Highlights from the Field
At the Mutema irrigation scheme in Chipinge, Zimbabwe, Fat Chashata is one of 170 banana farmers receiving technical assistance from Fintrac's Zim-AIED project. Under this scheme, the farmers access credit and inputs, receive technical support, and are linked to a commercial buyer. So far they have received 145,000 tissue-cultured plantlets and installed micro-jet irrigation systems on 30 hectares of land. Harvests are expected to exceed 40 tons per hectare, resulting in dramatic income increases for these smallholder farmers.
Under our NFRP program, Fintrac has worked with more than 7,600 Nepali smallholder farmers to introduce high-value crops such as cauliflower. By diversifying into new crop production and applying good agricultural practices, farmers participating in the commercial agriculture component have increased their net sales per hectare by nearly eight times, more than tripling household incomes.
Fintrac is introducing nutrition and health practices that combat childhood malnutrition in Honduras. Our ACCESO project teaches mothers improved food preparation techniques, diet diversification strategies, and better sanitation and hygiene practices. These women are using vegetables from their own family plots to prepare fortified tortillas for their children. Over the last six months, the number of children weighing in the bottom third percentile has steadily declined in project-supported communities.
John Mkeni learned the importance of recordkeeping after attending trainings on business and finance skills by TAPP. The Tanzanian farmer is now better able to monitor and evaluate his costs, production details, and sales helping him farm more efficiently. In addition, TAPP taught Mkeni good agricultural practices, such as integrated pest management, raised beds, and drip irrigation, which doubled his harvest of high quality sweet peppers.
In Cambodia, our HARVEST project is expanding the production of rice, horticulture, fish, and non-timber forest products. In Pursat province, these women are receiving training in good agricultural practices such as trellising, proper plant spacing, and plastic row covers. To date, the project has worked with more than 30,000 farmers providing agricultural productivity and food security training. These farmers have reported an average increase in sales of 160 percent.
Fintrac links smallholder farmers with major buyers and processors. Under KHCP - our project in Kenya - Fintrac partnered with Mace Foods, a commercial buyer, to boost smallholder productivity of chilis and create new employment opportunities in drying and processing. With the average age of employees ranging from 20 to 25, Mace Foods illustrates how it is engaging women and youth in income-generating activities throughout the horticultural value chain.
Our CIAFS team recently completed the first Ethiopian Agricultural Best Practices tour. More than 120 people participated in the five-day trip, meeting with agricultural producers like this small-scale farmer to discuss best practices in watershed management, soil rehabilitation, seed multiplication, and improved seed varieties. Local project partners have already committed to continuing this tour on an annual basis.
Fintrac's BEST project assesses the potential impact of US government international food assistance programs on local markets by consulting with stakeholders - from government officials to farmers - and uses this evidence-based research to generate recommendations that will ensure food security programs support local markets to reach critical food security goals. Here, a local trader carries a bag of goods at a market recently visited by the BEST team in Dhaka, Bangladesh.