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Agriculture and Food Security

Inclusive market systems that improve productivity, incomes, and nutrition

​​​​At Chemonics, we are committed to working together to find and implement innovative projects that achieve development impact. That’s why we build strategic partnerships that promote agricultural development, economic growth, and food security. As a result, local communities are able to enhance resiliency, increase incomes, and improve nutrition. Our projects address food security for vulnerable populations, ensure improved livelihoods for smallholder farmers, and provide stable access to nutritious food. Our successes are rooted in technical and innovative approaches. We’ve connected rural farmers with mobile banking services, and we’ve identified and supported local agriculture luminaries to guide sustainable improvements throughout the sector. 

 

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Within the context of donor programs such as USAID’s Feed the Future initiative, we work with stakeholders to develop targeted, market-driven solutions that reduce risks, upgrade production and marketing practices, and improve livelihoods.

Food security and nutrition. We address food availability, access, utilization, and stability of access through a variety of strategies. We conduct in-depth monitoring of livelihoods and nutrition for early warning and provide mechanisms for smallholder farmers to improve productivity and boost their food security. We also strengthen producer and trade associations’ ability to access and produce for high-value markets, and promote behavior change that encourages households to improve their nutritional status.

Agricultural Productivity. We enhance agricultural productivity through a myriad of cross cutting implementations. We facilitate on-farm technology demonstrations, access to improved technologies, supporting inputs and service enterprises, identifying and scaling up existing best practices to assist underserved villages, incentivize and subsidize the use of new practices and quality inputs, improved management, and much more.

Resiliency. By focusing on how to integrate crisis response activities and teams with development activities, we work to reduce long-term vulnerability and build capacity among populations that have suffered repeated agricultural crises, such as droughts and famine. We improve rainfed agronomic methods, irrigation systems, natural resource conservation, livestock and forage development, and research-extension-farmer links.

Strengthening inclusive market systems. From market system analysis (including value chains and their broader context) to market information systems, grades and standards, and market linkage development, we provide expert advice and facilitate access to markets and appropriate technologies to ensure production is demand-driven and market-oriented. We work with agribusinesses and service providers to help deliver essential inputs, structure agriculture-specific financing mechanisms, and improve quality control.

Social & Behavior Change Communications (SBCC). Our experience has taught us that driving the adoption of behavior correlated with desired social outcomes is a complex and resource-intensive activity. Working with local and international partners, we are integrating SBCC into all aspects of our Feed the Future approach—from climate adaptation to youth entrepreneurship to adoption of good water, sanitation, and hygiene, and nutritious food consumption.

Enabling environments. We collaborate with agriculture stakeholders and policymakers to advance the understanding of enabling environment issues. Through strategic partnerships with the public and private sectors, we are improving the enabling environment for agribusinesses around a variety of issues: input supply, natural resource management, land tenure, sanitary and phytosanitary regulations, trade, and customs.

Land and resource rights. We enhance agricultural productivity, reduce food insecurity, and promote sustainable management of soil, water, and other natural resources, through our crosscutting work in land tenure security and land and resource rights. This work creates the preconditions for farmer investment, access to credit, and conservation.

Information and communication technology. We help farmers gain access to information that can help them make sound farm management and financial decisions. In addition to connecting farmers to mobile banking services, we establish systems that allow rural farmers to receive real-time weather alerts and market information on their mobile devices.

Climate change adaptation. To ensure that incomes and food production remain steady as the climate changes, we are strengthening the capacity of farmers in adaptive practices, such as soil conservation, erosion prevention, irrigation, greenhouse production, and the use of drought-tolerant seed varieties. We are also training government officials in climate modeling and how it can inform climate-sensitive policy.

Access to Finance. We are dedicated to ensuring that all players along the agriculture value chain have access to requisite funds for success. We inspire value chain finance innovation, support financial institutions to develop alternatives to collateral for the agribusiness sector, and support and facilitate agricultural lending. We are experienced in engaging training providers and experts to provide training on accounting and business plan development for groups seeking financing, integrating mobile technology into new lender-borrower relationships, and encouraging lead firms to provide financing mechanisms to suppliers along the value chain.

Gender. To overcome the gender gap that prevents women from fulfilling their potential in the agriculture sector, we implement gender-conscious interventions. Using assessment tools, we look at the involvement and dynamic of women in agricultural and agribusiness activities at the community and household level, evaluate opportunities to strengthen food and financial security, and provide vocational training interventions.

Youth. We work to encourage youth engagement in the agricultural sector. We build youth agent capacity in business skills and create links to microfinance institutions, and train youth on vital agribusiness skills.

Public-Private Partnerships. We help our private partners achieve their strategic business goals while benefiting small producers and businesses across value chains. We facilitate sourcing of a range of crops and commodities through direct relationships with partners, help foster a positive corporate image for demanding consumers, ensure traceability, and coordinate with private sector partners through their agents (e.g., input suppliers, traders, and seed companies) to demonstrate appropriate technologies.




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    Bruce Isaacson​Bruce Isaacson serves as the Chief of Party for the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET), a USAID funded global effort that delivers early warnings of hazard, food insecurity, vulnerability to food insecurity, and famine. Mr. Isaacson is a food and resource economist with 25 years of international experience analyzing livelihoods, influencing government policy, and planning for food security contingencies. He is an accomplished technical expert in agricultural, food, resource, and development economics with a focus on research, strategic planning, policy analysis and formulation, food security planning, information, technical analysis, and reporting. Mr. Isaacson holds a M.S. in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida and a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin. Read more

    Kirk RamerMr. Ramer has more than 20 years of experience in the post-centrally planned economies of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, including 15 years working in post-conflict zones and fragile environments. His expertise include promoting agricultural and SME development, improving trade, investment, business education, microfinance and business development services. Beginning in October 2015, Mr. Ramer will He was the chief of party for Georgia NEO with Chemonics and was a UNDP project manager for several years. Mr. Ramer holds an M.B.A. in international business from University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business. Read more

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