A Win-Win situation in Zambia

One year after the start of our WIN (Wealth Creation through Irrigation in North-Western province) initiative in Solwezi, Zambia, many farmers like Lucia have improved their knowledge, productivity and income. Thanks to iDE’s fruitful relationship with mining company Barrick Lumwana (a division of Barrick Gold) – they are able to sell their produce to Africa’s largest copper mine in order to feed over 3,000 workers. Read on for a snippet written by an EU team after their recent visit to the project:

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Increasing Farm Productivity

East of Solwezi, Zambia, farmer Lucia Kaseba Mwansa (left) explains how a loan obtained earlier in 2013 allowed her to buy fertilizer to improve her crop of impwa (a variety of aubergine).

With this, training on irrigation techniques, and access to a wider community of farmers and agro-dealers, she hopes to continue to improve her yield, increase her income and allow her to save for a treadle pump – which could allow her to expand further.

Lucia’s story isn’t unique: she is one of thousands of farmers in North-Western Province identified by the WIN project who are on the verge of turning their farms into sustainable and profitable enterprises.

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Selling the Produce

A decisive reason for the success of this project is the partnership with the mining company Barrick Lumwana, which funds 25% of the 1m Euro project. Barrick has become a bulk purchaser of the farmers’ produce, since they have a great demand of fruits and vegetables to feed the miners. For Barrick there is a huge advantage in that they can buy local, healthy food and avoid expensive transportation from as far away as South Africa. This has created a win-win situation for both parties.

Read IDE’s description of the project

Key facts

  • WIN is a four-year, 1m euro project which began in December 2012, with 75% funding from the EU and 25% from Barrick Lumwana.
  • The WIN is implemented by IDE and the Nutri-Aid Trust (NAT)
  • WIN works closely with Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to identify around 3,500 farmers (over 20,000 individuals, 33% women) who can most benefit from participation in the project.
  • WIN uses a variety of approaches: training and use of demonstration plots to showcase effective irrigation and planting methods; use of the ‘Farm Business Adviser’ model (for more information click here)  to link farmers with agro-dealers (pictured above) and microfinance institutions; identification of collection centres to make it easier and cheaper for farmers to get their produce to market.
  • 20 demonstration plots have been created, showcasing irrigation technologies, good field layout and horticultural practice. 33 farm business advisors and 27 community agro-dealers have started work in Year 1.

IDE believes that giveaways are harmful to local markets and cannot be sustained in the long term. Read more about the approach and similar work in Nepal and Bangladesh and Ethiopia

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To see the full report go on the EU Website:  http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/zambia/press_corner/all_news/news/2013/20131129_1_en.htm

iDE UK invited to speak at Innovations Against Poverty event

iDE UK CEO Lewis Temple spoke about pioneering iDE Farm Business Advisor (FBA) scheme at recent event in Stockholm.

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iDE UK CEO Lewis Temple spoke about pioneering iDE Farm Business Advisor (FBA) scheme at recent event in Stockholm.

On 26th November, Sida’s Innovations Against Poverty programme held their first ever Conference and Awards ceremony in the Waterfront Congress Centre in Stockholm. Innovations Against Poverty challenges the private sector to develop products, services and business models that can contribute to poverty reduction and combat climate change. The conference was aimed at bringing together like-minded entrepreneurs, incubators and business practitioners to meet and share ideas about inclusive business development. As part of their mission to help innovative private sector development, IAP have awarded iDE UK a €20,000 grant to fund an initiative bringing the Farm Business Advisor model to Mozambique.

Lewis was invited to share iDE UK’s thinking on innovative solutions to combat poverty. Drawing on the Nestlé Creating Shared Value award winning Farm Business Advisor scheme in Cambodia, Lewis was able to demonstrate what can be achieved in Mozambique. The Farm Business Advisor initiative trains local entrepreneurs to sell agricultural inputs such as fertiliser and seeds to local smallholder farmers, as well as provide support and advice in order to help farmers grow market oriented crops. This approach ensures that farmers are able to improve their agricultural productivity, thereby enabling them to generate a stable income that can dramatically improve their living standards, and reduce food insecurity. This also provides Farm Business Advisors with a sustainable livelihood and income.

In Cambodia Farm Business Advisors currently work with over 15,000 farmer clients.  In Mozambique we estimate that farmers could increase their income by £186 a year, with FBA’s increasing their income by up to £621 a year.

In his presentation Lewis focused on describing the Farm Business Advisor franchise model, whereby Farm Business Advisors act as franchisees linked to a central franchisor that provides training and business support. In this way, Farm Business Advisors are individual entrepreneurs, yet operate under the brand, training and products of the wider scheme. This model presents a viable solution to the problem of getting the right products and services the very last mile, into the hands of the poorest and most isolated farmers.

Lewis reported that “Innovations Against Poverty are unusual in that they are prepared to take risks by investing in businesses trying to reach poorest. In this way, they are leading the way in using grant funding to enabling businesses to effectively reach the bottom of the pyramid.” He added that the event “was an excellent opportunity to bring together amazing entrepreneurs working across Africa and Asia. Everyone was able to share experiences and inspire one another. I was delighted to be part of the programme and am already looking forward to next year’s event.”

We would also like to say congratulations to sanitation initiative Sanergy, who won the main prize of Social Innovator of the Year!  Sanergy has created a sustainable sanitation business solution in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya that is providing clean and hygienic toilet services to some of Africa’s poorest urban slum dwellers.

Find out more about iDE UK and our Farm Business Advisor programme.

Take a look at Lewis’ presentation from the conference.

Success Story: Muze Meskelo’s Maize

Follow the journey of Muze Meskelo, an entrepreneurial farmer from Ethiopia

iDE entrepreneurial farmer in Ethiopia

Meet Muze Meskelo, entrepreneurial maize farmer and father of six children under 12 years old. He owns three sheep, two ox, a cow and a calf and owns half a hectare of Maize fields to grow his crops. He worked hard every day tending to his crops and his farm, yet was not producing enough maize to provide a sufficient income for his family.

Before he was introduced to iDE UK, his field produced 1.2 tonnes of maize, which would have made him around 3,600 Birr (£120) per year. He was then introduced to an iDE UK EU funded project called RAPID, which aimed to work with local smallholder farmers such as Muze to help them improve their crops and sustainably increase their income. Through the iDE UK project, Muze was able to get credit through a one year loan from a partner organisation to buy seeds and fertiliser and pay someone to weed his land. From the new maize seeds and fertiliser introduced by innovative iDE UK technologies and produced by local manufacturers, Muze was expecting to increase his crop yield to 5 tonnes from the same half a hectare space. This meant he was able to increase his income to a brilliant 15,920 Birr (£524) a year to provide for him and his family. Muze is now a successful entrepreneurial farmer and will continue to make a sustainable income from his crops!

Another successful project from iDE UK!

To donate to iDE UK and help other poor farmers in Africa and Asia create sustainable poverty-free livelihoods to support themselves and their families, please support us in The Big Give Christmas Challenge. All donations made 10am Thursday 6th – Saturday 8th December will be matched by The Waterloo Foundation.

iDE UK creates business opportunities for Zambian farmers

iDE UK invests in small holder Zambian farmers to combat poverty and create win-win opportunities with local mining companies


We are very happy to announce that we have recently received approval to begin a brand new project in Zambia, which will bring iDE UK together with a local Zambian NGO called Nutri-aid Trust. The project will be based in the North-Western province, which is the poorest, most remote and least developed region of Zambia, with 61% of the population classified as ‘extremely poor’.

iDE UK will work towards developing the entrepreneurial skills of small holder farmers whilst introducing them to income generating opportunities and innovative technologies. This will include a number of micro-irrigation systems, such as the treadle pump. The project will also adopt iDE’s award winning Farm Business Advisor (FBA) approach, whereby local entrepreneurs are trained by iDE to encourage and equip farmers to grow market-oriented crops as well as advise farmers how to reduce risk, improve productivity, and increase income.

On top of this, a vital aspect of the project involves local mining companies in the area, who present a valuable retail opportunity for the local farmers and communities. These mining companies will benefit from the project as the farmers will provide food for their workers. This is not only environmentally friendly as large quantities of food are not being shipped in from other areas, but also creates large and profitable markets for the farmers to take advantage of. This win-win situation utilises the market to create business opportunities that not only helps the poor rural farmers out of poverty, but is environmentally friendly and creates a valuable opportunity for the mining companies.

Through this project we aim to help 3,500 households raise their incomes by $350, creating new markets and drawing farmers out of poverty in the long-term.

iDE UK featured in The Independent for World Food Day 2012

Supplement featuring iDE UK highlights success in ensuring food security and poverty reduction in poorest regions of the globe.

Food is a fundamental human necessity, yet feeding rising populations across the globe sustainably and equally remains a large and complex challenge. World Food Day, which falls every year on the 16th October, aims to increase public awareness on global hunger and the fight against malnutrition and poverty across the globe.

For this year’s World Food Day The Independent has produced a supplement, which includes an iDE UK success story, about how iDE’s innovative small farm technologies are helping to combat food insecurity and poverty. The iDE UK case study follows the success story of Robert and Andrew Mwanza from Zambia, who purchased a treadle pump with the help of iDE UK back in 1999 to help irrigate their crops. The brothers now maintain a well irrigated farm and grow large and varied crops. The supplement also features a number of beautiful photographs by David Graham for iDE UK, such as the one above.

iDE UK understands the importance of agriculture and technology in creating food sustainability and uprooting thousands of rural farmers across Asia and Africa out of poverty. A solid agricultural sector not only ensures adequate food and nutrition, but also provides an income and increases health, creating the first steps out of poverty.

Click here to find out more about iDE UK

Photo of the day: How Honey can combat poverty!

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iDE UK – Helping Asres out of poverty

Today we would like to share with you the story of Asres, and how iDE UK helped him combat poverty through honey production in Ethiopia.

Millions of smallholder farmers in Ethiopia struggle in an environment of limited government assistance, increased competition and insecure agricultural markets. Last year, iDE worked with over 6,000 beekeepers and pepper producers to help them improve their livelihoods. Producing honey means that beekeepers learn valuable business, marketing and negotiating skills whilst also providing an income for themselves and their families, meaning they can help themselves out of poverty.

Having joined the beekeepers cooperative Asres received training in beekeeping techniques as well as new business skills and a new box hive. Asres was then able to produce his own honey, provide an income for himself and his family, and work his way out of poverty.

This is just one example of the great work iDE UK has done across Africa and the globe in fighting poverty through sustainable business and agriculture.

To find out more, please visit our website at: http://uk.ideorg.org

RLG International and Ramsey Foundation visit iDE Zambia

iDE Zambia’s Sam Harvey updates us on playing host to two distinguished supporters of iDE’s Farm Business Advisor (FBA) program in Zambia.

Farm Business Advisors Project Poster iDE Zambia

I have recently returned from a vacation to Zambia’s premiere National Park South Luangua, the highlight of which was watching a gang (I’m not sure of the collective noun) of 20-30 meerkats chasing ‘Molly’, a tabby cat, round and round my bush tent.

Whilst nothing of late can possibly top that, I have also had a fantastic time providing an insight into the on-the-ground work of iDE Zambia and our FBA program with some of iDE’s important new partners, RLG International, a worldwide organisation of performance improvement specialists based in Vancouver and the Ramsey Foundation, a donor-advised, private fund operating from Colorado.

On Tuesday the 31st myself and iDE Zambia’s Southern Province Team Leader, Willard Chitembo drove down to Livingstone, the home of the Victoria Falls, to meet Steve Baroch and Ana Xiemes, Rudy and Alice Ramsey and their 14 year old grandson Carlos.

Steve Baroch is a prominent Rotarian who has been an iDE ambassador for the past 6 months, spreading the word about iDE in Colorado and further afield internationally. His partner, Ana, works for RLG International, and Rudy and Alice run the Rudy and Alice Ramsey Foundation.

The following three-day ‘immersion trip’ was an opportunity for them to learn about the FBA program which they are helping support. We asked Rudy to blog about their experience. It’s a great read with some excellent photos!

So how are RLG International and the Ramsey Foundation helping support iDE’s FBA programme?

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