is also the Executive Secretary of UNADA). The meeting was coordinated by ACFD, the host institution for the agro-dealer development component in Zimbabwe. The objectives of the meeting were: u To undergo capacity building on association formation and management. u To form a national association committee to spearhead the formation of a substantive national agro-dealer

association. u To learn how Uganda succeeded in developing agro-dealer associations.

Among the highlights of the meeting were the formation of the Zimbabwe National Agro-Dealer Association (ZINADA) and the election of an eight-person association committee. It was agreed that the interim committee was not permanent, but that it was tasked to spearhead the formation of a substantive national association.

Accreditation On December 22-28, 2011, ACFD organized trained inspectors to pre-test the tools and instruments of accreditation by carrying out surveys of selected trained agro‑dealers. The objectives of the surveys were: u To pre-test the COMRAP accreditation form. u To pre-test the COMRAP agro-dealer code of conduct. u To assess agro-dealers’ readiness for accreditation. u To assess agro-dealer businesses in the country.


Following adoption of the survey tool and instruments, inspectors agreed to use two broad methodologies in carrying out the survey – oral interviews and observations. A total of 33 agro-dealers were visited December 23-28, 2011. This was achieved by five inspectors who were spread across the country.

Findings Agro-dealers from the provinces where COMRAP started thought that the program was over. Most agrodealers were bitter about the program because they expected to be accredited long ago. Many agro-dealer businesses were in financial difficulty because of problems relating to the availability of credit to restock shops as well as low buying power problems facing smallholder farmers. Inspectors observed that agro-dealers were expecting too much from COMRAP. In general, the shops visited were ideal for agro-dealerships (although a few need some improvement to meet the expectations of regulatory authorities). Of the 33 agro-dealers surveyed, 26 were recommended for accreditation through the MoA’s Mechanization and Irrigation Development.

Linking Agro-Dealers to MIS As a way of linking trained agro-dealers to MIS, the IFDC/AGMARK team introduced the Regional Agricultural Input Market Information and Transparency System (AMITSA) during agro-dealer training sessions across the eight COMRAP countries. Bridget Okumu, the IFDC MIS specialist, visited the countries and made presentations on AMITSA, its objectives and benefits. AMITSA is a multi-country, web- and mobile-based MIS on agro-inputs for eastern and southern Africa. It is implemented by IFDC in collaboration with regional partners COMESA and the East African Community (EAC) as well as national partners involved in agro-input development (associations, projects). AMITSA uses E-Soko, a mobile-based MIS platform, which allows one to send and/or receive agro-input or commodity prices using a mobile phone. During January-August 2011, AMITSA trained agrodealers in the countries covered (including 25 COMRAP-trained agro-dealers) in the use of E-Soko to collect and distribute agro-input prices. These agro-dealers, drawn from 120 towns in the countries covered, were then equipped with mobile phones to enable them to send monthly prices of select agro-inputs to AMITSA. Following the training and provision of phones, these agro-dealers send monthly prices on selected inputs to AMITSA. In addition, host partners shared their agro-dealer databases with AMITSA. To date, over 5,500 agro-dealers have been trained under COMRAP. The AMITSA team has uploaded these agro-dealers into the AMITSA MIS network; from it, they now receive monthly price updates on select agro-inputs in their countries. These linkages are now providing agro-dealers and farmers timely and accurate information to improve their business and yields.

COMRAP Project Summary

Survey Methodology

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p The

Governor of Matabeleland South, the Honorable Angeline Masuku, arrives to officially open a workshop.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) During the period October-December 2010, IFDC developed an M&E plan to assist in tracking project objectives and milestones.

M&E Plan for AgroDealer Development n Theory of Change The design of the COMRAP Agro-Dealer Development Component rested on a theory that improved agroinput markets at, and transactions with, the rural retail level of the input distribution chain (diversity and consistency of supply, numbers of retail outlets, prices, technical advice, services, product promotion, agrodealer ethics) would result in smallholder farmers’ improved access to agro-inputs and greater crop production volumes. Because the focus was on the agro-dealer rather than working on agricultural productivity issues at the farm level, there was a long chain of hypothesized links between the project activities and the overall long-term project objective. IFDC’s implementation of the Agro-Dealer Development Component was just one portion. Activities which were designed to improve skills and change attitudes of agro-dealers, input suppliers, financial institutions and government were expected to result in behavior changes (including adoption of new behaviors); in turn, changes in agro-dealer, supplier, financial institution and government behaviors were expected to improve farmers’ skills, attitudes and opportunities (including input demand, farming practices, participation in commercial markets for outputs which offer competitive margins and purchasing power) in a manner that would lead to increased farmer purchases and improved use of inputs.


Figure 7. Diagram of the Hypothesized COMRAP Agro-Dealer Trainings Activity Transmission Process

COMRAP Project Summary

Within the constraints of this model, success of the program would only occur when the lessons from the training are retained and integrated into business practices that reach and impact farmer practice. This is illustrated in a simplified form in Figure 7.

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n Results Framework and M&E Components The results framework for the project is summarized in the figure below. Figure 8. Summary Results-Based Framework for COMRAP

Activities-Level Monitoring: Observation, Oversight and Quality Assurance The key to lessons being retained, or ‘sticking,’ is that they are delivered in a locally appropriate format that is sensitive to the learning and comprehension capacities of the particular audience, and that standard


seeds of many varieties fill the shelves of an agro-dealer’s shop.

content is adapted to address and resonate with the issues that agro-dealers grapple with on a daily basis. To consistently monitor the quality and effectiveness of training delivery, IFDC and AGMARK sent at least one representative to each training session. AGMARK’s representatives fulfilled the key M&E functions of providing backup support to the local hosts in the form of quality assurance and adherence to training standards; assuring that all M&E questionnaires were administered, well-understood and completed; and composing short follow-up reports on key observations. This served to safeguard the integrity of the certification and an accreditation program that is being built off of the certifications. The monitoring functions of IFDC representatives entailed the coordination with the government through national coordinators and with the private sector (including the parties’ participation in the trainings); institutional and contractual arrangements; private sector participation; and adherence to financial management standards and ethics. Representatives wrote training reports according to template of standard elements (reporting on venue suitability, commercial trainers engaged, training format and aids utilized, topics covered) but were also given the flexibility to allow for input on issues and best practices as per the unique technical expertise and perspective of the individual representative. These reports were compared to the reports composed by the local host partner and inconsistencies between them were identified, addressed and rectified. This served to ensure consistent standards of training delivery across partners and among countries. The effect was to safeguard the integrity of the certification and future accreditation program.

Outputs-Level Monitoring: Performance Reporting For monitoring and managing project execution milestones, outputs, deliverables and achievements, a Performance Monitoring Matrix (PMM) format was created. The PMM offered a summary view of what had been accomplished in terms of outputs, and was expected to trigger adjustments and fine-tuning throughout implementation to assure the planned course was adhered to in terms of achieving output targets. The Project Manager continuously updated and maintained the PMM, drawing from written reports from the local hosts and the quality assurance teams. Data collected was summarized under various headings in the PMM matrix as shown below. Figure 9. Structure of the PMM

Type of Country Training

Country Target

Total No. % against Trained Target

Total No. Men Trained

Total No. Women Trained

% Women against Total Trained

COMRAP Project Summary

t Improved

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Outcomes-Level Monitoring: Questionnaires Administered to Agro-Dealers For monitoring outcomes, a series of three questionnaires was planned for administration to training participants. Ultimately, this monitoring system brought out evidence of how agro-dealer values, behaviors, skills and, ultimately, business performance had changed over the course of the program. By comparing indicators at agro-dealers’ first exposure to the program with the same indicators measured again six months later after lessons had be an integrated into daily practice, trends emerged. The first outcomes-oriented questionnaire was the training application/pre-training assessment form (TE1AGT). It captured information specific to the agro-dealership business profile (operations, education levels of proprietor and employees, services offered to farmer-customers, financial performance, access to credit, supply chain, sales figures); elicited subjective responses on business constraints and quality of advice offered to customers; and collected data on revenue, numbers of customers served and numbers of customer complaints. It was rolled out for all agro-dealer trainings in the eight countries. A French version was used in Rwanda and Burundi. An abbreviated version was crafted and employed for Rwanda and Ethiopia. Once completed, the surveys were routed to IFDC’s Nairobi office by the host partners and a data entry consultant uploaded these onto ACTESA’s mainframe database through its web-based form and into MS Access databases. Given the wide range of literacy levels and education among the eight countries, trainees required facilitation of the TE1-AGT and ambiguity resolution in interpreting items on the standard questionnaire. AGMARK personnel were the common elements at all trainings, and they were available to field questions during the sessions in which the questionnaires were answered. Additionally, the training reports from training observation captured items on the questionnaires that in particular were bringing a lot of questions. This functioned to trigger adaptation of the questionnaires to be more self-explanatory/user-friendly in response. The second instrument, TE2, the training evaluation, was a generic template from ACTESA used across all trainings. A French version to support Burundi and Rwanda trainings was developed. The format of questions was mostly either narrative or ratings on degrees of satisfaction according to a Likert scale. The third instrument, TE1-AGT2, was crafted at the special request of ACTESA to revisit key questions from TE1-AGT in the expectation that the quantities and qualities would change on account of the training and new linkages to suppliers and financial institutions. TE1-AGT2 was designed to follow-up on indicators of business growth (number of employees, revenue, sub-outlets/branches, sales growth), business diversification (services on offer to customers, customer base growth), business opportunities (new links with financial institutions and suppliers, access to credit) and quality of service-trained employees, rating confidence in dispensing technical advice, customer complaints/reported product failure). Rollout of the outcome assessment fell under the direct purview of ACTESA.

Impact-Level Monitoring: Evaluation Delegations All documentation and communications indicated that impact evaluation fell directly under the purview of the European Union and ACTESA. The project proposal referred to a “final evaluation to be carried out by the European Commission” and it also stated that “ all other evaluations would be carried out by COMESA using independent third-party contractors.”


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agro-dealer explains his practices for safe handling of the agro-inputs he sells.

COMRAP M&E Execution, October 2010 to August 2011 n Questionnaire Adaptation and Administration During the period October 2010-August 2011, monitoring of the implementation process at input, activities, output and outcome levels continued to take place. The TE1-AGT was rolled out in the unabridged form for agro-dealer trainings in six countries (Burundi, Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe). In Rwanda and Ethiopia, an abbreviated version of the form that required only information requested by the ACTESA website was administered. There were specific adaptations that were made according to the context in some countries: u Ethiopia used the abbreviated questionnaire due to literacy and language constraints, and the associated

time it would have taken to prepare and administer the abridged version. As a way to deal with the translation needs, it was agreed with Rochdale, the local host organization, that it would translate the TE1-AGT and TE2 forms into local languages as required and also coach the participants through comprehending the questions. Then, Rochdale used its language translation capacity to translate responses back into English and input the data into an Excel spreadsheet template that abided by the ACTESA web format. u Training recruitment yielded a wide range of participants. Some participants did not possess adequate

knowledge of the business or sufficient literacy skills to answer the questions. It was therefore communicated that only agro-dealership proprietors or managers (including professional cooperative managers of the inputs business) – those who supervised day-to-day operations, drew up budgets, made procurement and inventory choices, who managed the business and supply chain relationships and had real decision-making power – were required to complete the TE1-AGT. u Following from this, a system to identify agro-dealership proprietors or managers (including professional

cooperative managers of the inputs business) to attend trainings was put in place. At training registration,


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on a site visit to learn how other dealers conduct business.

attendees were presented with the participant categories list and asked to self-identify the one which best applied to them. On the registration sheet, participants reflected the participant category number alongside their name, shop name (if applicable), mobile telephone number, district and other basic details that were collected. TE1-AGT forms were only administered to those category 12 (agro-dealer shop proprietor or manager) and 13 (cooperative manager) participants.

TE1-AGT Data Entry Local partners couriered all completed TE1-AGT questionnaires to IFDC’s ESAFD office at the conclusion of each training event. ESAFD took inventory of the questionnaires received and then relayed them by courier to a data entry consultant based in Kiboko, Kenya. The consultant was contracted for three tasks: u Design of a database to house the data for future use and data entry template. u Data entry of unabridged questionnaire content into the database. u Data entry of abbreviated questionnaire content into ACTESA web-based form and upload into the

database housed on the ACTESA server. The consultant also undertook a screening task of the questionnaires in accordance with specific guidelines according to the M&E plan. A questionnaire was eliminated if: u Primary occupation was extension officer. u If nature of agro-dealer business was not in retailing or distributing agricultural inputs. u If key sections of the questionnaire were left blank or contained no information.

By mid-December 2011: u 4,733 TE-1 questionnaires had been sent to the data entry consultant for processing. u 3,475 questionnaires were uploaded into the ACTESA mainframe database through the Internet and

broken down by country in the following table.


Burundi

Malawi

Rwanda

Swaziland

Uganda

Zambia

Zimbabwe

Total

347

655

821

96

793

168

595

3,475

The 4,733 stated above had not been updated to reflect those questionnaires that had been rejected in the screening step undertaken at data entry. Four databases for Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zimbabwe were handed over to IFDC by the data entry consultant. They contain the following number of records:

COMRAP Project Summary

Table 17. Number of Records Uploaded to ACTESA Website

85

Number of Agro-Dealers

Figure 10. Participants Identified as Agro-Dealers Engaging in Inputs Trade

Table 18. Percentage of Trained Agro-Dealers Identified as Agro-Dealers Engaging in Inputs Trade, by Country

Malawi

Swaziland

Uganda

Zimbabwe

50%

29%

87%

82%

n Summary Statistics From Databases Gender The gender distribution among agro-dealers in the databases was good in all four countries, and exceeded the target of 40 percent in Swaziland and Zimbabwe. Women had more than 30 percent representation in the four countries where the data was available. More information can be seen in the following table, with the highest representation of women (49 percent) in Swaziland.


COMRAP Project Summary 86

Table 19. Gender Distribution among Agro-Dealers in Four Countries

Gender

Malawi

Swaziland

Uganda

Zimbabwe

Male

66%

51%

70%

53%

Female

34%

49%

30%

47%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Grand Total

Stock Levels The numbers showed that agro-dealers exhibited increases in stock levels from initial capital outlays. These are represented below in US dollars. Increase in stock shows increase in business and demand by farmers. This is seen in the figure below. Figure 11. Agro-Dealers’ Stock Levels in US Dollars

Nature of Businesses The nature of business was classified in terms of whether the agro-dealer was a stockist, wholesaler, agent or manufacturer. Each country showed presence in each of the four categories; therefore all were represented in the project. The summary in the table below is in percentages of the total number of records in the database. Table 20. Classification of Nature of Business in Four Countries

Nature of Business Stockist

Malawi

Swaziland*

Uganda

Zimbabwe

85%

63%

82%

82%

Wholesaler

5%

8%

9%

5%

Agent

6%

8%

7%

8%

Manufacturer

3%

21%

2%

5%

* It is highly possible that there was a misunderstanding of the term manufacturer by Swaziland training participants. In fact, a large proportion of participants were not identified as trading agro-dealers as it was evident from their questionnaire responses that they were producers/farmers. It is plausible that many took the term manufacturer to mean producer.


Services were offered as shown in Figure 12. Over-the-counter advice, which was the main target of the project, was the one frequently offered by agro-dealers.

Figure 12. Services Offered by Country

COMRAP Project Summary

Services Offered

87

Business Turnover Forty-eight percent of the agro-dealers increased business turnover; 52 percent either had decreased (28 percent) or stagnant turnovers (24 percent). Swaziland on the other hand, had 60 percent reporting increases in business turnover, 23 percent reported a decrease and 17 percent stayed the same. In Uganda, 71 percent of the agro-dealers expressed increased turnover, the highest in all four countries, with 18 percent showing decrease and 11 percent saying turnover was the same. Zimbabwe had a similar pattern to Uganda, with 69 percent of the agro-dealers reporting an increase in business turnover, 19 percent reporting a decrease and 11 percent reporting that turnover remained the same. This is depicted in the figure below. Figure 13. Business Turnover Changes between Two Cropping Seasons


COMRAP Project Summary 88

u Decrease in Turnover:  The major reason cited for decrease in turnover across all countries was lack of

capital (36 percent, 17 percent, 31 percent and 49 percent for Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda and Zimbabwe, respectively). In Malawi, the other major factor reported was an increase in competition from other agrodealers (11 percent) and reduced market (10 percent). In Swaziland, natural disasters (17 percent), low demand (17 percent) and poor record-keeping (17 percent) were the major reasons mentioned leading to decreased sales. Natural disasters – drought (27 percent) – also was cited as contributing to low sales in Uganda, while in Zimbabwe, a few cited unstable macro-economic forces (2 percent). u Increase in Turnover:  In all countries, the agro-dealers who reported increases in turnover cited a major

contributory factor as increased demand (18 percent, 21 percent, 27 percent and 12 percent, respectively as above). Other related factors were cited with great frequency, such as increased customer base (Malawi, Swaziland), increased stocks (Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, Zimbabwe) high volumes of sales (Malawi), product advertisement (Swaziland, Uganda), product diversification (Swaziland) and farmer awareness (Uganda, Zimbabwe). The increased availability of inputs made it possible for the agro-dealers to increase their stocks to satisfy the demand. In Malawi, the subsidy program (9 percent) contributed to increased sales and demand for the inputs. In Swaziland, for 9 percent, good rains brought increased sales turnover. In Uganda, 10 percent of those with increased turnover attributed this to the good quality customer care offered, and 6 percent to receiving a contract of enrolment for input distribution under the government subsidy program. Technical services offered and quality service also featured prominently in Uganda. Twelve percent of successful Zimbabwe agro-dealers based the increase on availability of inputs, 9 percent on the improving economy and 6 percent on the use of the US dollar. It is interesting to note that while the agro-dealers who experienced low turnover attributed this to their inability to access credit, agro-dealers who experienced growth in business trading volume attributed this success to increased demand and much less so to increased access to capital. This suggests that a strategy of product promotion and demonstration to raise demand for those agro-dealers who are struggling would be useful.

Sales Volume in Previous Year The average volumes of sales recorded by agro-dealers for the past year is represented in the next figure, with OPV seed dominating in Malawi and Uganda, and hybrid seed dominating in Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The highest fertilizer sales were recorded in Swaziland and the lowest in Uganda. Figure 14. Sales Volume of Inputs


COMRAP Project Summary 89

p Participants

at a field day demonstration.

n Sustainability/Exit Plan Underlying all of COMRAP’s training activities was the objective that agro-dealers adhere to ethical guidelines in the conduct of their operations and, to this end, the project will implement post-training monitoring. The training and monitoring will enable successful dealers to receive accreditation. Responsibility for these elements will involve consultation with and approval by the various national governments. It is absolutely crucial that the momentum generated by COMRAP’s agro-dealer trainings continue to build into accreditation programs for full realization of the vision of this project. The databases created under COMRAP will be instrumental in supporting and managing the accreditation programs and are the link that ties the COMRAP trainings to lasting change in the sector. An expected outcome of this extensive program of business and technical training is that existing NADAs will be strengthened through increased membership, and that agro-dealers in countries with no NADA would recognize the need to form one. There is a palpable need and want for dialogue within the sector – both on the part of agro-dealers and governments – and the only effective way to implement such a dialogue is through trade associations that represent trained agro-dealers.

n Issues u The feedback loop functionality for the ACTESA web-based data system remains to be seen. It is

anticipated that there will be a system for communicating analyzed data back to the organizations so that it can be used for internal learning opportunities.

n Databases u The databases will be made available to local host partners and National Coordinators at project end and

will aid them in administering and managing the accreditation programs that will be launched.


COMRAP Project Summary 90

Administration Results-Oriented Monitoring The COMRAP Results-Oriented Monitoring (ROM) took place February-March 2011. The purpose of the ROM exercise was to monitor the extent to which the project had or was likely to achieve its objectives and contribute to the overall goal. An independent monitoring team, accompanied by representatives from COMESA/ACTESA and the EU, visited Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda and Zimbabwe to gather information on progress made in implementing the project at the country level. Reports from the monitoring exercise were circulated to all implementing partners and discussed both in e-mails and during the stakeholders’ meeting in September 2011. Lessons learned from the ROM exercise were crucial in developing the improvement of the implementation process by indicating adjustments that needed to be made to ensure the success of COMRAP.

Mid-Term Review The COMRAP mid-term review, which was originally scheduled to take place February-March 2011, took place in July-September 2011. The purpose of the review was to examine the concept, design, implementation modality/strategy, efficiency, effectiveness, relevance, impact and sustainability of the project. The review was conducted by independent consultants hired by COMESA/ACTESA. A consultant with AGRI-OPTIMA, an agriculture development/M&E consultancy, visited the IFDC ESAFD office in July 2011 to review the progress on IFDC’s implementation of the agro-dealer development component of COMRAP. During his visit, he held meetings with the IFDC COMRAP project coordinator and went through a series of progress reports on implementation of the agro-dealer development component. The consultant also visited other COMRAP implementing partners in Nairobi – the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) and AGMARK, where he held interviews with staff to review progress on implementation. Upon completion of the mid-term review, the review team developed a report, which was circulated to COMESA/ACTESA and presented at the stakeholders’ meeting held in Nairobi in September 2011. Among the comments made on the work done by IFDC in the implementation of the agro-dealer development component were that although training of the agro-dealers/ agents was well done, it only constituted one variable in the agrodealer constraints equation. The effectiveness of accreditation was questionable considering the limited time left, except to raise agro-dealer expectations for financial support. It was also noted that training did not add value to agrodealers in some countries, such as Malawi, where similar trainings had been done before.


COMRAP Project Summary 91

p An AMITSA training

participant examines the mobile phone kit for use in data collection.

Extension of Contract: September 1December 31, 2011 In August 2011, implementing partners received news of the EU’s approval of the extension of COMRAP from September 1-December 31, 2011. The extension was to allow time for implementing agencies to complete activities that were unfinished, owing to various challenges (among them, delay of disbursement of funds for activities from COMESA). During the extension, IFDC focused on implementing the accreditation process, which had experienced major delays. Accreditation implementation was based on the Accreditation Strategy ‘Road Map to Accreditation’ developed in September 2010, and shared with stakeholders and implementing partners during the COMRAP National Coordinators meeting in January 2011. In addition to accreditation, IFDC worked towards completing agro-dealer and agent trainings in Ethiopia (which started training in May 2011), Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Workshops and Conferences n Eastern Africa Farmers’ Federation COMRAP Inception Workshop – Nairobi, Kenya The Eastern Africa Farmers’ Federation (EAFF) held its COMRAP Inception Workshop on September 27-28, 2010. EAFF is one of the regional farmer organizations from the COMESA region that was contracted by ACTESA to implement activities pertaining to farmers and farmer organizations under COMRAP. The workshop brought together chief executive officers and project coordinators for the seven national farmer organizations implementing COMRAP under EAFF in Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda. IFDC was represented at the workshop by: Richard Jones, agribusiness program leader; Bridget Okumu, MIS specialist; and Mary Nyaoso, project coordinator, COMRAP. AGMARK was represented by one of its directors, James Mutonyi. Mutonyi (on behalf of the IFDC/AGMARK team) made a presentation detailing the progress on activities under the agro-dealer development component. Okumu gave a presentation highlighting AMITSA activities. The


COMRAP Project Summary 92

discussions that followed the presentations focused on the need to create synergies with all the partners implementing different activities under COMRAP. Meeting outcomes were a work plan and an M&E plan for COMRAP activities undertaken by EAFF.

n EMRC Agri-Business Forum – Kampala, Uganda The EMRC Agri-Business Forum, held October 2-6, 2010, brought together participants from both the public and private sectors of different countries to discuss food security. Discussions centered on the challenges food security presents in the drive to eradicate hunger as well as the business opportunities for smallholder farmers and large-scale investors. IFDC’ was represented at the Forum by Richard Jones, Bridget Okumu and Mary Nyaoso. In addition, IFDC sponsored host country partners and successful women agro-dealers to attend the forum. IFDC’s North and West Africa Division was also represented by André De Jager, agri-business program leader, among other officials. During the forum, Jones moderated one of the parallel workshops on ‘commercial opportunities for agro-inputs,’ at which De Jager made a presentation on agro-dealer development in Ghana. The Forum also provided opportunities for IFDC staff members to meet and network with producers and suppliers of agro-inputs as well as hold discussions with representatives from COMESA/ACTESA and other partners on implementation of COMRAP activities.

n 4th ACTESA Stakeholders’ Forum – Entebbe, Uganda ACTESA held its 4th Stakeholders’ Forum November 9-11, 2010. It was attended by ACTESA stakeholders from each of the eight COMESA countries where COMRAP was implemented, COMRAP lead implementing partners, development partners, national coordinators and representatives of NGOs and community-based organizations. As the lead implementing agency for the agro-dealer development component of COMRAP, IFDC was represented at the forum by Rob Groot, regional director, ESAFD; Richard Jones; Kelly Stenhoff, ESAFD M&E specialist; and Mary Nyaoso. During the meetings, Nyaoso presented the status of agro-dealer development, while Stenhoff presented the M&E framework at the ACTESA stakeholder forum and COMRAP stakeholder meeting. COMRAP implementing partners discussed issues, opportunities and challenges pertaining to COMRAP implementation. One issue raised during the plenary discussions was the lack of consultation with national coordinators by COMRAP management. Much of the criticism emanated from the public sector participants who did not really seem to understand the needs of the private sector and the development of an enabling environment.

n 2nd COMRAP National Coordinators Meeting – Nairobi, Kenya The 2nd COMRAP National Coordinators meeting took place on January 28, 2011. The meeting was a follow-on from the Stakeholders’ meeting held in November 2010, at which national coordinators complained of lack of consultation by COMRAP management. The aim of the meeting, therefore, was to discuss ways to improve coordination between regional and national levels and in particular, to clarify the role and responsibilities of the national coordinators. The meeting brought together the agencies involved in the implementation of the various COMRAP components (finance, strengthening of agro-dealer networks and seed), and the national coordinators from the COMRAP countries. ACTESA presented the results of the EU Results-Oriented Monitoring Report and emphasized the need to implement its recommendations. In addition, ACTESA clarified the role and responsibilities of the national coordinators and reiterated its commitment to improve coordination at the regional and national levels.


n National Coordinator’s Meeting – Nairobi, Kenya Following the EU’s approval for extension of COMRAP activities through December 2011, ACTESA convened a meeting of COMRAP national coordinators and implementing partners on September 22-23, 2011. The purpose of the meeting was to review progress on implementation, consider the draft Mid-Term Evaluation, mainstream recommendations from the ROM report into COMRAP and discuss the future of COMRAP beyond December 2011. During the meeting, implementing partners made presentations detailing progress made on various components of the program. COMRAP national coordinators also made presentations on progress made in the implementation of COMRAP activities in their respective countries. The highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the Mid-Term Evaluation. The report focused on the relevance of the project – design strengths and weaknesses, implementation efficiency, effectiveness of the project – whether project purposes has been achieved or not, sustainability of the project and recommendations for immediate and post-COMRAP implementation. On agro-dealer development, the report stated: u Implementation of the trainings was well done but that training only constituted one variable in the agro-

dealer constraints equation. Effectiveness of accreditation was questionable considering time constraints. u Training did not add value to some agro-dealers who had undergone similar training previously.

Among the post-COMRAP recommendations made were: u Upgrade weather stations. u Engage with government on VAT and meteorological costs. u Link agro-dealers to finance and input manufacturers. u Pilot developed credit products in targeted countries. u Build the capacity of agro-dealer associations to engage with government. u Similarly encourage smallholder seed associations. u Train smallholder seed producers on seed multiplication. u Conclude the policy harmonization framework. u Solicit donor finance for continuation of COMRAP activities.

n COMRAP Accreditation Validation Workshop – Lilongwe, Malawi The roll-out of the COMRAP Agro-Dealer Accreditation Process began during the week of October 24-28, 2011, in each of the eight COMRAP countries. Implementing partners, IFDC, iPG and AGMARK, in collaboration with host partner institutions, held meetings with various stakeholders to sensitize and share the proposed agrodealer accreditation process and guidelines. Following successful sensitization meetings, the implementing partners held a ‘Validation of Accreditation Guidelines’ workshop November 15-19, 2011. The purpose of the workshop was to review and harmonize the guidelines, criteria and instruments for accreditation and develop tools to monitor the operations of agrodealers. The meeting brought together a minimum of eight participants from each country.

COMRAP Project Summary

As part of the agenda, implementing partners were given the opportunity to present progress on activities. IFDC/AGMARK presented the progress on agro-dealer/agent training and also shared the strategy on accreditation – ‘Road Map to Accreditation.’ The presentation highlighted the process of accreditation, with particular emphasis on the Kenyan experience. One of the outcomes of the meeting was a matrix highlighting the progress on activities of the different components which ACTESA shared with stakeholders.

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COMRAP Project Summary 94

Among the highlights of the meeting: u National coordinators and host institutions finalized country-specific instruments. u Each country identified at least 10 inspectors/mentors to undertake the inspectors’ trainings, which took

place in Harare, Bujumbura and Addis Ababa. u The countries of Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe (with interim regional agro-dealer

associations/cooperatives in place), agreed to arrange for preliminary meetings (in their respective countries) to discuss the formation of NADAs. u National coordinators and host institutions in the different countries agreed to finalize the identification

and selection of accreditation panels. Once identified, panellists would hold meetings to adopt accreditation instruments and plan for pilot surveys to test the accreditation survey tool in their respective countries. u COMESA/ACTESA approved the sample certificate to be awarded to trained agro-dealers and agents. It

was agreed that the approved sample would be sent to the host partners for printing (before December 29, 2011) and distributed to awardees in 2012.

n 5th ACTESA Stakeholders Forum – Lilongwe, Malawi The 5th ACTESA Stakeholders’ Forum took place on November 21-22, 2011. The purpose of the forum was for ACTESA to present to stakeholders and partners the Five-Year Development Strategy, which recently had been adopted by the COMESA Council of Ministers. The forum brought together regional (IFDC, AFSTA, EAFF, SACAU, WASAA), national (national coordinators from ministries of agriculture, host institutions, farmer organizations) implementing partners of ACTESA’s programs, development partners (USAID, EU, AGRA, PTA Bank) and officials from the Government of Malawi. The forum was officially opened by Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture, Kingsley Namakwa. The Republic of Malawi is the current Chair of COMESA. Managers of the different COMRAP components presented on implementation progress. ACTESA also presented on the progress made on other donor-funded programs including SmartFS, AAMP, etc. Highlights of the meeting were presentations of the ACTESA Five-Year Development Strategy and the ACTESA implementation plan 2012-2013. Discussions that followed the presentation of the Strategy centered mainly on the need for ACTESA to address itself to regional rather than national challenges and to position itself to take advantage of funding for regional programs. As a way forward on the Strategy, Dr. Mwila, the CEO of ACTESA, informed stakeholders that ACTESA would review the Strategy with the help of a committee comprising representatives from IFDC and AFSTA.

n COMRAP Wrap-Up Meetings – Lilongwe, Malawi The COMRAP wrap-up meeting mapped strategies on how member states will integrate COMRAP activities into their national budgets and agree on how these activities will be taken up after the closure of the program. National implementing partners (national coordinators, local implementing partners for each COMRAP component) made presentations on the status of implementation, highlighting achievements, lessons learned and the way forward in terms of linking ongoing activities to existing government- or donor-funded programs. The outcome of the meetings was that national coordinators and host institutions agreed to continue to work together to turn ongoing COMRAP activities into national programs. A matrix summarizing COMRAP activities that will be linked to existing national programs per country is highlighted under the ‘Implementing EU-funded activities post-COMRAP’ section.

u An

agro-input shop in Bujumbura, Burundi.


COMRAP Project Summary 96

p An

agro-dealer explains the merits of improved seed while his assistant completes a sales record.

Challenges A number of challenges have been highlighted previously. This section summarizes some of the challenges by classifying them into different levels.

n Program-Level Challenges Creating Synergies/Linkages Between COMRAP Components An objective of COMRAP was to respond to rising food prices by increasing agricultural productivity through enhanced access to three intertwined factors – finance, fertilizer and seed. Effective implementation of the three COMRAP components, therefore, required that implementing partners work together and draw on one another’s synergies. This did not happen. At the 4th ACTESA Stakeholders’ meeting, partners recognized that there was a disconnect between the three COMRAP components. The issue was discussed and it was agreed that ACTESA would develop a mechanism to coordinate implementation of COMRAP’s different components, including holding regular meetings with implementing partners to discuss progress. Despite promises to hold regular (monthly) meetings, only one additional stakeholders’ meeting was held (5th Stakeholders’ Meeting) thereafter.

Coordination Between Host Partners and National Coordinators At the 4th ACTESA Stakeholders’ meeting, the issue of creating synergies between different COMRAP components and in particular, the need to strengthen coordination between host partners and national coordinators, was discussed at length. It was agreed that ACTESA should develop a mechanism to coordinate implementation of COMRAP’s different components. ACTESA was to arrange regular meetings for implementing partners to discuss progress on COMRAP activities. In addition, implementing partners were to share work plans. In an effort to improve coordination, ACTESA arranged for the coordinators meeting


Publicity/Visibility of COMRAP in the Eight Countries Publicity/visibility of COMRAP and COMESA/ACTESA in the eight countries was cited as a major challenge by almost all host partners, particularly at the beginning of implementation of the agro-dealer trainings. Banners, brochures, publicity of the COMRAP project and COMRAP agro-dealer trainings, was lacking at almost all the trainings. This issue was brought to the attention of COMESA/ACTESA during the Stakeholders’ meeting. ACTESA then agreed that host partners would be allowed to design their publicity materials, including engaging media to cover agro-dealer training events. The cost of publicity materials, media coverage, etc. would be included in the training budget and borne by ACTESA. To this end, different countries came up with country-specific publicity strategies including inviting journalists to cover COMRAP agro-dealer/agent training events, newsletters, newspaper articles in local dailies, brochures, etc. In Zambia, for instance, SME Toolkit worked closely with the MoA and cooperatives department of the NAIS to cover all agro-dealer training events in the print and electronic media. NAIS and SME Toolkit have since developed a documentary on the trainings, which has been circulated to ACTESA.

Certificates As of December 31, 2011, no official ACTESA/COMESA certificates had been issued to trainees. Certificates were to be issued to all those trained on completion of the ToT trainings and agro-dealer/agent trainings. Although IFDC designed various samples of certificates and shared these with ACTESA/COMESA for approval, no decision was reached on the design to be adopted for all the countries, or the mechanism for printing and/or awarding certificates until late November 2011. During the COMRAP extension period (SeptemberDecember 2011), the issue of certificates was followed up and a final decision on design reached. A sample certificate was agreed upon and approved for printing by the host partners, with funds from ACTESA. Host countries were also assigned the responsibility of ensuring that the certificates are distributed to trained agrodealers/agents, even after the completion of COMRAP activities.

n In-Country Implementation Challenges The country visits by IFDC/AGMARK quality assurance teams provided an opportunity to observe implementation of trainings and raise any emerging issues/challenges identified. Emerging issues/challenges were communicated to the COMRAP project coordinator at IFDC where they were discussed with a view to resolve them. Challenges identified were, in most cases, unique to specific countries and required solutions unique to those countries. In certain cases, however, similar challenges were experienced in a cross-section of countries. These included: u Delays in submission of financial reports and/or original supporting documents for training-related

expenses from host institutions. u Weak administration and accounting of training funds. u Flaws in recruitment of agro-dealers/agents to trainings. While trainings were designed for agro-dealers

and agents, it became apparent during country visits that not all participants at the trainings were agrodealers/agents. In Zambia, for example, farmers were finding their way into the agro-dealer training sessions, while agro-dealers were attending trainings meant for agents. In Burundi, the recruitment of participants was left to trainers, skewing the process and leaving a number of well-known agro-dealers

COMRAP Project Summary

in January 2011. During February-August 2011, no other coordination meetings took place. It was not until September 2011 (after the EU had granted a no-cost extension of the COMRAP Program) that ACTESA held the 2nd Coordinator’s meeting to discuss (among other issues) progress on COMRAP implementation. Monthly meetings with implementing partners did not take place as planned.

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COMRAP Project Summary 98

(and particularly women) out of the trainings. Malawi struggled with the definition of agents as provided by ACTESA; it was not until April 2011 that the definition became clear, prompting the host institution to request additional training sessions for agents. u Delays in the start of the accreditation process for trained agro-dealers. One of the deliverables of IFDC

under the COMRAP Program was to accredit agro-dealers six months after training. Although accreditation of trained agro-dealers was due to begin in February 2011, the actual process did not begin until November 2011.

Gender Mainstreaming In line with EU’s requirement that 40 percent of the total 7,800 agro-dealers/agents trained be women, deliberate efforts were made to ensure recruitment of women agro-dealers/agents. In spite of the deliberate efforts host institutions made to recruit women agro-dealers/agents, most countries continued to record low numbers of women at training events. By the end of December 2011, Swaziland recorded the highest percentage of women trained (53 percent). Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Uganda followed with 42 percent, 37 percent, 35 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Ethiopia recorded the lowest number of women trained at 11 percent (see Table 3). A number of factors contributed to lower than expected participation by women, including: u The agro-dealer business is a male-dominated industry, perhaps due to the high capital outlay required to

start a business. Quite often, women do not have the capital required. u Small agro-dealerships are primarily family-run businesses, operated by a man and his wife (family). One

partner has to remain when the other is away – in this case, the man attended the training while the wife operated the business. u It was difficult to recruit women agro-dealers in certain provinces/districts because the female population

is very low – this was true of northern Uganda, where years of civil war have seen women and children seek refuge in safer areas. u Religious and cultural factors: In Ethiopia, the low turn-out of women at the trainings was also attributed

to cultural factors. Women have to seek permission from their husbands to leave the homestead for an event such as the COMRAP trainings (which were scheduled for several days). In Malawi, the low number of women in Mangochi was attributed to religion – it is a predominantly Muslim area, where education/ training of women has been a challenge.

Attrition of Trained Agro-Dealers/Agents in Rwanda and Burundi A different model for delivery of trainings was adopted for Rwanda and Burundi, (in which the eight-day trainings were split into three and two parts for Rwanda and Burundi, respectively). The model was preferred in the two countries as it kept agro-dealers away from their businesses for shorter periods of time and topics in both the technical and business modules were split for ease of delivery. The model required that agro-dealers go through the first series of training in product knowledge and then return for the second and/or third series covering business management topics before being certified as having completed the course. In reality, however, some agro-dealers did not return for the second and/or third series of training.

Delays in COMRAP Implementation in Ethiopia One of the major challenges experienced in the implementation of the agro-dealer component was the delay of COMRAP activities in Ethiopia. While other countries began training in October 2010, Ethiopia only began training in May 2011, almost six months later. This delay was the cause of late completion of trainings in Ethiopia, which completed training in December 2011.


COMRAP Project Summary 99

p An

agro-input shop in Uganda.

Lessons Learned n Recruitment of Participants It became apparent that most host institutions did not have clear guidelines and/or criteria for use in recruitment of agro-dealers/agents to the trainings. Although the definitions of agro-dealers/agents were communicated to the host partners, these definitions were narrow, not incorporating certain categories such as shop attendants, etc. under the agent definition. In the future, definitions should be clear, incorporating a wide range of categories. Criteria for recruitment of participants to agro-dealer/agent trainings should also be clarified and communicated to those in charge of recruitment in future. This would avoid flaws in recruitment.

n Gender Mainstreaming Although the EU required that 40 percent of women benefit from the trainings, this was not achieved despite deliberate efforts to recruit women to the trainings. If women are to benefit from trainings such as this, concerted efforts need to be made towards designing courses that target women only, including initiatives such as ‘agro-dealer start-up kits for women,’ etc.

n Capacity Building Experience for Host Partners The COMRAP design gave an opportunity to the private sector in the eight landlocked countries to implement a regional program, in collaboration with respective national governments. Although this approach had its challenges, particularly during the learning phase when host institutions had to learn the requirements of ACTESA and their respective Ministries of Agriculture, the experience strengthened the implementation capacity of most host institutions. Further, IFDC/AGMARK planned and conducted trainings for specific private sector institutions in financial and organizational management. The aim of these trainings was to build the


COMRAP Project Summary 100

capacity of these institutions to be able to deliver results in line with contractual requirements. In the long term, building strong institutions (both private and public) improves efficiency and effectiveness, not only in project implementation, but also in project outcomes.

Conclusion COMRAP was a unique program designed to respond to rising food prices in the COMESA region by increasing agricultural productivity through enhanced access to financial resources and inputs. A number of achievements were realized in the three components – finance, agro-dealer network strengthening and seed multiplication and harmonization – in terms of fast-tracking and completing activities within a very short time. Due to the short implementation period, however, it was not possible to adequately evaluate impact level

p COMRAP provided

training in business practices that assist agro-dealers to improve their operations.


Recommendations n Project Implementation Period Although COMRAP was designed as a two-year project, delays in project start-up, administration and project management issues within ACTESA shortened the implementation period considerably. Implementation of the agro-dealer accreditation process, for instance, was meant to start in February 2011. However, it was not until November 2011 that IFDC was able to begin implementation. Although the EU granted an extension period for completion of activities, it was too short to complete some activities. For a project of COMRAP’s magnitude, a longer implementation period (three to five years) would have been ideal to be able to gather more information on project outputs and gain a better understanding of the outcomes and impact. A longer period of implementation would have also allowed for completion of activities such as accreditation, which was delayed partly due to slow ACTESA administrative processes.

n Start-Up Kits for Women The agro-dealer business is dominated by men. Although concerted efforts were made to recruit women to the trainings as a way of encouraging them to open input supply shops, participation was still below the 40 percent requirement established by the EU. A method to encourage women to set up agro-dealer shops is to provide start-up kits and funds for input purchases. Start-up kits would also mitigate the high capital outlay required to open agro-dealer businesses.

n Alternative Financing Methods for Agro-Dealers Across the COMRAP countries, agro-dealers rely on commercial banks and other financial institutions for loans. ACTESA/COMESA should develop alternative methods to finance agro-dealers and smallholder farmers. In almost all the countries, agro-dealers were concerned about access to finance to build their business. Although these concerns were partly mitigated by linking agro-dealers to input supply companies (for credit) and to local commercial banks (for loan facilities), very few agro-dealers actually benefited from bank loans. As a regional economic community, COMESA should explore ways of resolving this problem, which seems to affect agro-dealers across the region.

n Customize Courses In some countries (Malawi, Uganda, Zambia), agro-dealers had already participated in basic agro-dealer training. The COMRAP training was therefore repetitive for some. In the future, training modules should be designed for agro-dealers at different levels in different countries.

COMRAP Project Summary

gains brought about by the project. Fortunately, the output level gains made and the momentum created will dovetail into existing national activities under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Further, the lessons and recommendations made will go a long way to inform policymakers in designing future agro-input programs similar to COMRAP.

101


COMRAP Project Summary 102

p Association

building is part of COMRAP’s approach to empower agro-dealers in their business.

Implementing EU-Funded Activities Post-COMRAP During the COMRAP Wrap-Up Meeting, national coordinators and host partners from the implementing countries identified COMRAP activities that would be linked to ongoing national activities under CAADP or under other specific national programs in their respective countries. Linking these activities to existing national activities under the respective Ministries of Agriculture would not only ensure continuity of those activities, but also that national governments set aside funds in their budgets for the activities. On the following page is a summary of some of the activities to be linked to existing national programs in each of the eight countries. In order to access future EU funding for projects similar to COMRAP, COMESA/ACTESA would need to consult and work closely with national governments to identify existing regional gaps and present funding proposals to EU for projects to bridge those gaps. To this end, ACTESA is in the process of finalizing its Five-Year Development Strategy, which will focus on improving policy, research, outreach and advocacy; strengthening market facilities and services for trade expansion; and building the capacity of smallholder farmers to operate on a commercial basis.


CAPAD

Seed production, certification and marketing

ISABU, MoA

Agro-dealer accreditation, linking farmers to input suppliers and financial institutions, development and maintenance of the agro-dealer database

IFDC/CATALIST, MoA

Training of agro-dealers to continue with a focus on women agro-dealers, link agrodealers to finance institutions; formation of NADAs

Rochdale with support from IFDC/ACTESA

Accreditation of agro-dealers; linking agro-dealers and smallholder farmers to credit facilities

RUMARK through AGRA funds

Seed production, certification

WASAA, MoA

WII: awareness, link to credit

MoA

Overall coordination of activities

MoA; COMRAP Coordinator

Rwanda

Malawi

Agricultural Finance: awareness creation and linking farmers to finance institutions Burundi

Institution

Ethiopia

Country Activity

Agro-dealer accreditation, maintenance of agro-dealer database, agro-dealer association strengthening, gender mainstreaming; linking agro-dealers to finance IFDC RADD; MINAGRI institutions and input suppliers, development of advanced agro-dealer training module Rural Finance and WII: extension to 10 stations; awareness, linkages to FI; exploring satellite option

MINAGRI, MININFRA, local MFIs

Zimbabwe

Zambia

Uganda

Swaziland

Seed: production and multiplication, monitoring and backstopping, awareness creation RAB, Local Extension and documentation services Link agro-dealers to input suppliers and markets, establish grain association

MoA

Seed: production, multiplication, marketing

ACAT, MoA

Finance and WII: awareness creation and linking to CAADP

MoA

Seed multiplication and certification

MAAIF, NARO and Farmer Organizations

Accreditation and regulation of agro-dealers

MAAIF

Formation of WII taskforce

MAAIF, UCA, NUCAFE

Accreditation of agro-dealers, maintenance of agro-dealer database

ZANACO, ZNFU, MoAL

Championing seed production, certification and regulation

MoAL, CATISA

Develop innovative packages for all three components

MoAL, SME Toolkit, Zanaco, ZNFU

Update and maintain agro-dealer database, establish taskforce on agro-dealer strengthening, support accreditation, link agro-dealers to finance and markets

MoA

Seed: establish seed association, seed production, processing and marketing, establish taskforce on seed

MoA

Pursue products developed under Finance Component, continue to create awareness on new production; explore cost effectiveness of automated weather stations – satellite imagery MoA WII – awareness creation on WII Link three components

COMRAP Project Summary

Table 21. Summary of COMRAP Activities to Be Linked to Existing National Programs in Each Country

103


104

COMRAP Project Summary

Annexes


Country

Type of Training 1

Burundi Ethiopia Malawi Rwanda

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

96 136

58 120

Agents

57

30

31

33

Agro-dealers

87

94

35

89

33

43

27

Agents

52

29

7

40

32

30

20

Agro-dealers

69 130 140 118 131 118 136 157

Agro-dealers Agents

6

0

15

0

95 129 117

9

Agro-dealers

Agents

2

10

100.00

151

150

100.67

41

449

400

112.25

34

244

150

162.67

1,098

1,000

109.80

249

300

83.00

846

800

105.75

254

250

101.6

404

400

101.00

151

150

100.67

910

1,000

91.00

298

300

99.33

994

1,000

99.40

377

400

94.25

773

800

96.63

310

300

103.33

7,908

7,800

101.38

99

20

40

354 275 266 343 271 262

0

0

 

55 102

78

87

89

0

0

0

72

87

83

85

77

Agents

49

50

52

0

0

0

Agro-dealers

90

89

90

92

91

90

Agents

73

56

93

76

Agro-dealers

88

75

81

86

90

88

91

81

88

Agents

43

45

38

36

42

38

44

44

47

77

97 100

86

65

73

82

69

70

Agents

40

44

53

51

40

82

Grand Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zambia

Zimbabwe Agro-dealers

90

 

95

 

Key Burundi

13

400

0

Uganda

12

400

9 0

11

59

0

Swaziland Agro-dealers

Percent Total Target against Target

No. Participants Per Training Sessions 1-13

Total No. of agro-dealers who attended the two phases of the training

Rwanda Total No. of agro-dealers who attended the two phases of the training

95

 

342 267 237

88 68 54

80

78

 

COMRAP Project Summary

Annex 1. Training Summary by Session as of December 31, 2011

105


COMRAP Project Summary 106

Annex 2. Summary of Achievements July 2010 – December 2011 Input

Output

Outcome

Activity 1: Establishment of baselines regarding currently existing agro-dealers and numbers of women involved in the business. Engagement of a consultant to conduct a Baseline report baseline survey on existing agro-dealers in the 8 landlocked countries

Report of survey made available to stakeholders and used to set country targets for agro-dealers/agents trained

Activity 2: Conduct a training needs assessment and develop agro-dealer/agents training curriculum. IFDC/AGMARK team conduct a training needs assessment and develop training curricula

Training needs assessment report curriculum for agro-dealers/agents training

Training needs assessment report circulated; Business Management Module and Technical Knowledge Module used to conduct agro-dealer/agent trainings

Activity 3: Hold a stakeholder workshop to validate agro-dealer/extension and farmer training curriculum. Validation workshop held in Lusaka, Zambia Workshop report (July 2011)

Validation report shared with stakeholders

Activity 4: Conduct Training of Trainers Workshops. 4 training of trainers workshops; at least 80 4 workshops held trainers trained 114 trainers trained Consolidated ToT report developed

Report shared with ACTESA and other stakeholders

Activity 5: Conduct agro-dealer training across the eight countries. Agro-dealer training in business management, seeds, fertilizers and CPPs conducted

A total of 5,874 agro-dealers (1,976 women) received training

Trained agro-dealers better equipped to provide inputs and extension services to farmers

Activity 6: Conduct agent training across the eight countries. Agent training in business management and product knowledge conducted

A total of 2,034 agents (653 women) trained during the life of the project

Improved extension services and information to farmers

Activity 7: Accredit trained agro-dealers. Activity 7.1: Conduct country assessment survey to establish capacity and readiness for accreditation. IFDC/AGMARK visit to countries

Report on country’s readiness and capacity for accreditation

Report presented and adopted by stakeholders

Activity 7.2: Hold accreditation validation workshop to harmonize guidelines, criteria and tools of accreditation. Validation workshop held in Lilongwe, Malawi, November 15-19, 2011

Workshop report Accreditation guidelines, criteria and tools domesticated for country conditions

Customized accreditation guidelines, criteria and tools adopted for each country Country-specific accreditation tools and instruments developed and adopted


COMRAP Project Summary 107

p Participants

gather around a browser at a training for agro-dealers about the AMITSA website.

Activity 7.3: Identify and train accreditation inspectors/mentors. Inspectors/Mentors trained

4 training workshops held (Harare, Bujumbura, Kigali and Addis Ababa) A total of 124 accreditation inspectors trained Training reports

Trained inspectors with knowledge and skills to conduct surveys of agro-dealer shops and provide counseling and mentorship as required

Activity 7.4: Identify and set-up country accreditation panels. A total of 8 accreditation panels set up, Accreditation panels equipped with one for each country knowledge and skills to certify agrodealers qualifying for accreditation Activity 7.5: Hold country conventions/meetings for association members. Countries hold conventions for association committee members

4 conventions held (Rwanda, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) A total of 4 new NADAs formed Association members trained on NADA formation Proceedings of convention circulated

A total of 4 new NADAs formed (Rwanda, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) Interim committee members for new NADAs elected

Activity 7.6: Accredit trained agro-dealers. Conduct surveys of trained agro-dealers and make recommendations

Agro-dealer surveys conducted in 4 countries (Burundi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) A total of 393 agro-dealers (190 in Burundi, 44 in Swaziland, 126 in Zambia and 33 in Zimbabwe) were surveyed

A total of 131 agro-dealers were recommended for accreditation (0 in Burundi; 15 in Swaziland, 90 in Zambia and 26 in Zimbabwe)


COMRAP Project Summary 108

Annex 3.  Acronyms & Abbreviations ACFD ������������������� African Centre for Fertilizer Development ACTESA �������������� Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa AFSTA ������������������ African Seed Trade Association AGMARK ������������ Agricultural Market Development Trust AGRITEX ............ Department of Agricultural Extension and Technical Services AISAM ����������������� Agricultural Input Supply Association of Malawi AMITSA ��������������� Regional Agricultural Input Market Information System CAADP ............... Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program COMESA ������������� Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa COMRAP ������������ COMESA’s Regional Agricultural Inputs Program CPP ...................... crop protection product(s) EAFF �������������������� Eastern Africa Farmers’ Federation ESAFD ����������������� East and Southern Africa Division of IFDC EU ������������������������� European Union FUM ��������������������� Farmers Union of Malawi IFDC ��������������������� International Fertilizer Development Center KENADA ������������� Kenya National Agro-Dealer Association M&E ��������������������� monitoring and evaluation MIS ����������������������� market information system MoA .................... Ministry of Agriculture MoA&FS ������������� Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (Malawi) MoU ��������������������� memorandum of understanding NADA ������������������ National Agro-Dealer Association NGO .................... non-governmental organization PMM �������������������� Performance Monitoring Matrix PMP ��������������������� Performance Monitoring Plan REDI ��������������������� Regional Excellence and Development Initiative ROM ��������������������� Results-Oriented Monitoring RUMARK ������������ Rural Marketing Development Trust SACCOs �������������� Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies SDF ...................... set-up, deliver and follow-up SFFRFM �������������� Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi SMEs .................... small and medium enterprises SNNPR ���������������� Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (Ethiopia) ToT ����������������������� Training of Trainers UNADA ��������������� Uganda National Agro-Dealers’ Association

u Participants u Back

gather at the conclusion of a COMRAP training in Rwanda.

cover: A woman agro-dealer. COMRAP promotes gender parity in its training program to encourage women and youth participation in agribusiness.


IFDC East and Southern Africa Division (Divisional Coordination Office) c/o icipe Duduville Campus, Kasarani Thika Road P.O. Box 30772-00100 Nairobi KENYA Telephone: +254 20 863 2720 Telefax: +254 20 863 2729 E-mail: ifdckenya@ifdc.org IFDC Headquarters P.O. Box 2040 Muscle Shoals, Alabama 35662 USA Telephone: +1 (256) 381-6600 Fax: +1 (256) 381-7408 E-mail: general@ifdc.org Website: www.ifdc.org Š IFDC 2011. All rights reserved. For additional information about IFDC and/or the COMRAP project, visit www.ifdc.org.


COMRAP Project Overview