Why ICT 4 Agriculture


VACID Africa is a sustainable agriculture and agribusiness support organization. We train, support, and accredit individual Service Providers who undergo a capacity building (ToT) programme organized by the VACID Africa Cisco Entrepreneur Training Centre. Our capacity-building programme enables our service providers to support communities in the creation of value chain based products and brands.

We collaborate with government initiatives that focus on the creation of grassroots institutions as vehicles for achieving localized agriculture driven development goals. We train the Service Providers to be entrepreneurs able to identify opportunities that the government and other development initiatives and citizen support programmes of the private sector including technology institutions, banks, and microfinance institutions can fund at the community level within identified value chain. Depending on the value chain in question, the communities get funding to implement programmes they have evolved with the technical support and mentoring of the Service Providers. The communities then collaborate with VACID Africa through the intermediation of the service providers. VACID acts as a technical partner to the development effort. As an organization, we support communities to identify their resourcefulness the basis of which is the point of engagement with our service providers.

Our Programme Oriented Initiatives

We implement our programmes through an integrated chain of services drive the productivity potential of the agricultural undertakings of communities. All the focal activities span the continuum of particular value chains from pre-production to the market. We gear our engagement activities with a view to addressing the demands of community needs by:

1. Supporting the creation and growing of community producer groups

2. Developing local service providers through focused value chain training

3. Developing and supporting value chain supporting Business Development Services infrastructure creating SMEs along the value chain continuum

4. Undertaking mentorship in creating sustainable agribusinesses at community and service provider level

5. Supporting creation of finance programmes for value chain investment

6. Integrating ICTs and processing technologies in community entrepreneurship development initiatives

7. Supporting sustainable organizational development at the grassroots

Creation or Proliferation of Community Producer Groups

VACID Africa works with grassroots support organizations that mobilize, support, and train farmers such as cooperatives or producer common interest groups. We work with national and apex organizations to create strategies for interaction with their grassroots institutions. We are involved with the federations of producers at the national level supporting them with sustainable business models/structures, strategies, and systems that create wealth at the farmer level. We support them to focus on their downstream groups using the technical service providers we have trained and accredited as mentors and extensionists in our programme wherever we work. We have a collaborative relationship with farmer support organizations at national, regional and continental level.

Development of Local Service Providers

We work with our service providers as mentors who help to link farmer organizations to the local, national, regional, and international markets. We promote and support linkages with fair trade partners at the international level, the basis the observance and maintenance of standards. Our grassroots focus and linkage to service providers who reside at the community level, coupled with our centralized telecentre implementation provides the flexibility to offer extension and producer support activities to farmers at the local level. With our initial foundation as a programme of UNIDO, with whom we continue to collaborate particularly in supporting the acquisition of processing equipment and linkage to other development agencies, benefits the farmer directly. We have gathered experience in value chain linkages, through the involvement with project implementation for SME and agribusiness development in Kenya. We have implemented our projects through the service provider model for programmes implemented with UNIDO, DfID and KAPP/World Bank. We have evolved driven-knowledge capacity-building methodologies delivered through the skills-base development of our ToTs through standardized curricula from Cisco and Telecentre.org Foundation’s Academy. Our international accreditation to these two institutions ensure that offer high levels of promotion to both entrepreneurship and value chain development.

Development of BDS Infrastructure

VACID Africa promotes value chain linked business models that support grassroots producer networks to produce for processing through their own investment in local cottage industries. We work through partnerships with local and international partners. Our partner supported infrastructure by leaders in the niche area of our integration with them ensures that our grassroots partners achieve the technology and partnership development models evolved globally for success. We integrate the benefit that comes from these collaborations through a technology-based business modelling, which promotes knowledge creation with data gathered and stored on organizational databases based on farmer practices and production schedules. We lobby governments and development partners, through our national and regional network partners, to support farmers in financial intermediation, support services, and in policy and regulation issues. Using content based business models; we influence the thinking of governments on implementing models that support the grassroots beneficiaries. We have success cases of involvement in Kenya where we have succeeded in the creation of such institutional mechanisms as the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Youth Fund, and Water Trust Fund, among other national initiatives.

Sustainable Agribusinesses Mentoring

VACID Africa is the creation of the mentoring and incubation work of WillPower Enterprise Development, an SME support and incubation initiative that supports the incubation of enterprises. We work through mentors, who are the service providers to support communities to create sustainable wealth creating enterprises.

Our mentoring work to communities in agribusiness started under a UNIDO Programme 2003-2006. Through the creation of VACID Africa, we have not only continued this support but have also supported the work of other community initiatives that focus on agricultural value chains and value addition particularly those associated with the Agribusiness Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya Agricultural Productivity Programme (KAPP) and the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF). Our mentoring and business linkages have helped the soybean, grain, milk and honey processors groups in the regions where we have worked. We are also happy to be associated with the success in Dairy Value Chain in Kenya

Input and Service Provider Finance Programmes

VACID Africa’s model of agricultural grassroots financial intermediation acknowledges the existence of other actors in the financial sector. It particularly acknowledges the existence of sector focused Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), which extend credit to their members. We also acknowledge the existence of multipurpose microfinance and bank credit programmes that are slowly taking interest in agriculture. We however note the gaping absence in the financing models of financial intermediation to value chain focused operators in the sector-based where microfinance or related credit is not common.

Our engagement with development partners has enabled us to create a new thinking to this constraint for which we provide approaches to address this gap. Our business model enables us to apportion part of the fees paid to us by our programmes to create a fund that is dedicated to supporting investment in agribusiness projects by communities. We welcome support in increasing this fund or the entry of others in this area.

This new service in our programme seeks to provide for funds to support:

1. Sustainable financial delivery institutional framework

2. Capacity building and management support infrastructure

3. People-based income generation groups at the grassroots or community enterprises, which may as well be individual enterprises focusing on the well-being of the wider society

4. Creation of networks and partnerships to link farmers and entrepreneurs to affordable credit facilities

In selecting this model, we considered the following critical factors:

1. The allowance for wealth creation or savings and investment facilitation

2. The focus on the individual, as well as the group, while taking advantage of the group – in the individual case - if agricultural production and entrepreneurship is to be facilitated through the fund

3. Allowing for the beneficiary to receive credit without having cash collateral so that a business concept is supported in its own right

4. Provision for perpetual existence of a fund where pooling of project resources can be put into a basket from which it can be used to support development in a given place or a number of places

5. Borrowing from the experiences of other implementations that have worked in varying ways in the country and other developing economies

6. Using the indefatigable Kenyan farmer in dispersed rural localities as possible

7. Linking to technology infrastructure that provides for credit rating so that the funds services can be sold to other lending institutions.

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