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New Partnership Model Helps Reach Greater Numbers of Smallholder Farmers

When Walmart representatives paid a visit to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) headquarters in the spring of 2013, the two organizations already had a history of working together, most notably through a series of successful partnerships in Latin America that connected smallholder fruit and vegetable growers with global markets. But that 2013 conversation helped spur a new set of joint projects that demonstrated a unique way for USAID to work in tandem with the private sector.

The model takes advantage of the Feed the Future Monitoring System (FTFMS), a robust online database that helps the initiative remain transparent and accountable by capturing performance information of projects against key indicators. USAID staff based in Washington as well as in Feed the Future focus countries used the FTFMS to select a handful of promising food security projects that align with Walmart’s agricultural development goals and were positioned to achieve greater impact with additional resources from the private sector.

One of Walmart’s major corporate commitments is to train one million farmers and farm workers – half of them women – in sustainable agriculture and other skills that will advance global food security. Training farmers is a win-win for developing countries and for Walmart and other retailers, who source agricultural products from smallholder farmers around the world. In addition, farmers who receive training are better positioned to understand and connect with supply chains.

What resulted was a series of joint farmer training activities that build on existing Feed the Future projects. Within six months of this new phase of the partnership, over $2 million in grant funding from the Walmart Foundation was distributed to Feed the Future implementing partners in the field.

In Bangladesh, the International Fertilizer Development Center is using its grant to train women farmers how to use its deep placement fertilizer technology to increase production and consumption of vegetables. And in Rwanda, Global Communities is reaching 50,000 additional farmers (60 percent of whom are women) who are receiving training in agricultural best practices.

This partnership model is highly efficient because it does not require new USAID procurements; Walmart Foundation funding was directly given to implementers and the expanded scope of work was integrated into the main Feed the Future programs. Walmart was able to quickly move forward to promote sustainable agriculture by tapping into USAID’s strong network of implementing partners around the world, while USAID was positioned to give some of its most effective programs the opportunity to reach even greater numbers of farmers.

Other similar partnerships are under consideration following the initial success of the agreement.

Learn more about Feed the Future’s different partnership models.

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