Agro Entrepreneurship

Introduction

Cereal crop production in the hilly region of Nepal and this is not sufficient to fulfill farmer's daily need. So, livestock production is integrated with agriculture practice of farmer’s. Hilly and mountain region of Nepal has huge potential for agribusiness. If the farmers of this region are externally supported and sensitized, livestock production and Medicinal and Aromatic Plant (MAPs) business have huge possibility of flourishing in this district. Since, this district is situated in mountain region; high‐value agriculture products have real potential to drive growth, employment and incomes. However, effective demand oriented value chain addition and effective market linkage of agriculture products of the district is constrained by low levels of adoption of improved technologies and investments. Inadequate infrastructure and lack of transportation to move products to the markets and underdeveloped agribusiness are major constraints for development of agribusiness. Besides, marginal poor farmers of these regions lack enough economic resources to operate market oriented agribusiness. Lack of policy incentives and external support is further deteriorating agribusiness situation of the district. It is necessary to initiate support activities for Agribusiness Markets to address the marketing problems of high value crop (especially MAPs) in the district. Moreover, livestock production and dairy business needs support for the commercialization of these sectors. The main activities hindering agribusiness development in this district are technology transfer, farmer training, lack of extension workers, lack of facilitation in farmer’s group formation and lack of agribusiness alliances and linkages of producers with domestic and export marketing agencies.

Focusing on the improvement of selected high‐value crops through technology transfer, training of farmers, strengthening farmers groups and associations, promoting market linkages, and supporting policy and regulatory changes through advice by stakeholders could enhance agribusiness of the district. Development in agribusiness will provide technical assistance across the key value chain links, train farmers, strengthen farmers associations, support the growth of small and medium agribusiness enterprises, including domestics and export marketing, and will work with and support small farmer’s enterprise in agricultural technology transfer and technology development.

Working Plan

Prepare work plans and operation budgets

Eco-reach will prepare work plans for the district level and village level promotional activities of Eco-reach project. In order to enhance and facilitate implementation of the project, Eco-reach will prepare detailed annual, short-term and long-term work plans. Similarly, operation budgets of all activities will be made and submitted to the district coordinator.

Inception workshop

This inception workshop will be held between Eco-reach and Consortium of Partners with relevant stakeholders to discuss and develop a comprehensive roadmap forward, lay out and the coordination mechanisms with the various roles and responsibilities by stakeholders.

Baselines

At the commencement of the project Eco-reach will document a project baseline containing data on agro-enterprises in the village and district, farmer’s group, cooperatives in agribusiness and mainstream markets. As an output of this study, certain Benchmark indicators shall be drawn up which can be the basis of periodic review of impact on the participating enterprise, cooperatives or groups including change in income, asset profile, and savings profile.

Social Mobilization and communication

In order to meet the overall objective of the project Eco-reach local NGO facilitator through above key principles and tools, social mobilization will be undertaken as a crucial element in the implementation of project activities at the village level. For the project introduction, dissemination of project aims and objectives to the villagers Eco-reach will conduct social mobilization. Data collection of existing agro-enterprises and current situation analysis will be done. Short-term village level NGO services for the facilitation of social mobilization and data collection will be done by recruiting short term NGO staffs.

The project approach is based on the following key principles and tools:

  • Holistic approach – comprehensive, multi-sector planning and preparation process.
  • Bottom up approach – community mobilization through principles and approaches of social mobilizations.
  • Participatory approach- ownership promotion.
  • Income Generation- entrepreneurship promotion
  • Coordination-linkages with other on-going projects
  • Demand driven value chain approach

Steps in Social Mobilization:

First Step:

The first step of social mobilization is to sensitize the local community people on the importance of agro-enterprises, cooperatives and farmers’ groups for their socio-economic development that helps to improve their lives. In mass sensitization, it is mandatory that at least one male and one female member of each household attend the meeting. The community mobilizer and other team members of Eco-reach will conduct the first dialogue with community people. It is a two way communication. The purpose of the mass sensitization is to:-

  • Make the community people aware of the need and importance agro-enterprises, farmer’s groups or cooperatives.
  • Motivate local community people to come together and form agro-enterprises, cooperatives for socio-economic development.
  • Sensitize them on the importance of value chain addition to their agriculture enterprise and explore the ideas to generate the internal capital via agribusiness.
  • Discuss the characteristic and quality of chairperson and manager to run such agro-enterprises smoothly.

    The following tools are used during mass sensitization:

  • Drawings, cartoons, photos of single effort/collective effort: These help people to understand and realize why they should be organized.
  • Practical events
  • Cite the successful story of community based agro-enterprises.

Second Step: Project promotion and Communication

Project promotion will be done through various promotional approaches. Electronic aids, publication, village level miking, leaflets publications etc. will be done for the promotion of the project objectives and aims. This will be done in close coordination with DPCs, AEC and Agribusiness Capacity Development Consultants. Project promotion and communication will be done from the initiation of project till the end.

First number of individuals, groups, agro-enterprises and cooperatives in the villages of the district interested in agribusiness is identified through baseline survey. Project promotion campaigns are conducted in different villages of the district. Promotion campaign will also be done using electronic media like Radio. Similarly, promotion will be done organizing social events and street dramas. If the number of groups and cooperatives are lacking then interested individuals are sanitized to form groups or cooperatives. Then, such groups are introduced about project objectives and services of Eco-reach project. Promotion of project objectives and services to newly formed organizations and existing organization will be done through various meetings of Eco-reach with such groups. Visual aid media like posters, pamphlets, leaflets etc. and electronic aids like local radio will be used for project promotion and communication.

Third step: Interest group Identification

District and village level groups, cooperatives and enterprises interested in agribusiness value chain development are identified through project promotion, communication and dialogue activities.

Fourth step: Introduction of project objectives and services

Then identified or prospective groups and enterprises are introduced with objectives and services of project Eco-reach. This will be done in collaboration with Agro-enterprise Center (AEC), District project coordinator and agribusiness capacity development package 2 specialist.

Conduct Campaign

Campaign will be conducted for project promotion and stakeholder communication. Similarly, interested group identification mobilization and capacity strengthening will be done through such campaign. Such, campaign will be main source for maintaining a database of the interested individuals and agro-enterprises of the district. The campaign will specifically target not only local agribusinesses, but also women’s groups and disadvantaged communities, and those who live in remote locations. The campaign will disseminate information about the project to potential agribusiness beneficiaries and institutional stakeholders through its field staff network, the distribution of pamphlets, via local radio, and workshops for agribusiness entrepreneurs, commercial farmer groups, livestock herders, and community leaders in each district. Where felt necessary, the Eco-reach will propose to hold such workshops in other locations of the district. Workshops will inform and consult participants about the objectives, procedures and formats. When needed such workshops and campaigns will be repeated in the second and third year.

Agribusiness Development Facilitation

Eco-reach will facilitate interested group to access the market linkages. Eco-reach will help those groups to make contacts with business development services of AEC agribusiness development specialists. Agribusiness Grant Application facilitation Eco-reach will assist farmers groups and local enterprises to complete the Environment Management Plan (EMP) that is required for agribusiness grant application. Eco-reach aware those groups to include evidence of land ownership, environment management plan and gender and social inclusion information in their EMP. Eco-reach will helps and corresponds for small, remote, disadvantage groups and enterprises to facilitate, communicate and correspond regarding their application for Agribusiness Grants and implementation of business plans.

Eco-reach will monitor and assist grantee to met grant agreement Environmental Management Plan conditions and reporting requirements.

Facilitation in Market Linkage

Eco-reach will facilitate mountain production enterprise in villages and district to link with other support services that may improve their agribusiness and livelihood.

Assistance to Agro-enterprises

Eco-reach will assist Agro enterprise Center (AEC) in preparation and conduction of workshops and trade fairs and supervise it.

Reporting Activities:

Main Activity
Sub-Activities
1

Identify District and village level interested individuals,
groups,cooperatives in agriculture value chain development
1 Introduce villagers about project Eco-reach and its aims, objectives and
services
2 Use social tools and appraisal methods (RRA, PRA, transect walk
etc.),to identify the interested groups
3 Conduct preliminary baseline survey
4 Assist in group formation, cooperatives registration and if they are
lacking
5 Provide preliminary training to newly established groups or organization
for its longevity
2 Introduction of project objectives and services 1 Introduce the agricultural groups and enterprises about project
objectives and services in collaboration with AEC, District project Coordinator
and Agribusiness capacity development package 2 specialist.


3


Maintain database
1 Conduct survey for identification of interested groups
2 Consult with team leader/ Eco-reach for database establishment
3 Compile detail information of interested groups with detail of their
location, number, agriculture and agribusiness with their Soci-economic information.


4


Prepare work plans and operation budgets
1 Key implementation issues and solutions,
2 Updated procurement plan and updated implementation plan for next 12
months
3 Prepare operation budget
5 Reporting 1 Prepare report and submit to Eco-reach project. Submit inception report,
annual reports, mid-term report, final report and monthly reports as per
requirement of the project.

Project Components

Project Design involves series of multiple components and is mutually interrelated. The project approach focuses on one dominant intervention – the development of pro-poor value chains. Eco-reach first work on identification, formation/strengthening value chain producers groups, initiatives to promote gender and social inclusion, support for high value commodity production and post-harvest activities, assist those groups to apply for grant for agribusines, and support for and inclusion of pro-poor and remote communities.

Component 1: Pro-poor value chain development

The objective of the component is to facilitate mutually beneficial and profitable production and marketing arrangements between producers of high value commodities and agri-businesses. The strategy for implementing the component is based on an ‘Inclusive Business Approach’ in which the development of a given value chain would be initiated by the identification of potential private agribusinesses interested in working with poor rural producers of high value commodities – both high value agricultural commodities and NTFPs/MAPs – in a partnership based on carefully developed contracts between the two parties. The expected outputs from the component are:

(i) Contractual arrangements between producers groups and agribusinesses functioning effectively, sustainably and benefiting both parties
(ii) Strengthened institutional capacity for delivery and facilitation of market opportunities, information and support services; and
(iii) Women, dalits, janajatis and other poor and vulnerable groups well represented, actively involved and benefiting from participation in project value chains.

Component 2: Inclusion and Support for Value Chain Initiatives

The objective of the component is small poor farmers and other rural producers benefit from sustainable increases in volume and value of production as a result of improved production/collection, value addition and sales of high value niche market products and strengthened local capacity for market driven initiatives. The five sub-components have been designed not only to link with the value chain development process of Component 1 but to be mutually supporting. Each is necessary to ensure that the value chains are successfully implemented in an equitable and sustainable manner. Each is described below.

  • Sub-Component 2A. Group Formation and Strengthening
  • Sub-Component 2B. Social and Gender Inclusion
  • Sub-Component 2C. Preparing for Business plan and Environment Monitoring Plan (EMP)
  • Sub-Component 2D. Assist for Grant Application
  • Sub-Component 2E. District Participation and Spatial Inclusion

The expected outputs from Component 2 are:

  • Small scale producers organized in groups, with a high proportion of women and vulnerable groups, are better able to respond to market demand and opportunities;
  • High portion of risk averse persons/households and landless in project communities participate in the project;
  • Incremental volumes of agricultural commodities, MAPs are being produced in the quantities and qualities specified in contracts with agribusinesses;
  • Infrastructure, equipment and certification financed by the Value Chain Fund is contributing to the profitable production and marketing of the project’s high value commodities; and
  • Infrastructure projects that improve accessibility of remote communities completed and facilitate marketing of high value commodities.

Component 3. Project Management

Eco-reach will work with in the terms of reference of the project Eco-reach and manage the project. It will effectively coordinate with the project and other stakeholders of the project. With the proper planning, monitoring and evaluation of the project and guidelines from the project Eco-reach coordinator this project will be managed.

Stakeholder Communication Strategy

At the initial phase of the project Eco-reach will launch a communication Campaign for promotion of the project, social mobilization and the identification or formation of groups, cooperatives and agro-enterprises. Eco-reach will facilitate planning and implementing information campaigns in project districts to: (i) introduce the project aims, opportunities and Agribusiness Grant requirements to agricultural groups, cooperatives and other stakeholders in close collaboration with AEC; (ii) identify eligible groups that have potential to develop agribusiness plans, and climate adaptation, community forestry and rangeland action plans acceptable for project grants; and (iii) assess their needs for market linkages, and technical and business management capacity strengthening. Eco-reach will organize promotion campaigns, program of workshops and consultations at district and village level by in collaboration with the District Project Coordinator (DPC), district AEC Business Planning Specialist, District Development Committees (DDC).

Relevant government agencies, projects, CBOs will be informed and motivated to disseminate information to relevant entrepreneurs and groups in their support and member network, and to inform the project about potential beneficiaries. The project will be at district and village level and it will communicate regularly with all the stakeholders. Annual review meetings will be held and consultation with representatives from the beneficiaries, agri-entrepreneurs, government and civil society will be done to obtain necessary feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Monitoring and evaluation

Eco-reach will take overall responsibility for monitoring and implementation of programme activities, including preparing work plans and operation budgets, producing activity and financial reports. An approach, which embraces participatory principles involving local farmers, agro-entrepreneurs and other development partners, for regular review to assess achievement of agreed goals and objectives of the programme, will be developed. Effectiveness of project promotion and communication about the Eco-reach project will be accessed by the understanding of people about the project and changes in their behavior. Eco-reach Eco-reach will organize periodic programme review, planning and joint strategy meetings. Programme monitoring may be undertaken jointly with project Eco-reach or coordinated with all partners. A mid-term evaluation of the project will be conducted by during the second year of programme implementation. This will offer an opportunity to make any adjustments in programme implementation. At the end of the project, an external and independent evaluation of the project will be conducted.

Expected Outcomes

  • Dissemination of project aims and services of Project Eco-reach.
  • Database of interested individuals, groups, farmer’s organization, cooperatives and agri- enterprises in the district will be formed.
  • Participation and access of poor marginal producers in high value commodity value chains and agricultural markets.
  • Small poor farmers and other rural producers benefit from sustainable increases in volume and value of production of as a result of improved production/collection, value addition and sales of high value niche market products.
  • Enhanced environment and strengthened local capacity to demand driven/value chain initiatives.
  • Increased use of improved inputs and the adoption of Good Agricultural Practices
  • Increased incomes of smallholders in the project intervention areas
  • Increases in production of priority food and cash crop commodities that are being sold in domestic and regional markets
  • Increased quantities of value‐added/processed target commodities marketed
  • Increased agribusiness related activity and private investment in the sector
  • Increased value‐chain and agro-enterprise operation due to grants.
  • Reliable and widespread use of market information through innovative means