2017 SFOAP Supervision mission in Eastern Africa

The fourth IFAD supervision mission of the SFOAP main phase in Eastern Africa took place from 4th to 15th July 2017.

The mission particularly focused on assessing the progress of SFOAP activities and achievements in view of the closing of the programme in December 2017, and exploring opportunities for collaboration with IFAD and donors’ country programmes and initiatives.

The team was composed of the SFOAP Analyst and Financial Management Consultant, and was accompanied by representatives from the Eastern African Farmers’ Federation (EAFF).

The mission spent 5 days in Kenya, where consultations were held with EAFF, and 3 days in Uganda, where working sessions were held with the Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) and the Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE). In addition, the mission spent 3 days in Burundi, where the team visited SFOAP initiatives being implemented by the Confédération des Associations des Producteurs Agricoles pour le Développement (CAPAD).

Consultations with the European Union (EU) delegations in Uganda and Burundi, as well as with the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency (SDC) offices in Burundi and Kenya, and with the IFAD Country Offices in the three countries were also organised to foster a concrete partnership with Farmers’ Organisations (FOs) at country level. 

Overall, the mission highlighted that the implementation of SFOAP activities in the region is satisfactory and congratulated EAFF for the solid approach adopted for the implementation of the programme and the efforts made in 2017 to improve the long-term sustainability of activities. The activities proved to be relevant, are responding to the needs of the national FOs, and had a positive impact on farmers and their organisations. The challenge now is to ensure that the national FOs continue with their efforts in marketing and commercialisation.

In terms of the progress of activities under the different components, Component 3 – Provision of Economic Services, is the most prominent. In order to generate a critical mass of experiences at the national level and facilitate exchanges and knowledge management, the component is focusing on three target value chains (VC): cassava, Irish potatoes and livestock (dairy). 

At the regional level EAFF supported their members through the organisation of several backstopping and implementation support missions, e.g. in Djibouti and Uganda, following a capacity assessment of national FOs. Knowledge Management (KM) workshops were also organised in Kenya, Tanzania and Djibouti respectively around the three commodities identified for SFOAP support. The workshops included presentations on the SFOAP activities and discussions on their impact and sustainability.

At the national level, key results were achieved through the implementation of SFOAP activities under this component.

For example, in Tanzania, four B2B meetings were organised, resulting in the signature of new agreements, including a purchase agreement for high quality feed for livestock. Similarly, in Democratic Republic of Congo, the Syndicat de Défense des Intérêts Paysans (SYDIP) organised three B2B meetings resulting in three new sales contracts signed between cooperatives and potato buyers for the purchase of 5 tons of potatoes per month. The trainings organised by UCA on business management, marketing/market linkages and business negotiations (involving leaders from the five participating Area Cooperative Enterprises (ACEs) and private sector actors) led to the signature of a contract between the ACEs and M/S Alwak Trade Links and other agro-processing companies for the supply of cassava.

Furthermore, following the introduction of new cassava varieties, the members of the UCA ACEs saw their productivity increase on average by 80%, going from an average of 6,800 KG per acre in 2015, to about 12,300 KG per acre in 2017. This increase productivity translated into greater volumes sold, with increases ranging from 171% for the Nebbi ACE (140 tons in 2015 to 380 tons in 20167) to 300% in the Panyimur-Dei ACE (90 to 360 tons). The ACEs were also able to sell cuttings of the new cassava varieties to other farmers and development partners, earning an additional income ranging from UGX 46 million (USD 12,935) to UGX 50.3 million (USD 14,159).

As a result of the implementation of SFOAP activities under component 3, in Burundi CAPAD members mobilised cumulative more than USD 240 000, from UNDP, commercial banks and savings cooperatives, most of which were used for establishing cassava processing plants. CAPAD has also established a cooperative company called SOCOPA that collects the cassava, processes it in the aforementioned plants, and markets the cassava flour under the MARAME brand. SOCOPA also sells maize flour and 2 types of rice under the same brand.

Under Component 2 – Policy Engagement, members of the EAFF Secretariat were supported to take part to key policy meetings such a Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) meeting held in Tanzania in June 2017 to update the Secretariat of the East African Community (EAC)on the progress of the EAC Cooperative Bill and sign the EAC CAADP Compact. Also, three meetings took place in Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda to enable  EAFF and national FO representatives to meet Agriculture and EAC Ministers in order to discuss policy issues and have the Cooperative bill signed in November 2017, during the EAC Heads of State Summit.

Also, CAPAD undertook a comparative analysis of Cooperative Laws in Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, following the development of a new Cooperative law in Burundi which was not deemed acceptable by the national FO. The study was completed in March 2017, and was validated during a workshop which saw 60 participants from local and national FOs, civil society, government and other stakeholders. The workshop also provided an opportunity for CAPAD to collect suggestions from these stakeholders and ultimately propose amendments to the new law. The results were positive, as the government finally included the suggestions in the law that was finally passed on the 26th June 2017. This is a major milestone for CAPAD members who had started processing cassava but were not legally allowed to commercialise their product.

Component 1 – Institutional and organisational strengthening, supported EAFF to cover part of its staff costs and to organise a staff retreat and training in May 2017. The training was organized around in thematic areas, geared towards strengthening team spirit, trust and collaboration among staff. All EAFF staff attended the training and EAFF has subsequently introduced a weekly staff meeting to improve communication and collaboration between the different units.

One of the main achievements noted at national level is the increase in membership. For example, the UCA ACEs involved in SFOAP saw their membership increase by 39% (1,266 additional members) between 2015 and 2017, while the UNFFE District Farmers’ Associations (DFA) saw a similar increase of 34% (6,334 additional members) between 2015 and 2016.

In Uganda and Burundi, the partnership between FOs and IFAD is strong. For example, UCA has been working with the IFAD country programme on the Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP). Furthermore, as per the partnership action plan developed during the East and Southern Africa regional Farmers’ Forum in May 2017, UCA signed an agreement to be implementing partner in the palm oil project VODP2. FOs and IFAD agreed to hold a meeting before the end of the year in order to discuss what could be the most suitable organisational model for more business oriented activities.  

The EU delegation representative further urged the FOs in Uganda to participate in the tender for a new rural development project and agreed to hold another meeting with FO representatives to explore further potential synergies. Similarly, CAPAD was invited to take part in a call for proposal to be published shortly, to complement the existing partnership between CAPAD and the EU in Burundi.

Finally, the meeting with SDC in Burundi highlighted some potential partnership opportunities, especially in terms of supporting the structuring of cooperatives at grassroots level.

Please consult the full report from the mission by downloading the document below.


Photo credit: Antonella Cianciotta

from 04/07/2017 to 15/07/2017
Thematic Areas: Access to Services, Capacity Building, Knowledge Management, Markets and Value chains, Monitoring and Evaluation, Policy Dialogue
Region: East Africa