TechnoServe’s 2021 Year in Review: Finding Hope – and New Solutions – in Adversity

Despite the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges this year, TechnoServe helped thousands of people to improve their incomes through new partnerships, studies, and program innovations. See how 2021 was a year of promise and potential around the world.

FEBRUARY: TechnoServe Expands Groundbreaking Cashew Work in West Africa

West Africa’s critical cashew industry got a boost as TechnoServe and partners expanded work to help the sector reach its full potential. In February, TechnoServe announced a five-year, $25 million partnership with USDA – Promoting Opportunities for Cashew Processing in West Africa (Prosper Cashew) – that will catalyze growth in the cashew processing sectors in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria. TechnoServe was also awarded a multimillion-dollar grant to expand its groundbreaking work with technology in the BeninCajù project.

Since launching in 2015, TechnoServe’s BeninCajù work has supported more than 75,000 farmers to earn $79 million in sales of raw cashew nuts, while helping the country’s cashew processing sector triple its capacity and generate more than 2,000 jobs. The new grant increases this impact, applying technologies like remote sensing and machine learning.

The Prosper cashew program aims to improve the capacity of 60 processors who source cashews from 34,000 farmers; facilitate $497 million of investment in the cashew sector; and generate $1.5 billion of cashew kernel sales.

Download our new BeninCajù case study: Planting Gender Equality in the Benin Cashew Value Chain.

MARCH: TechnoServe Releases COVID-19 Report to Guide Recovery

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, TechnoServe shifted to crisis mode to help its clients adapt. Along the way, it undertook multiple surveys to assess the shifting needs and well-being of people in the agricultural and small business sectors.

The resulting report reflected the impact of COVID-19 across sectors and geographies, along with practical guidance for helping people in low-income countries to adapt. Information from the report was shared further across multiple international development outlets.

JUNE: Study Shows New Way to Help Coffee Farmers Triple Yields in Ethiopia

Ethiopian coffee can be among the finest in the world, but many of its trees are old and unproductive. Stumping – or significantly cutting back old trees – can often triple their yields, but farmers can be reluctant to lose income from that tree while it grows back.

Read TechnoServe’s Ethiopian Arabica forest coffee guide.

TechnoServe conducted a pilot program to test if farm tools would offer these producers enough of an incentive to stump their trees. An independent study found that the technique was successful: while 5.5% of farmers stumped their trees in the control group, 15% of farmers who were offered tools adopted the practice. Farmers offered tools also stumped double the number of trees as those in the control group.

These findings reveal a simple, cost-effective way to help Ethiopian coffee farmers significantly improve their yields and incomes.

JULY: TechnoServe a Finalist for Prestigious P3 Impact Award

The Beyond Extraction program – a partnership between TechnoServe, Anglo American, and the Inter-American Development Bank – was named a finalist for the P3 Impact Award, which recognizes “exemplary public-private partnerships (P3s) that provide solutions to pressing issues.” 

The project launched in 2016 to promote sustained, broad-based economic development in communities surrounding Anglo American operations in Brazil, Chile, and Peru. The project worked with national and local governments, the private sector, and civil society to support more inclusive and diversified local economies in these communities. 

Over four years, the program directly benefited more than 2,600 participating people and organizations; helped to create or support more than 5,400 jobs; and enabled entrepreneurs who graduated from the program to improve their business’s sales by an average of 32%.

AUGUST: TechnoServe Expands Into Colombia With ITE Program

TechnoServe extended its operations into Colombia with a partnership between the Argidius Foundation, Visa Foundation, and TechnoServe to bring the successful Impulsa tu Empresa (ITE) program into Colombia. Building on nearly a decade of success in Central America, the new iteration of the program – ITE 3.0 – will support the growth of 330 Colombian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) over the next two years. The expansion comes at a time when many SMEs need support to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Over more than a decade, Impulsa tu Empresa has helped to transform thousands of businesses and generate economic opportunity across four countries,” said Silvia Garcia Tellez, regional program manager for TechnoServe. “That’s why we’re so excited to partner with the Argidius Foundation and Visa Foundation to bring this project to Colombia at a moment when there is such an urgent need to help businesses recover and create new, high-quality jobs.” 

SEPTEMBER: Micronutrient Fortification Index Helps Nigeria Fight Malnutrition

With an estimated 361,000 children in Nigeria dying from malnutrition and other related diseases annually, TechnoServe’s Strengthening African Processors of Fortified Foods (SAPFF) launched the Micronutrient Fortification Index (MFI) to help the country’s food processors fight malnutrition.

The MFI is the first-ever platform that allows food processing companies to publicly report and track levels of staple food fortification, in addition to other quality system metrics — providing a transparent way to measure and incentivize industry-wide progress on fortification. “We believe this tool should be adopted by all companies involved in fortification, and I believe it should be made available to stakeholders and shareholders alike,” said Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the September 16 launch event in Lagos. (Watch the event here.) 

OCTOBER: New Alliance Promotes Coffee Livelihoods and Conservation in DRC

TechnoServe launched the Gorilla Coffee Alliance in October with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Nespresso, Olam Food Ingredients, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Congolese social enterprise Asili. Over five years, this initiative will partner with 8,500 farming households to improve their coffee production and sales and reduce poaching and deforestation around Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s South Kivu province.

The Gorilla Coffee Alliance aims to address these challenges by helping local families establish environmentally sustainable ways to earn income, improve access to essential health services, and work with community institutions to become advocates for conserving the national park. 

The alliance will improve total farm productivity to support farmer revenues and protect long-term soil health, biodiversity, and the vital ecological function of one of the world’s largest forests.

NOVEMBER: TechnoServe a Founding Partner of Great Blue Wall at COP26

At COP26, the United Nations climate change conference, TechnoServe helped launch the Great Blue Wall initiative to establish a network of marine and coastal conserved areas to benefit biodiversity and local livelihoods, empowering communities to become stewards of the ocean.

“Improving the health of the ocean means improving the well-being of local communities. Through this partnership, millions of women and men will be able to build a better life for their families through enterprises that support ocean conservation,” said TechnoServe President and CEO William Warshauer at the event.

This initiative is another example of TechnoServe’s focus on regenerative business: a commercial activity that rejuvenates, rather than degrades, nature so that people and markets can prosper in the long term.

Reflecting on TechnoServe’s 2021 Year in Review

How You Can Help Build Brighter Futures in 2021:

Together, we can take the progress of TechnoServe’s work in 2021 further next year. Your support in the fight to end global poverty helps TechnoServe continue to provide life-changing training for hardworking farmers and entrepreneurs in the developing world.