The EADN project improved access to modern production technologies and yield-enhancing agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, improved seeds and crop protection products (CPPs) for smallholder farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The primary focus of the project was to strengthen the capacity of agro-input dealers and expand dealer networks to better serve farmers, particularly in rural areas. The three-year project (2008-2011) was funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Agro-dealers play a key role in linking smallholder farmers to input and output markets. EADN worked to increase the knowledge of small-scale, entrepreneurial agro-dealers throughout the project area so that they could provide improved technical advisory services to farmers. The project helped agro-dealers develop and implement strategic marketing campaigns and participate in cost-effective decision-making processes that led to reduced transaction costs.
EADN was a market-oriented initiative emphasizing private sector development and investment in all segments of the agro-input value chain. Expanding the number of agro-dealers and farmers served should generate volume price discounts on agro-inputs. Prices can be reduced through procurement efficiencies, improved product mix selections, timely physical distribution and improvements in operating efficiency. To achieve these goals, EADN implemented targeted training programs and product demonstrations and developed and distributed leaflets and wall posters on the safe use and handling of agro-inputs.
EADN’s Key Project Areas
- Strategic assessment monitoring – market situation reports, opportunity analysis, potential for collaborative activities among partners, dealer network mapping and project impact analysis for more remote farmer locations.
- Human capacity building – development of training materials and programs, training of trainers and field agent personnel and association-building activities.
- Technology introduction – portable soil testing kits, bulk blending of fertilizers and improved seed, fertilizers and CPPs.
- Market transparency and business linkage development – regional training programs and study tours and facilitation of linkages at multiple levels of the value chain.
EADN Progress (January-June 2011)
- During this period, the focus areas for project implementation were 20 districts in Kenya already supported by the IFAD programs, Small Horticultural Marketing Program (SHoMaP) and Central Kenya Dry Areas Program (CKDAP). In Uganda, 13 districts were supported. In Tanzania, the EADN project was implemented in 10 districts.
- Two agro-dealer trainings were held in Kenya. One event was held in support of Equator Kenya, a company contracting farmers in the production of chilies and paprika. The company sought training for agro-dealers in the districts that they contract farmers in order to improve dealer service delivery to the farmers. A total of 46 agro-dealers were trained, 11 of whom were female.
- A total of 44 demonstration plots (30 in Kenya, nine in Tanzania and five in Uganda) were established in 18 of the program districts as a means of transferring technology to farmers.
- In Kenya, one of the demonstrations was a Urea Deep Placement (UDP) trial in the Mwea Irrigation and Agriculture Development (MIAD) Center, in collaboration with the National Irrigation Board (NIB) of Kenya and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).
- Ten field days were held in the first half of 2011 in 10 different districts. Seven were held in Kenya and three in Tanzania. Through the field days, 2,619 farmers were trained on a variety of modern agricultural technologies (1,104 in Kenya and 1,515 in Tanzania).
- A group of six Rwandan agro-dealers visited Kenya and were taken to various EADN activity areas. Visitors toured EADN-facilitated demonstration sites, an EADN-trained agro-dealer and a fertilizer blending facility among other areas of interest.
Past Highlights (July-December 2010)
- A total of 264 agro-dealers were trained: 73 in Kenya, 93 in Uganda and 98 in Tanzania. In addition, 79 public extension service providers were given product knowledge training on agro-inputs: 39 in Kenya and 40 in Tanzania.
- In total, 111 demonstration plots were established with the participation of local agro-dealers and MoA staff. Twenty-nine demonstrations were conducted on those plots – 14 in Kenya and 15 in Tanzania. Some demonstrations illustrated that the more efficient use of agro-inputs would double yields. For example, in Kenya, maize plots averaged yields of about 3.6 mt/ha, while yields under traditional farmer practice averaged only 1.77 mt/ha. These results translated to gross margins of US $182/ha for demonstration plots and US $130/ha for traditional practices, representing a 40 percent increase in margins using modern technologies.
- Field days were held throughout the year on EADN demonstration plots. In Kenya, eight field days were held, and 1,713 farmers and other stakeholders participated. In Tanzania, six field days were held, with the participation of 1,094 farmers. In Uganda, four field days were organized with the participation of 473 farmers and other stakeholders. In total, 3,280 stakeholders participated in these field days.
- Business linkages were facilitated through the participation of various stakeholders in agro-input value chain workshops. These stakeholders included financial institutions, importers/distributors of various inputs, public regulatory institutions and MoA policy-level senior staff. Three linkage events were organized across three countries and included 56 participants.
- Educational tours to neighboring countries were organized for agro-dealers with the purpose of learning from counterparts through the sharing of experiences. A total of 21 agro-dealers participated: eight from Kenya visited Uganda, six from Tanzania visited Uganda and seven from Uganda visited Tanzania.
- UDP in rice production was introduced in Kenya. This was the result of an EADN-supported educational tour of Bangladesh by four senior MoA staff to learn more about rice production using UDP. Trials are ongoing and collaborate with the national institution responsible for paddy rice production and Kenya’s MoA.
EADN Project Summary
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Extending Agro-Input Dealer Networks (EADN) (Taken from IFDC Report Volume 36, No.1)
An IFDC Core Competency: Agro-Dealer Development (Taken from IFDC Report Volume 35, No.3)
Project Highlight: Extending Agro-Input Dealer Networks (EADN) (Taken from IFDC Report Volume 35, No.2 in English and French)
Extending Agro-Dealer Networks