The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have committed their financial and technical resources to work in the Limpopo Province of South Africa to boost the province’s agricultural productivity through the implementation of the hub agro-dealer model in the province with plans to expand throughout the country.
Working closely with the Limpopo Department of Agriculture, the two organizations today formerly launched the hub agro-dealer model, a model for reaching farmers that has already been a success in many East African countries by increasing the up-take of inputs, especially fertilizer by up to 40% in some regions and managed to increase rural employment of women and youth.
Professor Richard Mkandawire, AFAP’s Vice President said, “The basic philosophy of AFAP is underpinned by the belief that combining the private sectors competitive instincts and commercial know-how with the development world’s expertise results in synergistic improvements in production and productivity.” He added that this initiative is also a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goal 2 of ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.
By adopting a hub agro-dealer model developed by the Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK), a model that provides easy access to inputs by smallholder farmers, AFAP and FAO aim to have more smallholder farmers use fertilizer and other inputs for increased yields. The implementation of the model will also create rural employment opportunities through support to small and medium agribusinesses.
The hub agro-dealer model places agro-dealers at the center of their communities, ensuring that smallholder farmers cut down on transport costs hence availability of inputs within their geographical locality. As part of the implementation, AGMARK will provide training to more than 100 agro-dealers in the province a number that will increase as the project gains momentum- the project
As an organization, FAO recognizes the role partnerships play in the fulfillment of its mandate and in enhancing its effectiveness of its support to the government of South Africa in facilitating and promoting partnerships for food and nutrition security, agriculture and rural development which is a core function of FAO’s new strategic framework,” said Dr Tobias Takavarasha, FAO’s Representative, South Africa.
The key beneficiaries are smallholder farmers who need both technical and financial support in their agricultural production. The hub agro-dealer model will also create jobs in the province through the mentoring support and training of a hundred rural entrepreneurs who are interested in agribusiness.
“The Hub agro dealer model ensures the constant availability of adequate fertilizers, improved seeds and agro-chemicals. Through the development of hubs and a dimensional distribution system in rural areas, smallholder farmers buy inputs at lower prices,” Mkandawire added.
The implementation of the project is a culmination of many activities that have taken place between AFAP, the Limpopo Department of Agriculture (LDA) and FAO.
The project was first proposed when a delegation of agro-dealers, farmers, farmer associations and members of LDA travelled to Kenya to study the hub agrodealer model in 2013.
While expressing his excitement over the model replication in the vast agricultural Limpopo province, Tshilidzi Mathobo, LDA Agribusiness Manager noted that, “This concept corrects the failures that are created by market structures that concentrate economic activities in more affluent areas thus neglecting the majority of poor people based in rural areas.”
Jason Scarpone, President and CEO of AFAP said, “The success of AFAP lays upon drawing upon the strengths of its partners, such as FAO whose mandate is to eliminate hunger and poverty through bolstering agricultural productivity.”