ECA smallholder commercialisation
AboutEmpresa de Comercialização Agrícola Ltd (“ECA”) is a market-oriented extension programme which aims to boost the incomes of up to 50,000 farmers in central Mozambique while introducing sustainable farming practices, organizational safeguards and providing access to markets.
The initial focus will be on maize and higher value crops such as sesame, sorghum, soya, cow peas, and sugar beans. ECA supplies inputs (seed, fertilisers, etc.) on credit, on time and at lower prices than local alternatives, and provides extension advice and will engage with farmer clubs, each of 10 to 15 farmers, all pre-screened, with individual land holdings of 0.5 to 2 ha.
ECA will offer a ‘full service package’ to farmer clubs of extension advice, agricultural inputs and affordable weather insurance. The programme will include basic processing and milling of maize, linking farmers to markets including SAB Miller (Cervejas de Moçambique) and the World Food Programme. Its direct marketing strategy, will allow ECA to offer crop prices which are higher than those offered by local traders thus reducing the temptation of side selling.
- By boosting yields and maintaining fixed inputs costs the ECA managed program offers incremental incomes of $1000 per year to the 5,000 participating smallholder farmers. Farmers own 45% of the business (currently held in trust by AgDevCo).
- Guaranteed market for increased smallholder production of cereals and pulses by establishing links to major buyers such as the World Food Programme.
- Create 50 permanent jobs (mainly extension officers).
- Generate consequent environmental benefits with the introduction of conservation farming techniques.