AGDEVCO, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE MASTERCARD FOUNDATION,
HAS ESTABLISHED THE SMALLHOLDER DEVELOPMENT UNIT (SDU) TO WORK WITH FARMERS
TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY AND STRENGTHEN TIES WITH LOCAL AGRIBUSINESSES.
Our experience has taught us that in order to develop sustainable schemes delivering a range of benefits to smallholders (e.g. access to inputs, finance, training and markets), some upfront investment is required, which is often not recoverable.
The role of our Smallholder Development Unit (SDU) is to support our investees with this initial investment through managing and funding the following activities:
- Designing smallholder schemes, including conducting background studies and defining the core components of the scheme (e.g. structure, participants, commercial terms);
- Assisting enterprises in rolling out the schemes, including funding the initial operational costs of the schemes until they have achieved sufficient scale to be sustainable (e.g. salaries and equipment);
- Supporting enterprises in running demonstration plots and training programmes for farmers to improve agronomic techniques, demonstrating benefits of modern inputs and trialling new technologies (e.g. mobile technologies, micro-insurance); and
- Providing technical assistance to develop information technology systems to manage outgrower schemes and track their impacts.
Whilst we expect these schemes to cover their costs once up and running, the Smallholder Development Unit will provide grant funding and expertise in the initial design, launch and roll-out of smallholder programmes.
THE MASTERCARD FOUNDATION works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.