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Hip-driven Pump Brings Water to Parched Fields

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

Finding ways to increase agricultural productivity is key to expanding food supplies and making farming pay. With the world’s population continuing to rise and becoming more urban, there is a pressing need to improve both the quantity and quality of food supplies.

The many small-scale farmers across the global South – and their high levels of poverty – demonstrates the urgent need to change the way farming is done.

Based on Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) census data, it has been estimated that some 525 million farms exist worldwide, providing a livelihood for about 40 per cent of the world’s population. Nearly 90 per cent of these are small farms with less than 2 hectares of land (Nagayets, 2005). Average farm sizes around the world run from 1.6 hectares in Africa to 121 hectares in North America.

Small farms occupy about 60 per cent of the arable land worldwide and contribute substantially to global farm production. In Africa, 90 per cent of agricultural production is derived from small farms (Spencer, 2002).

One social enterprise is pioneering the development and selling of innovative farming tools for these small-scale farmers to increase their efficiency and make their lives better and more profitable. The MoneyMaker Hip Pump is a lightweight irrigation tool designed to be used by anyone, but aimed especially at women farmers. It helps to increase the amount of water that can be pumped into a field during the dry season. To date, the makers of the pump, Kickstart (kickstart.org), claim to have sold 190,000 pumps. It can irrigate up to 0.40 hectare of land.

Kickstart, which calls itself a non-profit promoting technology and entrepreneurism in Africa, develops and markets simple agricultural tools for Africa’s rural poor so they can improve their businesses. The company estimates it has helped 600,000 people since it was founded in 1991.

The MoneyMaker Hip Pump was launched in stores in 2006 and received a sales and marketing push in 2008. It sells for US $30 and weighs 4.5 kilograms. Kickstart says the pump’s most effective attribute is its simple pivot hinge. This pivot hinge allows the user to combine their body weight and strength from their legs with sheer momentum to power the pump rather than straining upper back and shoulder muscles – something that is very hard on farmers’ bodies and leads to repetitive strain injuries that shorten a farmer’s effective working life.

The pump can pull water from 7 metres and push water up a field for 14 metres.

Kickstart says that by early 2012, it had sold 32,037 pumps.

Reporting in a paper for the World Bank, Vincent Nnamdi Ozowa found smallscale farmers needed five things that will make a big difference to their productivity: better access to information on new methods, scientific advances and timely market updates; better education and improved literacy rates;access to credit; better marketing; and better technology that minimizes drudgery and improves efficiency.

In 2011, Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World report found small-scale agriculture could be key to tackling world hunger and poverty. It urged a move away from industrial agriculture and towards small-scale farming in sub-Saharan Africa, believing it could make big gains by being more efficient and reducing waste.

Kickstart has found communities are receptive to the idea of using the pumps and building agro businesses.

“These are people who are already entrepreneurs, so it is not like we are sensitizing them; they are people who are trying to find ways to make money,” Kickstart Tanzania’s Anne Atieno Otieno told AllAfrica.com.

“When we meet them in the communities we talk to them about the value of irrigation versus relying on rainfall. Most of them are used to having to wait for the rain. At the time we were working with the Super MoneyMaker pump, which is a bigger, more expensive pump. They asked if we could make a low entry pump, which we passed on to our tech deputy and that is how we came up with the MoneyMaker Hip Pump.”

It is part of a range of products Kickstart makes to aid small farmers become more productive (kickstart.org/products).

KickStart believes that self-motivated private entrepreneurs managing smallscale enterprises can play a dynamic role in the economies of developing countries.

These entrepreneurs can raise small amounts of capital (US $100 to US $1,000) to start a new enterprise. KickStart then helps them to identify viable business opportunities and access the technologies required to launch the new enterprises.

Kickstart also uses something called a Mobile Layaway service to make it easier for farmers to afford a pump. This service lets farmers pay off the cost of the pump in small instalments by mobile phone. The farmer can choose how large or small the instalment is according to their means.

“Speaking to the women, and going out into the field and speaking with farmers, we identified a major obstacle – purchasing power, the ability to buy the pump. In Africa, in the field, the pump is a capital item,” Otieno said.

“They really have to organize themselves to be able to save for it. And so when we were speaking to the farmers, many were asking us, ‘Can you come up with a credit facility?’ or some system whereby they could purchase the pumps, because many of them wanted the pump but they were not able to afford it.

“The program works through a mobile phone service, MPesa (http://www.safaricom.co.ke/index.php?id=250) … so the farmers are able to save money, and send money through that program.”

Kickstart recently received an award from the US State Department and the Rockefeller Foundation for “transforming agriculture for women by harnessing technology and spurring entrepreneurship.”

Published: April 2012

Resources

1) Information Needs of Small Scale Farmers in Africa: The Nigerian Example by Vincent Nnamdi Ozowa. Website: http://www.worldbank.org/html/cgiar/newsletter/june97/9nigeria.html

2) The New Harvest, Agricultural Innovation in Africa by Calestous Juma. The book outlines strategies for making Africa self-sufficient and argues Africa is

capable of feeding itself in one generation. Website: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/20504/new_harvest.html

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator.

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This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

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Indonesian Food Company Helps Itself by Making Farmers More Efficient

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

The current global economic crisis is taking place at the same time as a global food crisis. Food inflation took off at the beginning of 2011. This is having a devastating affect on countries dependent on food imports and experiencing decreasing domestic production capabilities. The least developed countries (LDCs) saw food imports rise from US $9 billion in 2002, to US $23 billion by 2008 (UNCTAD), prompting Supachai Panitchpakdi, secretary general of UNCTAD, to say “the import dependence has become quite devastating.”

Garuda Food (www.garudafood.com), one of Indonesia’s leading snack food and drink manufacturers, has been boosting its own productivity by investing in improving the productivity of domestic small-scale farmers. This led to a doubling of crop purchases from peanut farmers between 2007 and 2009. By stabilising the market for peanuts and better guaranteeing income, it has attracted more people into becoming peanut farmers in the region.

This is crucial for the future of feeding the planet: we need more farmers.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country, with a population of over 238 million, spread out over a network of islands. Peanut farmers in West Nusa Tenggara (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Nusa_Tenggara) (one of Indonesia’s poorest places) are a key part of the region’s wealth. Peanuts are the area’s third largest crop after rice, maize and soybeans, and the region supplies six percent of the country’s peanut production and 10 percent of Garuda Food’s needs.

Garuda Food says investing in farmers has raised its own productivity by a third. Turning past practices on its head, this large agri-food company is supporting small-scale farmers and helping them to boost their productivity and incomes. Conventional wisdom had been to view small-scale farmers as an inefficient hold-over from the past – the quicker they were driven out of business, the better.

The Indonesian peanut farmers were using traditional farming methods and local seeds. Knowledge of more sustainable farming methods and land management techniques was poor. The farmers were also beholden to the whims of local buyers and fluctuating market prices.

Then Garuda Food stepped in. The company’s field staff offer the farmers training, and through its subsidiary PT Bumi Mekar Tani, it spreads knowledge about new agricultural practices and provides the farmers with quality seeds and farming equipment.

The company buys crops directly from the farmers, rather than from middlemen, increasing the amount the farmer makes. A premium is also paid if the farmer achieves better quality for their crop.

“We receive substantial supply from peanut farmers in NTB (West Nusa Tenggara) and we hope the arrangement will continue,” Garuda Food’s managing director Hartono Atmadja told the Enchanting Lombok website.

Garuda Food’s initiative, with support from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and AusAID, through the Australia Indonesia Partnership, has raised the productivity for 8,000 small-scale farmers by 30 percent: an income boost for the farmers of 3.9 million Indonesian rupiah (US $456) per hectare annually.

Peanut farmer H. Sajidin told the IFC (International Finance Corporation): “My farm’s productivity doubled, my income improved significantly, and I can sleep peacefully at night knowing that Garuda Food will buy my crops at agreed prices.”

Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System (http://stuffedandstarved.org/drupal/frontpage), has grappled with the conundrum of how to feed a rapidly growing planet. He finds the world is not lacking in food, but distributes its bounty very poorly and wastefully, leaving a planet where some people are literally ‘stuffed’ with too much food (the well-documented global obesity crisis) and others left to starve.

He finds the solution is often local.

“It turns out that if you’re keen to make the world’s poorest people better off, it’s smarter to invest in their farms and workplaces than to send them packing to the cities,” Patel wrote recently in Foreign Policy. “In its 2008 World Development Report, the World Bank found that, indeed, investment in peasants was among the most efficient and effective ways of raising people out of poverty and hunger.”

Patel uses the example of the southern African nation of Malawi, where “according to one estimate, the marginal cost of importing a ton of food-aid maize is $400, versus $200 a ton to import it commercially, and only $50 to source it domestically using fertilizers.”

Published: May 2011

Resources

1) Emprapa: The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation’s mission is to provide feasible solutions for the sustainable development of Brazilian agribusiness through knowledge and technology generation and transfer. Website: http://www.embrapa.br/english

2) Divine Chocolate: The highly successful global chocolate brand from the Kuapa Kokoo farmers’ cooperative in Ghana, West Africa. Website: http://www.divinechocolateshop.com

3) Olam: The highly successful global food product supplier brand which got its start in Nigeria, West Africa. Website: http://www.olamonline.com

4) Insects as food: Tapping the world’s vast insect population offers many ways to supplement world food sources. Website: http://ssc.undp.org/other/e-news/newsletters/april-2008/

5) Cooperhaf: The Brazilian farmers’ cooperative Cooperhaf: Cooperativa de Habitacao dos Agricultores Familiares, has put together what it calls a “social technology”, combining housing and farm diversification to support family farmers. Website: http://www.cooperhaf.org.br

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator. 

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

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A New African Beer Helps Smallholder Farmers

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

Africa’s growth in the past decade has held steady despite the trauma of the global economic crisis and the tumult of the “Arab Spring” in several countries of North Africa. African economies are growing because of a number of resilient trends. These include growing regional trade links, greater investment in infrastructure and the remarkable rise of China to become Africa’s number one trade partner, pushing the United States to second place (Technology + Policy). This has given birth to a growing consumer marketplace and consumer class – some 300 million people earning about US $200 a month (Africa Rising).

The continent as a whole now stands as the 10th largest economy in the world.

How will Africans spend this new money in their pockets (or more than likely, on their mobile phones)? They could go for the big, famous global brands that they see advertised in magazines or on television. Or they could also spend it on local products and services that seem just as enticing and life-improving. Creating local African products and services with strong brands will have an important knock-on effect of creating new wealth and jobs within Africa.

One new product being introduced to the West African country of Ghana’s thirsty beer drinkers is the Eagle beer brand. But this is not just any beer made from the traditional ingredients of water, hops, malted barley and yeast (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer) – it is brewed from the root vegetable cassava.

A staple of many African diets, cassava (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava) is a starchy, tuberous root vegetable and a common crop across the continent.

It is believed that 70 per cent of Ghana’s farms are just 3 hectares in size or smaller. They grow many things, but cassava is the most common crop.

Cassava soon spoils once it has been harvested and needs to be consumed quickly. Currently, too much of it goes to waste. In Ghana, according to The Guardian, there is an annual surplus of some 40 per cent of cassava produced.

The Accra Brewery Limited (ABL) (http://www.sabmiller.com/index.asp?pageid=1156) decided to find a way to put the cassava from smallholder farms to good use and stop the waste. The brewery had observed the success of parent company SABMiller (http://www.sabmiller.com/index.asp?pageid=27) elsewhere in Africa, in turning cassava and the grain sorghum from smallholder farmers into beer. Farmers had directly benefited from the purchase of their surplus product.

Eagle brand cassava beer is creating opportunities for business, consumers and smallholder farmers in Ghana. According to The Guardian, the company hopes to source cassava from 1,500 smallholders.

By having a guaranteed purchase from the brewery on a regular basis, farmers are able to move beyond subsistence agriculture and turn themselves into functioning businesses.

The spare income from selling the cassava also can be used to improve a farmer’s household access to healthcare and education.

The Accra Brewery provides advice on agricultural techniques and growing a diverse range of crops, to ensure farmers are not dependent on a monocrop harvest. It also offers advice on business and developing commercial relationships.

The Eagle brand cassava beer will be sold at a 30 per cent discount to low-income drinkers in order to lure them away from illicit and informal alcohol drinks of dubious quality.

Professor Ethan Kapstein of business school INSEAD found that ABL and its water business Voltic (GH) Ltd. was a creator and supporter of high-quality jobs in Ghana and supported 17,600 jobs throughout the Ghanaian economy.

Adjoba Kyiamah (http://www.sabmiller.com/index.asp?pageid=1766&blogid=172), corporate and legal affairs director at Accra Brewery, told The Guardian she believes Eagle brand beer will help create even more jobs, boost government revenues and expand consumer choice.

This is an innovative first, as cassava beer had never been made before in Ghana on a commercial scale. This had not been possible in the past because of the challenge of collecting fresh cassava from farms widely spread out over a large territory. As well as spoiling quickly, Cassava is heavy, being mostly made up of water, and is difficult to transport over large distances.

“Part of our strategy across Africa is to make high quality beer which is affordable for low-income consumers while simultaneously creating opportunities for smallholder farmers in our markets. The launch of Eagle in Ghana ticks both these boxes,” said Mark Bowman, Managing Director of SABMiller Africa.

“Eagle is aimed at attracting low-income consumers away from illicit alcohol. This is a virtuous circle: smallholder cassava farmers have a guaranteed market for their crop, which is then used to make consistently high quality, affordable beer for consumers; and the government realises increased revenues as people trade up into formal, taxable alcohol consumption.”

ABL is using a mobile processing unit developed by DADTCO (Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company) Cassava Processing Ghana Ltd. It is designed to process the cassava on site, preserving the integrity of the starch.

Eagle is sold in 375 millilitre bottles at a price 70 per cent lower than that charged for other lager beers. The use of local ingredients, and a reduced excise tax awarded to the brand because is it is boosting local agriculture, allows for the lower price.

Production of cassava beer got its start first in Mozambique, with the launch of the Impala brand (http://www.sabmiller.com/index.asp?pageid=149&newsid=1748), the first commercial-scale cassava-based clear beer, in October 2011.

Published: April 2013

Resources

1) Southern Innovator Magazine Issue 3: Agribusiness and Food Security. Packed with information, insights and business models to turn smallholder farmers into agribusinesses. Website: http://www.scribd.com/doc/106055665/Southern-Innovator-Magazine-Issue-3-Agribusiness-and-Food-Security

2) Cassava can become Africa’s new cash crop: Cassava is abundant in sub-Saharan Africa, and could be an ideal crop to improve food security for millions of people. Website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development-professionals-network/2013/mar/28/cassava-food-security-sub-saharan-africa

3) Cassava recipes from the BBC. Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/cassava

Southern Innovator logo

London Edit

31 July 2013

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator. 

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

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Small-scale Farmers Can Fight Malaria Battle

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

Malaria is one of Africa’s biggest killers. Each year globally 300 to 500 million people are infected, and around 1 million die from the disease (theglobalfund). Ninety percent of malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa – mostly to children under the age of five. The disease costs African countries US$12 billion a year in lost gross domestic product.

Malaria is a parasitic disease – the parasite plasmodium – transmitted by mosquito bites. Symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting. Internal bleeding, kidney and liver failure may follow and can result in coma and death.

The most common and effective treatment, recommended by the World Health Organization, is artemisinin-based combination therapies, known as ACTs. ACTs have low toxicity, few side effects and act rapidly against the parasite. Research shows that artemisinin remedies cure 90 percent of patients within three days.

But there are far fewer doses available than people who need them. WHO has claimed the quantity made available by pharmaceutical companies falls far short of the more than 130 million doses required to combat malaria throughout the world.

And ACTs are very expensive to deliver: in just one country, Tanzania, providing such therapy for three years would cost US $48.3 million. Every year, this would account for 9.5 percent of Tanzania’s health budget, and 28.7 percent of yearly spending on medical supplies: a six-fold increase in budget for malaria treatment (Malaria Journal 2008, 7:4).

But a cheap alternative to the expensive pill form of the treatment is being piloted across Africa. It involves the drinking of a tea made from the bushes of the artemisia plant. Artemisia annua is an annual shrub and the active ingredient in the pills (artemisinin). It is native to China and Vietnam and has been used for 2,000 years to treat fevers.

Bushes cultivated by farmers in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique under the supervision of the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, are helping to bring down malaria rates without the long wait for the pills to arrive.

The leaves are boiled and made into a tea. Drinking the tea gives a high enough dose of artemisinin in the blood to cure malaria. Helen Meyer, a nurse operating nine mobile health clinics in rural Mozambique, is using the bitter tea made from the dried leaves. Even in treating drug resistant malaria, she has found the artemisia tea effective: “If you drink the tea, you feel better after the first day. Other medicines take a few days.”

A special hybrid of artemisia, A-3, is used because it is adapted for warmer climates. The wild variety grows to only five centimetres in the tropics, but A-3 grows to three metres and packs 20 times more artemisinin. It is also highly economical: thousands of plants can come from a single stem.

The daily adult dose of anti-malaria tea just needs five grams of dried A-3 leaves in one litre of water. The tea is drunk every six hours for seven days. Each plant produces 200 grams of dried leaves, and a thousand shrubs can cure 5,700 people. Since it is a cheap cure, money can be spent instead on other things. Farmers are also able to supplement their income by growing the bushes. And the dried leaves have long-lasting power: even after three years the leaves retain close to a 100 percent of their artemisinin.

Access to authentic artemisinin is critical: it is estimated 16 percent of malaria medicines in Kenya are counterfeit. Elsewhere, the proliferation of counterfeit anti-malarials substantially raises the risk of the emergence of resistance to artemesinin combination therapy, the last truly effective treatment against malaria. Past misuse of other malaria drugs, such as chloroquine in the 1980s and sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine in the 1990s, resulted in the malaria parasite becoming resistant. Hundreds of thousands of people in malaria-prone areas may have died as a result.

The World Agroforestry Centre, recognizing potential problems with artemesinin monotherapies, is working to combine it with indigenous herbal remedies made from other anti-malarial trees, producing a herbal combination therapy (HCT).

“I used to grow fruits and beans here,” said Charles Kiruthi, a Kenyan farmer, to the IRIN news service. “but I will get a better return from this plant. No pests attack it, and until harvesting time it requires very little labour.”

“I expect to get a good return, and I am also very happy to be helping fight malaria,” continued Kiruthi. “I recently lost two friends to the disease, and my child gets sick with malaria sometimes.”

Published: July 2008

Resources

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator. 

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022