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Going the Distance to Connect Mozambique’s Farmers

By Feed the Future

This Article in Brief

  • Tropical Cyclone Idai destroyed much of Mozambique in March 2019, including farms.
  • Since then, a public-private partnership has helped rural communities get the resources they need to help their crops thrive.
  • Without partnerships like this, farmers would have no access to improved inputs and technologies, like seeds and fertilizer, thereby limiting their ability to produce strong harvests.

The arrival of Feliciano’s truck is a welcome sight for the farmers and shop owners located along his nearly 200-mile-route between Nampula and Malema in northeastern Mozambique.

At each of his stops, Feliciano delivers vital supplies of seeds, fertilizer, and spraying equipment, as well as information about new agricultural products. For these remote farmers and shop owners who have become accustomed to limited choices at high costs, his deliveries offer a real chance to sustainably increase their productivity and incomes. His deliveries are no small feat.

In March 2019, Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique. The cyclone destroyed almost everything in its path. Today, as rural communities set their sights on long-term recovery and resilience, partners like Feliciano are vital.

Feliciano’s delivery route is part of a burgeoning transformation in the country to reach rural customers located beyond the easy reach of large cities and towns. These new connections also work in reverse by effectively connecting remote customers back to agricultural commodity buyers in major cities.

Feliciano works for Casa do Agricultor (“Farmers Home”), a Mozambique-based wholesaler of agricultural products and equipment. The Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program gave a grant to Casa do Agricultor’s parent company, TECAP, to expand its network of farmer supply stores into more rural communities in Mozambique.

Fintrac Inc. Mozambique

Photo by Fintrac

Casa do Agricultor teamed up with Adicional, another Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation partner, for specialized logistics and distribution support to better reach remote farmers with its products, such as seeds, fertilizers and tools. These products give farmers more options for boosting their harvests.

Bringing More Options to Remote Farmers

Connections like these are critical for Mozambican smallholders who form the backbone of the country’s agriculture sector. Until now, poor logistics and distribution have meant that farmers are caught in a vicious cycle: with little to no access to improved agricultural inputs and technologies, they cannot produce sufficient yields to generate additional income for purchasing the few inputs available locally.

Octavio Manuel used to spend two hours traveling to Nampula, the closest city, to purchase quality, affordable supplies for his land, where he grows cabbages, tomatoes, watermelons and corn. Now, he only needs to ride his motorbike a short distance to pick up everything he needs from a nearby Casa do Agricultor shop.

Connecting Buyers to Rural Communities

The companies that buy the products farmers like Octavio grow, such as supermarkets, hotels and restaurants and food processing companies, are also adversely affected by weak logistics and distribution systems. Since it is difficult for them to source crops locally, they look outside Mozambique. Local farmers miss out on the opportunity to meet this demand.

Adicional is expanding and strengthening its presence along these last-mile routes through a network of logistics hubs. The first of these hubs opened in October 2019 in Cabo Delgado, the northernmost province in the country. It will provide comprehensive services, from pick-up and warehouse storage to inventory management and delivery. Additional new hubs are slated to open this year in Niassa and Zambézia Provinces. Along with four existing ones based outside the capital city of Maputo, these hubs will establish fixed last-mile routes to attract clients who wish to distribute their products to distant locations in rural parts of the country, or to source agricultural commodities from those areas to use for processing elsewhere.

In just over a year, Adicional aims to transport 2,000 metric tons of agricultural commodities produced by smallholder farmers and increase the volume of agricultural inputs it distributes by 120 percent, which will potentially benefit 60,000 farmers. From smallholder farmers to agricultural commodity buyers, everyone reaps the rewards of a thriving, more connected agriculture sector.

Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, implemented by Fintrac Inc., builds partnerships with agribusinesses to help them sell new products and services to smallholder farmers. Funded by Feed the Future, its goal is to change the landscape for supporting agriculture in emerging market countries by empowering the private sector to raise incomes and reduce hunger.

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