Ikuru sarl Global Development Alliance

Location: Nampula and Zambézia provinces
Duration: 2003 – 2012
Donor: USAID (Global Development Alliance)
Focus areas: Value chain development; export promotion; quality control; smallholder aggregation; access to input and off-take markets; fairtrade and Organic production

Ikuru sarl was established in 2003 when 54 of the strongest NCBA CLUSA supported farmer groups (or fora) grouped together to form their own trading company. A hybrid between a producer organization and commercial trading company, Ikuru combines the supplier base of a farmer cooperative with the business acumen of a commercial trading firm. Yet Ikuru struggled competing with the multiple large, multinational trading companies operating in Mozambique.

Through two USAID Global Development Alliances, we supported Ikuru to carve out a niche market for itself rather than go head-to-head with its powerful competition. With our support, Ikuru focused on high value, premium products that took advantage of its social capital. We connected Ikuru’s 22,000 owner members with premium international Fairtrade and organic markets, making Ikuru Mozambique’s first ever Organic/Fairtrade exporter. We supported Ikuru through technical support in packing, quality control, export logistics and international marketing, including establishing IIkuru’s own aflatoxin testing laboratory at the University Lúrio in Nampula – addressing the single biggest challenge to Mozambican peanut exports (aflatoxin contamination) by guaranteeing product which met with the EU’s stringent aflatoxin standards.

Selected results:

  • Commodity certification: 4,000 Ikuru producer-members certified by Fairtrade (FLO-cert) and organic (EcoCert) for soya, sesame, cashew nut and peanut
  • Exports to premium international markets: 500 tons of certified product worth two million US dollars exported to Europe and Norway, putting Mozambican product on the shelves of major UK supermarkets Sainsburys and Tesco
  • Capitalizing on Ikuru’s social capital for further premiums: On top of sales prices around 10% higher, Ikuru’s certified farmers earned a further $100,000 dollars in Fairtrade social premiums
  • Quality control: The Ikuru/UniLurio laboratory became the first commercial aflatoxin testing  laboratory in the country, not only facilitating exports but also contributing to the improved health of thousands of Mozambicans