Mozambique—Feed the Future Agricultural Innovations (FTF Inova)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2017-2022

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Mozambique

Solutions: Economic Growth

Mozambique has one of the best records of sustained economic growth in Africa, averaging a 7 percent increase in GDP per year for the last decade. However, poverty and malnutrition rates remain high while food availability is limited by low yields and inadequate access to markets. To address these issues, the government of Mozambique has launched an ambitious plan to grow its agricultural sector in an inclusive manner to reduce poverty and alleviate hunger throughout the country.

In support of this goal, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Feed the Future Agricultural Innovations (FTF Inova) project to partner with farmers, businesses, and policymakers to explore ways to improve production and increase sales of key cash crops vital to Mozambique’s economy. In addition to providing technical assistance and training, FTF Inova leveraged project funds to strategically buy down risk and co-finance with farmers and agribusiness to promote investments in equipment upgrades, climate-smart agriculture, and women’s empowerment.

In developing value chains, FTF Inova took a portfolio approach adapted from the finance industry, relying on diversified assets, active monitoring of performance, and the flexibility to rebalance investments based on changing market dynamics. Also central to FTF Inova’s work was the co-creation of pilot interventions, which involved partnering with local private-sector firms to develop innovative and inclusive agribusiness models and demonstrating their viability to potential stakeholders. By encouraging private sector partners to invest in innovations across three portfolios (input distribution, supply chain, and support services), the project has left a clear pathway for local actors to address inefficiencies in Mozambique’s agriculture sector. 

Since 2017, FTF Inova managed to reach more than 100,000 individuals (mostly smallholder farmers), increasing their voice, choice, and control of accessible inputs and improved productivity; engaged more than 100 local businesses to improve access to formal market buyers/sellers for/to smallholder farmers; and leveraged $1.8 million from the private sector, enabling partners to generate $56 million in sales.

Sample Activities

  • Conduct comprehensive, gender-responsive value chain analyses for key crops, such as sesame, soybeans, and cowpeas, to better understand market inefficiencies and address root causes of underperformance.
  • Promote the adoption of improved seed varieties and fertilizers to increase crop yields through the use of demonstration plots, agricultural extension training, and radio and text messaging campaigns.
  • Collaborate with financial institutions and village savings and loan associations to provide credit lines targeted at enabling smallholder farmers to invest in improved seeds, fertilizer, and other agricultural inputs.

Select Results

  • Partners and beneficiaries generated $56 million in sales.
  • Established 28 new or improved relationships among private firms. For example, community radio stations established new commercial relationships with private firms such as Bayer and Syngenta to replicate radio programs that were piloted with Phoenix seeds in collaboration with the project.
  • Enabled 16,867 hectares of land to be under improved technologies and management practices.
  • Assisted—through our partners—more than 100,000 people with improved management practices and technologies on their farms.
  • Assisted the startup Appload with a market study on introducing an ICT-based logistics management platform to Mozambique. Appload has been selected as one of 20 innovative start-ups to join the two-month Norrken Accelerator Program in Switzerland.
  • Published a 2019 “Stocktaking Report” with case studies on the market systems approach.
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