Description/achievement of initiative
WFP, ICRAF and partners envision building an integrated farm pond support system capable of expanding and sustaining the massive upscaling of farm pond technology. The business plan addresses the sustainability factors that comprise a success upscaling system: financial, institutional, environmental, technical, and social. The plan embodies a support system that centers around the farm household and what it needs to take advantage of the technology.Outcomes: responsive financing system; increased access to water for horticultural and livestock production; enhanced policy support for rainwater harvesting governance; enhanced sustainable drylands farming systems and ecosystem services; improved farmer incomes, livelihoods and climate resilience.
The multi-actor Billion Dollar Business Alliance (BDBA) adopts a business approach to scaling up farm pond technology in SSA, which will initially be piloted, tested and perfected in Kenya before rolling it out to other potential countries in Eastern, Southern and Western Africa that fall within a predetermined biophysical and socioeconomic criteria. The choice of Kenya is strategic due to her long history in promoting rainwater harvesting for agribusiness development. This notwithstanding, other countries ready to roll out the business plan are immediately welcome to join the initiative and concurrently implement it through joint co-learning. The BDBA’s business approach is to create a platform for converging like-minded practitioners that need to collaborate to ensure successful scaling up of farm pond technology. The BDBA is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for smallholder farmers to acquire all the necessary ingredients/inputs (technology, financing, training/capacity, inputs, markets, etc.) to support the production system and enhance linkage with markets; hence foster value-chain based agro-enterprise development. To ensure better production and faster returns on investment, the BDBA will adopt an innovative financing mechanism, Built, Manage and Transfer (BMT). BMT will reduce risks to both the farmers and financial institutions (lending partners). Under the BMT financing model, BDBA will guarantee production, marketing and repayment of loans by farmers by working closely with farmers to build the system, manage it to ensure optimal production, link farmers to markets, and once the investment cost is recouped, transfer operation and maintenance to farmers while continuing to strengthen marketing linkages. The BDBA will also incorporate agro-enterprise insurance to further reduce the risks to farmers and lenders. BDBA will ensure that farmers have access to appropriate technology (dam-liners, drip irrigation, pumps and greenhouses) alongside technical support from government, NGO’s and private sectors (inputs and marketing) who will ensure that the farmer’s crops are profitable and marketable, in order for farmers to repay loans. With such support, farmers can jump-start their household's pathway out of poverty. Such transformation is what is happening in many WFP sites in Kenya as well as in ICRAF supported sites in Nakuru and Makueni Counties in Kenya, and otherpilot areas in eastern and southern Africa.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
The adaptability of farm pond technology is based on low skill requirements, which makes it easier to train local artisans to site, construct and operate the technology. Scaling up of the technology will lead to mass training and employment for youth groups, and rural entrepreneurship for construction and technical backstopping. Appropriate local capacity building and awareness creation on farm pond technology and responsive financing mechanisms will enhance on-farm production skills as well as financial inclusion. In addition to technical and financial training, there will a strong focus on community organization and planning in order to enhance group dynamics, social reciprocity and collective responsibility. There will also be training for strengthening of marketing groups and/or cooperatives.
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
Not yet determined, however a Secretariat will be established at Searnet/ICRAF, Nairobi, in the coming months.Current status: 1. The BDBA partners have committed institutionally to the project.2. Partners have the technical support in place with the skills to advise farmers on the proper siting and construction of farm ponds. These technicians are both private entrepreneurs and partner/agency staff. 3. Communities are already being mobilized by WFP and WVI through current or new producer groups, farmers’ groups, or women’s groups. 4. Loan programs are being developed, spearheaded by a bank, a micro-credit institution, or an NGO. In Kenya, several banks including Equity Bank, Chase Bank and Rafiki DTM, have launched loan programs to target Kenyan farmers and youth. As these programs grow in size they will be further capitalized by investors/donors, and risk coverage provided by insurance underwriters (WFP is testing a pilot insurance scheme in October, 2016). An exploration of how village savings can be linked with credit institutions to facilitate upscaling is taking place.5. Through WFP's P4P programme, markets are being linked to smallholder producers to provide the profitable opportunities for expanding their production. Value chains need to be developed. 6. The plan has strong support of the Kenyan and county governments in providing technical assistance and the enabling environment for transforming livelihoods.7. The plan has budget commitment from most of the partners and a commitment by them to begin implementation in July. 8. The plan has been presented to donors at the global level (at COP21) and in Kenya to the ASAL Donor Group. A number of funding proposals are pending.
The International Agro-forestry Center (ICRAF/CGIAR) , the World Food Programme (Kenya), World Vision International, Kenya Rainwater Harvesting Association, Kenya Climate Innovation Center, Equity Bank and G-North, Kenya Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Water and Environmrnt