Check out our FREE food commodity markets bulletin service - AGRIMARKETS - market analysis, prices and daily commentary @Agrimarkets

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Agrimarkets - FoodWorks Commodity Bulletin - has consistently argued that investing in agriculture and agribusiness - the "farm to fork" food supply chain - is a better option than most for a place these days to put your dollar (for that argument in full, click here).  We are putting our dollar (such as it is) where our mouth is and have embarked on an effort to build an "Agribusiness Investment Fund". 

World food security is under severe threat as the population tops 7 billion. World food prices trend upwards and governments (e.g., the G20) and international agencies (e.g. UNFAO, World Bank etc.) warn of an impending crisis. Much of the demand pressure comes from the new and growing middle-class in Asia (especially India and China). This situation presents an opportunity. As food commodity prices increase so supply is brought forwards. This means there are more folk willing to invest in agriculture, agribusiness and food processing.

Our location in Asia is opportune since gurus such as the Singapore-based Jim Rogers (click here for what he says about Myanmar) and emerging market experts like Mark Mobius have long argued that the growth area for agricultural investment is here, East of Suez (see Note 1 below).  We agree.  Of course Latin America is making great strides in agriculture, but FoodWorks' technical and geographic expertise is right here and it is here that we intend to focus, at least for the time being.

FoodWorks is currently in process of working with various clients on bankable projects in the MENA/East Africa and Asia-Pacific region. These projects will include the full agricultural-agribusiness-food value chain together with related support industries.

Project Concepts

We are on the lookout for project concepts and for experts to help us do due diligence (Note 2 below).  If readers have a well-thought out concept, then we'd be glad to consider it (see Note 3 below). As an example of the concept approach, please take a look at something we've done in Cambodia - click this link to Cambodia Corn Project.

Professional experts in agriculture and agribusiness

For experts, we need CVs (bio-data) from persons that combine their professional experience (minimum Masters degree qualified and 10 years of work in the agriculture-food value chain) with geographic experience.  We find that pure technical ability - excellent though it might be - must be grounded in cultural and linguistic understanding for it to be effective.  So you must have worked (and ideally be resident) in our geographic space.

For more information or to send your CV or project ideas and documents, please contact me, Geoffrey Quartermaine Bastin, on  All communication is in complete confidence.


Note 1: These individuals are referenced purely because for some years they have argued generally and in public for investment in agriculture and agribusiness in emerging or frontier countries. Both are highly respected investment advisers. Neither of these persons is associated in any way with FoodWorks and neither have endorsed this particular initiative nor this company. 

Note 2: This is not an offer of employment or even a recruitment drive for specific positions. We want to build our network or database of highly experienced people and organisations so we are prepared for the due diligence feasibility and implementation work when it comes.

Note 3: We'll look carefully at your concept with no obligation at all to take it further.  It will be reviewed in complete confidence. Any concept paper can be submitted as a short (10 slide) PowerPoint or a 2-3 page written paper or both. 

Monday, November 28, 2011


Working with Agland Investment Services, Inc. and The Louis Berger Group, we have successfully completed a short technical assistance mission with the USAID Inma (Ar. Growth) Agribusiness Program. Based in Baghdad this Program covers the entire country and has had great success in developing in particular the livestock and horticulture sectors.

Iraq produces about 1 million tons annually of various fruits - grapes, pomegranates, apples and oranges are the main ones.   The bulk of the production is in the north (known as Kurdistan, an autonomous province with some distinct differences from the Arab south).  The focus of this one month mission was to look into the feasibility of converting some of the apparent seasonal surpluses of fruit into juice.

Our mission modelled a small-scale process line of just 24 tons/day of fresh fruit input and produced a 100% juice drink along with a pulp-based "fruit drink".  We looked in detail at both the technical aspects of putting together a factory (raw material supply, location, buildings, machinery, packaging etc.) and the financial aspects of cash-flow and return on investment (ROI).

The bottom line seemed to be that while Iraqis drink fruit juice in copious amounts (the photo illustrates a street level "juice bar"), much of it is in the form of "fruit juice drinks" imported from neighbouring countries like Iran and Turkey.  Our spreadsheet model provided a theoretical positive ROI but this would be in a very competitive real-world market and where the fresh fruit price might in fact be too high for a stand-alone factory to be profitable.

Nevertheless, we are looking at other implementation options and we hope this may result in another mission in the New Year. What we hope to find is an Iraqi investor who is already in an existing beverage business (perhaps water bottling) who wishes to add a product line and perhaps grow his own supply of raw material.

For more information please contact

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Cambodia holds a key position in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and has the potential to be the food basket of South-east Asia.

Fed by the Mekong River and the site of the unique Ton Le Sap water body (visible in the satellite photo), the country has excellent soils and wide areas of flat, fertile lands. Access is overland to neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam and to the sea at Sihanoukville.

Cambodia grows rice, upland perennial crops such as coffee and rubber, oil palm and corn (maize). With a population of over 14 million recovery from the civil conflict of earlier years has been impressive and there is a stable government based on an Asian form of democracy and a constitutional monarchy.

Rated B+ in terms of official country risk and somewhat lower on the World Bank's Index of Doing Business than it should be, Cambodia has actually attracted large amounts of foreign direct investment.  Overall China is the largest investor but other investors from Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia have been prominent. Surprisingly this year the UK has led the investors.  FDI is welcome and with a tax rate of 20% and various tax holidays, Cambodia has set its heart on being the business destination in this part of the world.

In terms of agriculture, the Government has seen investors come and go. Political disagreements with Thailand have meant that the larger Thai agribusiness companies such as Charoen Phokphand have been wary of their investments; many of the other Asian investors have been property speculators who took Economic Land Concessions (ELCs), sat on them perhaps with minimal investment and then hoped to have turned a speculative profit as land prices have risen.  So not as much progress has been made as could have been.

The Government is sick of this circumstance. So there is every official encouragement for serious long term real investment based on large-scale farming with good management and technology.

In this case, with our partners we have developed a concept-level corn project.  Details may be downloaded at this link - CAMBODIAN CORN PROJECT

In brief, we are planning to develop a start-up ELC of 3,000 to 5,000 hectares for irrigated corn (maize) with a target three crops per year aimed at the animal feed market. The project can be scaled up to 20,000 hectares once success has been assured.  We envisage an initial capital investment of US$15 million (depending on needed infrastructure).

Corn prices are at their highest level for years (see analysis on our sister site Agrimarkets) but at average long-term prices (which we always use for analytical purposes) of half the current price, this project looks very attractive.  Demand for animal feed is growing sharply in Asia as economic growth increase middle-class incomes and as people eat more meat rather than rice.  China, Korea and other Asian countries import corn and the market is growing.

With our partners we intend to develop this project in the coming months, laying a base for similar developments throughout this region.  FoodWorks will operate as the development facilitator, putting the pieces of the investment puzzle together and ensuring that the projects, wherever they may be, are undertaken with due regard for local communities and environmental safeguards.

For more information please contact:

Friday, July 29, 2011

World Food Demand and Population

Geoff Quartermaine Bastin has posted a very personal and emotional article on our sister site, Agrimarkets.

Entitled "Somalia - Tip of the Iceberg?"  the article looks at the basic population growth figures in Sub-Saharan Africa and asks the question "Will famine become the norm?".

His argument is based on population doubling times. A population growing at, say, 2% per annum will double in 35 years.  Many of the least well off and most dysfunctional countries have growth rates that significantly exceed 2% - and they cannot feed themselves even at present.

GQB wonders whether conventional approaches to agricultural development can possibly bridge the gap between demand for food in these countries from much larger populations and supply from resources that are impacted by e.g., climate change or the neglect by governments.

Agricultural productivity (output) has grown by only 1.5% in the last  decades and this is well behind the increase in population that has come about from successful health programmes.

Geoff says we've reduced deaths at birth only to starve the people who have survived.  Aid budgets are disproportionately aimed at high profile and easy to implement health programs; USAID's budget for health was US$6 billion in FY 2010, agriculture received only $1 billion.

No one is against improved health and we at FoodWorks see that as an essential element (along with education) in improving agricultural productivity.  But agriculture itself and its supporting infrastructure cannot be neglected - but it has been.

Geoff doubts that agriculture can catch up given the laggardly nature of aid agencies that seem baffled by the industry. But he does see a solution in the private sector.  High crop prices and good margins mean that increasingly the private sector is taking on the burden of  development. Private agribusiness has the resources to invest in R&D and capacity to transfer the technology to where profits can be made.

The question is, how equitable will be these transfers and will they come in time to prevent more humanitarian disasters like Somalia?

Follow our market  analysis and comments daily on Twitter @Agrimarkets

Friday, May 27, 2011


FoodWorks is adding an important service to its regular consulting work. FREE!

There can be no doubt that the world is heading for a food crisis in the coming summer. Rising food prices drive more people into poverty and put brakes on the world's recovery from recession. Poor, hungry people lead to civil instability and a slower recovery means less jobs.

We need to act now!

Some of the major factors that have been pushing food price indices to their highest levels include:

Demand side

* Rising population – the world is adding 80 million people every year. Moreover, the majority of these people are in developing countries which have a limited agricultural resource base. As an aside, health programs, laudable as they are, impact more rapidly than food supply initiatives. So in countries where the population growth rate is highest, the Malthusian boundary is closer than we think.

* Rising incomes – the fastest income growth rates are also in those countries with large populations and above-average growth. Whereas the aim in the high income countries is to cut back on food consumption (we worry about obesity), a large proportion of the world’s population is moving towards increased consumption of eggs, meat and milk. All these commodities are poor converters of food adding pressure to the demand for staple foods.

* Bio-fuel – We are less concerned about bio-fuels. While the USA grew about 420 million tons of grain in 2009 and put 28 percent of that into bio-fuel, it is surely the case that without the ethanol program this amount of grain would not have been grown. It is disingenuous to take the bi-fuel grain and say “it could have fed millions of people”. Not so, without the demand for ethanol, at least a proportion wouldn’t have been grown. That said, this area of consumption represents a significant part of the demand for natural resources and has its own impact on the environment.

Supply side

* Water deficits – water is the elephant in the room. Aquifers are being depleted everywhere. Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, will soon have no water supply whatsoever. Melting glaciers in the Himalayas will first flood Pakistan (as they did last year) and then the absence of water will starve the largest irrigation system in the world.

* Climate change – however it is measured, and despite the skeptics, there seems enough evidence that the pattern of the world’s climate is changing with large dustbowls developing in Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Soil erosion and the damage to the eco-system from e.g., oil palm being grown in Indonesia also give huge cause for concern.

* Loss of land to non-farm use – as the human population grows people migrate to cities in search of jobs that are almost always more remunerative than agriculture. Mega-cities are consuming land for housing and industrial use at an enormous rate.

* Technical limits to productivity (yields) – the “Green Revolution” of the 1960s and ‘70s was based on large increases in land productivity. But the growth in yields cannot be exponential. Already many developed countries have reached the limits of what the land will yield. In the developing world yield increases, obtained at considerable cost, are frittered away because of lack of infrastructure, e.g., for storage and drying. Perhaps 40 percent of the production of food in these countries is simply wasted before it ever reaches the table.

All this has happened in the context of the public sector – national governments, multi-lateral aid agencies and the other donors – losing heart for agricultural development. Lack of investment in agriculture, its infrastructure and its skills has eroded the capability of many countries to deal with the crisis that is now on us.

With all the above in mind, FoodWorks has recognized that there are nevertheless opportunities. If governments will not or cannot act, then they should stand aside and let the private sector and the profit motive take over.

It's an urgent priority to mobilize capital and expertise and get it to work!

In this case, we at FW are developing a commodities market analysis service that not only looks at price and market trends in terms of the supply-demand balances of the major food and beverage crops, but points to related investment opportunities.

We will start with the basics of the food business, the staple crops, and focus on wheat, corn (maize) and rice. We will then add oilseeds and oils. As we progress we will include fertilizers and sugar and coffee and dairy.

We’ll do it (at least initially) free as a service to our clients and to facilitate the investment and development projects that are our bread and butter. We’ll bring to this not mere quantitative analysis, but the lengthy experience needed to see what changes in the numbers really mean on the ground with the farmers and those buying in the market.

And if you'd like to us to answer specific questions - free - by all means just email

Background note: FoodWorks staffers have had many years of experience of both public and private sector project work in every sector of agriculture and agribusiness. We are not academics, but people who have real world experience of how the markets work.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tools of the Trade

I'm spurred to write this post by a recent chat I had about value chain analysis. The folk I spoke with seemed to think that a deep, formal knowledge of the subject was a prerequisite for successfully developing agriculture.

I disagreed.

Look: as a trained economist (Oxford University, Institute of Agricultural Economics which became the Oxford Department of International Development) I understand and apply ALL the formal tools from time to time during my work. These include cost-benefit analysis, financial and statistical analysis (internal rates of return,net present values, bell curves), terms of trade analysis, DRC analysis, welfare analysis etc. and so on. If you qualify as an economist you usually end up with a box of tools.

So why do people want to know which specific tools you have in your box? It's like asking your car mechanic if he understands how to use a torque wrench, or a doctor if he's familiar with a CAT scan.

There may be two answers: one is that there are so many charlatans out there, so now people worry that they'll find they've paid money and don't get results. That's fair enough. One thing you can do with FoodWorks is ask for references and you'll get them from the top people in this industry.

The other thing is that non-specialists (usually the folk that have the money - the donors and the like, the desk officers) don't understand their business. After all, they are often bureaucrats or investors. So they fall for the jargon.

"Integrated value chain analysis" (IVCA) is a real case in point. Years and years ago we used to measure marketing costs and margins. Absolutely standard, no one thought it was anything special. You just did the measurements as part of your effort to understand the market supply chain. Then IVCA came along and lo and behold, one could sell a service as a Value Chain Analyst.

What's the difference? The first kind of analysis really only captured the "horizontal" movement along the chain whereas VCA looks at the entire business system (horizontal and vertical) and tries to capture its entire value with a view to looking at its competitiveness. The "integrated" bit just makes it sound a bit more complicated in order to raise the consulting dollars.

Here's a formal definition: "The value chain is a model that describes a series of value-adding activities connecting a company’s supply side (raw materials, inbound logistics, and production processes) with its demand side (outbound logistics, marketing, and sales). By analyzing the stages of a value chain, organization’s are able to redesign their internal and external processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness." (Rayport and Sviokla 1996 - see below).

Like so many of the ideas in this area it derives from Michael Porter's work. But economists remember that Porter pretty much took the old ideas of comparative advantage in trade - basic undergraduate economics - and added a sexy overlay. The entire area of competitiveness theory opened up a whole new area of strategic planning and even more of the necessary bucks.

Now here's the thing: IVCA is indeed useful. But it's NOT magic; yes, it does require careful and systematic quantitative measurement, but that's what economist do every day of the week. And IVCA is NOT going to answer the real questions of agricultural development all on its own.

That requires EXPERIENCE and it's experience combined with knowing how to use all the formal tools in the toolbox that we at FoodWorks bring to the table. The experience to know that when all the quantitative modelling in the world tells you to make that investment, somewhere there's just that one little thing that will screw the deal, whether it's for the smallholder being stiffed by the middle-man (by the way another shibboleth of the academic world) or whether your $100 million feed mill is actually going to find the raw material at the right price. It takes "nous" as well as those tools.... just like it takes a real mechanic to fix your car.

Photo: GQB checking out a real world value chain at Karachi Fish Harbour, Pakistan.

PS. If you want to follow the literature on IVCA, here are some references (so you know we have them in our tool box):

'The Virtual Value Chain', John Sviolka and Jeremy Rayport
'A Handbook for Value Chain Research', Raphael Kaplinsky and Mike Morris, IDRC

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


We have just completed an assessment of agriculture in the Equatorial Region of the world's newest country (on 9th July South Sudan becomes the world's 193rd country). The work involved extensive field trips West of Juba to Yambio (by plane and road) and around Yei in Central Equatoria State and Torit in the East. We also took a look at the Uganda border point at Nimule that feeds almost all foodstuffs up the main road to Juba.

That the most important feature of the sector; Juba is expanding wildly with the excitement of independence from the Muslim North and an influx of Sudanese returnees and Kenyan and Ugandan job-seekers. But almost all the food is imported despite the enormous potential of the so-called "Greenbelt" that runs along the border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. While Eastern Equatoria is rather dry, once one moves West past Yei the land is green all year round. This is classic equatorial rainforest with up to 2,000 mm of rain annually and reasonably good soils; potentially this region can be the bread and fruit basket of Africa.

However the emphasis should be on the word "potential" because right now there is almost no infrastructure to support commercial smallholdings. The main roads are reasonable, and one can reach Juba from Yambio (right in the heartland of the greenbelt and a considerable town) in 9 hours, but there are no post harvest facilities (cooling, drying, storage) etc. and the largest single donor-funded project FARM SUDAN (USAID, $55 million) aimed at tackling this lack has been stymied by confused policies and administrative difficulties.

So through much of the region one finds returnee homesteaders struggling with very limited resources to re-establish their small plots of maize, sorghum and cassava. These people receive seeds and tools from the many NGOs operating emergency relief but the "truck and chuck" approach doesn't really engender sustainable development and there has to be a paradigm change before the potential of the Greenbelt is realised. In the meantime food security is an important issue with the World Food Programme (WFP) estimating a possible 3 million people are at risk.

The other issue is foreign investment. There is huge interest in the area - for example we came across Dole looking at pineapple in Yambio. Large-scale investment in agriculture will have to be handled very carefully with regard both for the returnees who own the land under traditional rights (so it's not simply a case of the new Government giving concessions away) and the hugely sensitive rainforest environment. Climate change is a real issue here and it is inexplicable that USAID has discounted this in their approach to development in South Sudan (an assertion made on the basis of a direct quote from responsible persons in the AID Mission in Juba).

Another concern is the influence of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in some of the most productive land between Yei and Yambio. We saw burned-out villages and social infratsucture (clinics, schools). We also saw elements of the Ugandan Defence Force deep inside Sudanese territory, so the question of civil instability is raised.

Despite these concerns, one can be optimistic about the future. Once South Sudan joins the East African Community (EAC) as indeed it will shortly after 9th July, we will see much more assistance and investment from neighbouring countries. Food supply to the cities and support for the development of a viable smallholder sub-sector will remain the areas for work going forwards.

For a more personal perspective on Southern Sudan, please check out Quartermaine's World


Smallholder near Torit, Eastern Equatoria State
Aerial view of gardens over the Greenbelt
Progressive farmer at Yambio, Western Equatoria State

Friday, January 28, 2011


The news media are full of new concerns about a world food crisis in 2011. FoodWorks and its affiliated companies in Project Partners have been working for decades in the fields of rural development and livelihoods in agriculture, not to mention the more commercial aspects of agribusiness, food processing and related technologies. We believe we have something significant both to contribute to the current discussion and to offer as experts in the entire "farm to fork" value chain.

First, let's review the current concern that is building in institutions like the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which has the primary task of providing early warnings about food shortages. Then we'll go on to say something about the fundamentals of this problem that is not easily going to disappear.

Jacques Diouf, the Director-General of FAO, has underlined with some simple facts the need for a new "Green Revolution" to provide food for hungry nations. There are a billion people on Planet Earth who go hungry right now. World food production will need to increase by 70 percent to feed a population of over nine billion people in 2050. With limited land, farmers will have to get greater yields out of the land already under cultivation. In a strikingly direct statement entitled "Price volatility and food shortages to remain" Mr Diouf says that the FAO Index of Food Prices rose again sharply at the end of 2010, heralding the possibility of another major food crisis. Coming from FAO, but with support from statements made by President Sarkozy of France recently about commodities prices and food riots and the US Government's "Feed the Future Initiative", this is not scaremongering.

FAO rightly identifies the underlying structural causes of the emerging crisis. As development professionals, we at FoodWorks absolutely support this analysis.

1. Falling investment in agriculture: the share of agriculture in official development assistance (ODA) dropped from 19% in 1980 to 3% in 2006, and now stands at around 5% - it should amount to $44 billion per year. ; the budgetary expenditure of low-income food-deficit countries on agriculture represents about 5%, when this should be at least 10%; finally, domestic and foreign private investments of around $140 billion per year should amount to $200 billion.

2. Unfair terms of trade for commodities: The OECD countries protect their agriculture with a total support estimate of $365 billion per year while encouraging through policy changes free, unsubsidised agriculture in the developing world. Non-tariff barriers also restrict trade.

3. Non-food industry speculation in agricultural commodities: there is considerable evidence that hedge funds and other, non industrial users of agricultural commodities take advantage of price upswings that drive the actual commodities to price levels that make their use as raw materials too costly. Not only do price surges take food directly from the mouths of the very poor, but they damage enterprise throughout the value chain, thus entrenching food shortages.

The blunt fact is that human population growth is leading to a Malthusian crisis in developing countries where the usual solution, technical change, cannot easily increase supply.

Tanzania is a good example: the population is growing at nearly 3% which means it will double from 40 million to 80 million in less than 30 years. But the agricultural base - good soil and available water - is limited. Climate change is compounding the problem with extended droughts. The necessary infrastructure, especially irrigation and farm-to-market roads, is lacking.

The awful irony is that this population increase is a result of rapid success in tackling basic health. Health projects (e.g. malaria net distribution) impact rapidly, whereas investments in agricultural productivity take many seasons to show their results. A recent assessment of agriculture in Tanzania conducted by FoodWorks shows that every aspect of the sector and the value chain needs to be tackled. But donors are increasingly reluctant to do so because of the difficulty of producing the easy to understand "success stories" so beloved of desk bound bureaucrats.

We believe that part of the answer will come from the private sector. Already large sovereign wealth funds and other commercial investors e.g. in the Gulf Arab States (the GCC) have begun to invest in agriculture to secure their own food supplies. FoodWorks has a number of plans afoot to help with this process. Equally, the large multi-national agribusiness companies need to be encouraged to make their products and R&D available to partners in the emerging but at-risk economies. USAID already has programs like its Global Development Alliance (GDA) in place and these kind of prgrams, combined with so-called "corporate social responsibility" (CSR) programs can lead to worthwhile public-private partnerships (PPP).

But there will not be any simple answer - and that's what confuses the bureaucrats. They don't understand that agriculture and agribusiness is possibly the most complicated human activity there is. It climate and biology-driven and includes elements of science, technology but also every angle of business, finance and marketing that can be imagined. Grow a crop, increase yields by all means, but if you can't ensure its quality and traceability (origin), store it, move it, package it and ensure that it's safe to eat and do that profitably, then the basic agronomy fails.

FoodWorks and its partners have over 40 years of experience in every aspect of this astonishingly complex activity. We want to be part of the solution. And a solution is urgently needed.

For more information click the link to: Project Partners

Or contact Geoff Quartermaine Bastin directly by email at

Chart: UN FAO

Monday, January 17, 2011


Geoff Q-B has been working in East Africa, in Tanzania and Kenya looking at development possibilities funded by USAID. Part of this work has been to prepare a full Agricultural Assessment of Tanzania that covers every sub-sector and provides guidance for where development funds are likely to go.

Geoff also undertook a trip by road from Nairobi across the international border at Namanga and then past Mounts Meera and Kilimanjaro to Arusha which is the centre of agribusiness in the North of Tanzania. Here's an excerpt from his report:

"The outward trip from Nairobi took 6 hours leaving at 12 noon in a rented Toyota Hilux. The road is adequate. Probably 60 percent completed on both sides of the border, where the Chinese contractors have done their work there is a reasonable two-lane road. Not being a roads engineer I hesitate to pass judgement, but I suspect the overall standard of work is not high; in some place the hard shoulder had already subsided and for much of the new road the drainage seemed inadequate. In the places where the work is on-going, we drove on compacted dirt roads which have not been well maintained either in Tanzania or Kenya (indeed there is no discernible difference between the road – which is the main North-South Highway- in either country). A 4X4 is necessary and I would recommend a slightly more comfortable vehicle than a Hilux.

The border crossing point at Namanga took 2 hours to negotiate on the outward journey. This was due to exit paperwork for the car being processed. Visas were very easy and I was not charged either by Tanzania or Kenya for the entry stamps. The return crossing took less than one hour (because the vehicle was from Kenya)."

Once at Arusha, Geoff met up with Dominick Ringo , Director, Research, Community and Organisational Development Associates (RECODA).

Dominick and Geoff visited one of the smallhoders that RECODA is supporting with funds from the Danish Rockwool Foundation. This farmer (see photo) is one of a local group of 35 farmers that have adopted a model farm approach developed by RECODA. The approximate project fund is $450,000 and the total number of beneficiaries in the project is 400 ($1,125 per farm family). After stakeholder consultations including the district authorities, the project provides a ‘shopping list” of different crops and crop mixes for choice by the farmer. The project provides technical advice, parent livestock (goats and chickens) and seedling (mainly banana). No other subsidies are provided, however the project works closely with the beneficiary on implementation and disseminates the lessons learned throughout the community.

Here's what Geoff reported:

"I was very impressed by the approach (which RECODA is in process of evaluating formally and providing written information about). Of course the farm I was taken to see could have been unique, but I did not form this impression, in any event Dominick Ringo said he could provide all the basic data I needed if I wished to check. The farmer (and his wife) was clearly delighted with the project that had helped them develop a one hectare commercial banana plantation. In addition they grew cassava and had chickens and goats."

Clearly some development projects do work and not necessarily with the huge amounts of money that the major donors seem to require. Well done RECODA!

Note: this assignment was undertaken on behalf of International Relief & Development (IRD)