Manica, Sofala, Zambezia and Nampula
2015 to today
Our USAID Partnering for Innovation funded SEEDS Project (2015-17) project laid the foundations for a 280+ strong network of last mile entrepreneurs selling certified seeds and inputs in their communities. This cadre of entrepreneurs forms the backbone of most of our current projects and is a perfect example of how agribusinesses can successfully engage rural SMEs and smallholders in their business models, generating mutual incentives while at the same time improving farmers’ access to quality goods and services. Through SEEDS, NCBA CLUSA supported 283 last mile entrepreneurs to sell 132 tons of full-price certified seeds to over 20,000 smallholder farmers in their communities during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 campaigns, disproving the notion that seeds and inputs must be subsidized for farmers to invest in them – suggesting, instead, that access is the greatest challenge to the uptake of improved seeds.
In 2020 the SEEDS+ Project, also funded by USAID Partnering for Innovation, took this one step further by increasing farmers’ resilience to climate shocks, and decreasing the risk of deepening their investments in production, through promoting weather index insurance as a risk transfer mechanism.
Individually, it is difficult or impossible to extend insurance to smallholders, yet at the meso level – with an actor who “bundles” insurance together with other products and services – this becomes viable.
Our strong and ongoing partnership with Phoenix Seeds provided just this opportunity. Together with Hollard Seguros, Phoenix has become the first seed company in Mozambique to automatically include weather index insurance in all of its product as standard, at no extra cost to the consumer. This was made possible by pioneering the use of a two-way SMS platform for digital insurance registration and issuing claims and weather alerts.
Through our one-year pilot, Phoenix Seeds sold 805 tons of insured seeds to 27,000 smallholder beneficiaries, proving that it is technically and financially viable to market insurance to smallholders via purely commercial channels, and demonstrating to Phoenix the clear value proposition in continuing to blaze a trail in the seed industry by including insurance in its product, as standard, for the 2021 season and beyond.