VACID Africa Info on Wednesday, July 03 2013, 03:54 pm

What is RAVAAK?


Agriculture in Africa faces the challenge of being smallholder producer driven. Smallholders, particularly when in their rural abode lack a framework in which to gather knowledge on what they produce, how the produce it, linkages with supportive infrastructure and markets once the produce is ready.

Value Addition and Cottage Industry Development in Africa (VACID Africa) evolved from the engagement of the Government of Kenya, UNIDO and WillPower Enterprise Development, an organization which sought to promote business thinking to manage agricultural engagement at smallholder farm level, particularly among women. After the project ended, the recommendation of continuing the work that WillPower was doing of supporting farmers to engage with the standardization bodies, the linkage to supermarkets, and support to farmers through agricultural extension and agribusiness mentoring became necessary upon which VACID Africa was born. VACID Africa has been supporting value chain driven engagement with smallholder farmers in whatever they produce.

The Birth of the RAVAAK

Engaging with farmers to create an understanding of their needs, in countries where the languages are a challenge and understanding of the local circumstances a challenge is the hallmark of rural agricultural engagement. VACID Africa has been evolving models of engaging with farmers in seeking to address value chain based agricultural extension. The need to mobilize producers to come together to procure inputs, to source for a knowledgeable extension provider as a group, to aggregate their produce so that they can negotiate better with the market, to support the integration of ICTs and other best practices has been a challenge.

With VACID Africa having been involved in the telecentre movement where access to ICTs is critical, the digital focus was critical in whatever the organization planned as a focus of engagement with agricultural value chain actors. We have been engaged in promoting sustainable engagement with natural Resources management, with Aquaculture, with Value Addition which was our first UNIDO engagement, with Agribusiness development which founded the engagement with the ministry of Agriculture in Kenya, thereby creasing an agribusiness department, with the integration of Knowledge management tools that Octagon Data Systems presents, the model of a physical space to provide a solution that serves all this engagement and skill requirements became necessary. The RAVAAK is therefore a physical space to provide value chain driven solutions for Resources, Aquaculture, Value Addition, Agribusiness, and Knowledge (RAVAAK) management support.

A RAVAAK Centre is therefore a physical space for the engagement of a value chain actor's with Resources producers, Aquaculture value chain actors and other agribusiness Value Addition activities, to generate and share knowledge among themselves and with a mentoring or extension support agent, commonly called a service provider.

VACID Africa supports farmers to create their own RAVAAK Centres and providers the network to link RAVAAKs so that they can create an ecosystem of peers in agribusiness and agricultural value chains.

1) RAVAAK Community Enterprise Infrastructure:

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