The aggregator in Tharaka, Kenya, with her tractor and thresher. Provision of input services as well as linkage to market is part of the aggregator model.
Photo: Africa Harvest


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How can the private sector contribute to the fight against hunger, poverty and malnutrition in the remote areas of sub-Saharan Africa? This article looks at a model that has been applied in Kenya and Tanzania, addressing the right tools, skills and knowledge to make smallholder production a success.

Since 2009, Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation – in partnership with the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) – has adapted various iterations of the “aggregator model” in increasing the production and marketing of sorghum among smallholder farmer groups in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya and Tanzania. The aim was to address barriers and bottlenecks along agri-based value chains.  The project used the whole value chain (WVC) approach to increase production and productivity as well as to link smallholders to markets for surplus produce. This is a sustainable approach to household food and nutritional insecurity, incomes, natural resource management and the overall development agenda. Smallholder farmers were organised into development and commercially focused smallholder production and marketing groups (SHPMs). Using a market-pull strategy, Africa Harvest worked with the SHPMs to align downstream value chain activities to specific end-market demand parameters (variety, quality, quantity, timeliness and consistency).

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