TechnoServe to Boost Farmer Incomes Through Development of Soy Industry in Southern Africa

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-Funded Program Will Benefit 37,000 Farmers in Mozambique and Zambia

— TechnoServe is helping to grow the incomes of tens of thousands of small-scale farmers in southern Africa by promoting the development of a local soy industry, through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The four-year, $8-million grant will fund activities in Mozambique and Zambia, where TechnoServe is working to expand soy production by smallholder farmers and connect them to buyers for their crops. Within four years, TechnoServe expects that soy will boost the annual incomes of 37,000 farming households by an average of $200 a year.

The program will build on TechnoServe’s proven model for increasing farmer incomes by promoting improvements across an industry’s entire supply chain. TechnoServe, in partnership with a range of businesses, nonprofits and public-sector organizations, will help farmers purchase premium seeds and other supplies, learn vital techniques for growing soy, and form farmer business organizations. At the same time, TechnoServe will promote investments in soy storage and processing as it works to develop the local feed and livestock industries, ensuring that the smallholder farmers will have a stable market for their crops.

The effort in Mozambique and Zambia is part of TechnoServe’s broader vision for the soy industry in sub-Saharan Africa. The region contributes less than one percent of the world’s soy, but the crop has the potential to be a key source of income for farmers. In the next 10 years, TechnoServe hopes to significantly increase the incomes of 200,000 households in southern Africa through the development of a competitive local soy industry.

“Through our 42 years, TechnoServe has demonstrated that we can help change lives through focused interventions in a particular industry, such as coffee or cocoa,” said Bruce McNamer, President and CEO of TechnoServe. “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been tremendously supportive of our approach, and we look forward to working with them to build a soy industry in southern Africa and help break the cycle of poverty for tens of thousands of people in the process.”

“Strong private and public partnerships can spur the development of sustainable local soy industries that help small farmers tap into competitive markets,” said Sherry-Lee Abrahams, associate program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “TechnoServe’s comprehensive approach helps farmers take advantage of soy as a cash crop to increase their incomes, replace imports with locally grown soy and soy products, and boost regional economic growth.”

In Mozambique, TechnoServe has helped revitalize the domestic poultry industry, a major consumer of soy. But soy is a relatively new crop to Mozambique, and the poultry industry imports nearly all of the soy it uses for feed. TechnoServe will focus on expanding soy production among smallholder farmers to help meet this growing demand. TechnoServe will work in partnership with CLUSA, a leading provider of organizational and marketing assistance to smallholder farmers, to help program participants create farmer organizations.

In Zambia, the soy market is more mature, with commercial farmers producing the majority of the country’s output. Thus, the program in Zambia will focus on creating new market opportunities for smallholder farmers. TechnoServe will work directly with the feed and livestock industries to encourage them to engage with domestic producers, and will promote innovative price-risk management products to help stabilize the soy market. TechnoServe will work in partnership with Cargill, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Zambian Agricultural Research Institute.

The soy program builds on a close relationship between TechnoServe and the Gates Foundation, which is also funding a major initiative to help 180,000 coffee farmers in East Africa double their incomes. The foundation is also partnering with The Coca-Cola Company and TechnoServe on a program to boost the incomes of fruit farmers in Kenya and Uganda.

This grant is part of the foundation’s Agricultural Development initiative, which is working with a wide range of partners to provide millions of small farmers in the developing world with tools and opportunities to boost their yields, increase their incomes, and build better lives for themselves and their families. The foundation is working to strengthen the entire agricultural value chain — from seeds and soil to farm management and market access — so that progress against hunger and poverty is sustainable over the long term.

About TechnoServe: TechnoServe empowers people in the developing world to build businesses that break the cycle of poverty. Growing enterprises generate jobs and other income opportunities for poor people, enabling them to improve their lives and secure a better future for their families. Since its founding in 1968, the U.S.-based nonprofit has helped to create or expand thousands of businesses, benefiting millions of people in more than 40 countries. The Financial Times has rated TechnoServe one of the top five NGOs for corporate partnerships. TechnoServe’s corporate partners include Cargill, The Coca-Cola Company, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Nestle-Nespresso, Olam International, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Unilever, among others. Charity Navigator has also awarded its highest Four Star ranking to TechnoServe.

For more information, please contact:

Andrew Eder, Senior Marketing Communications Coordinator, TechnoServe; Tel: +1 (202) 719-1327; Email: