Sustainable development of value chains in the agricultural and forestry sectors
Title: Rural development and agriculture (ProDRA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Planning, Development and Territorial Management, Togo
Overall term: 2012 to 2016
Togo’s agricultural and wood energy sector currently has a low performance capacity. The level of value creation and market integration is low and further processing activities on site are negligible. Women working in agricultural production are economically disadvantaged – a situation that is not made any easier by the exodus of young men from rural regions. As for the wood energy sub-sector, pressure to provide urban areas with charcoal has led to overexploitation in some places. Although government subsidies have raised levels of food production, Togo is still in need of efficient and sustainable production systems, technical and organisational expertise and innovative business models.
Actors in three selected agricultural value chains (coffee, cashew nuts, and pineapple) and the wood energy value chain perform better in economic and technical terms and are more self-sufficient.
The ProDRA project is working with the Togolese ministries of agriculture and the environment, with farmers' organisations, processing enterprises and traders to initiate model improvements in individual value chains. The company ECO Consult is providing support for the wood energy sector.
The project operates at the local, regional and national level with mutually complementary methods.
- ValueLinks that allow for the analysis, structuring and assessment of value chains together with the stakeholders and for the planning of project activities and the creation of new business contacts.
- Farmer Business Schools that foster entrepreneurial skills while providing good technical training for farmers of both genders.
- Business start-up courses (Competency-based Economies through Formation of Enterprise (CEFE)) which essentially focus on promoting entrepreneurship among people engaged in processing and traders.
- Technical training designed to improve cultivation techniques and hone specific business and organisational skills.
- Organisational and policy analyses that can be used to map out strategies for improved overall conditions.
GIZ mainly works with government service providers and non-governmental organisations. Together they have aligned the above methods and trained field extension officers to use them. Working through target-group organisations, such as smallholders or small to medium-sized processing businesses, the project aims to reduce transaction and production costs, increase levels of processing and improve integration of the value chains themselves.
At regional and national level, the experience gained flows into strategies and policies and improves the framework conditions. Furthermore, the project harnesses the specialist knowledge of national personnel and development workers to showcase products at trade fairs and implement small-scale innovative projects.
ProDRA is operating in the following value chains: coffee/cocoa, cashew nuts, pineapple and wood energy along with the following food production areas: soy, manioc, maize and poultry.
To date, more than 100 advisors working for the government and for non-governmental organisations have received intensive training in the above methods. Using their newly acquired skills, they have since gone on to provide one-week extension courses to more than 2,500 farmers in the Farmer Business Schools, instruct around 100 processing firms in CEFE and related methods (in one to two-week training courses) and more than 550 people in various technical and organisational topics. In addition, financial and specialist support has been given to more than 20 small-scale projects.
Target group surveys have revealed satisfaction ratings in excess of 85 per cent. The intermediaries’ motivation to apply demanding methods is also around this level. In specimen cases, production profits after training went up by more than 30 per cent owing to the use of agricultural inputs such as seed, fertiliser and animal fodder. Project-backed participation in regional trade fairs sent demand for certain products, such as ground coffee or organic pineapple, soaring so high that the producers found it hard to keep up with demand in the first few months.