Programme Index Listing

Main implementer
Other implementers
TechnoServe, MarketShare Associates, EcoVentures International
USAID Feed the Future
Feb 2017 - Feb 2022
Total budget
USD $20.9 million
Annual budget
USD $4.2 million

Project description / objective

To increase equitable growth and incomes in the agriculture sector in Mozambique by:

  • increasing the competitiveness of value chains with potential to drive long-term, sustainable, inclusive growth
  • expanding the number of enterprises that can compete and upgrade their products and services
  • improving relationships and linkages between those firms and other market participants throughout the agricultural market system

Market system focus

Agricultural inputs distribution system

Inova is facilitating behaviour change within the inputs distribution network system. Its main objective is to support firms to expand their market while reaching smallholder farmers, for instance through products better tailored to their needs and budgets, new distribution models that can handle large volumes of inputs, and last-mile distribution tactics based on close collaboration with farming communities.

Supply chain management system

Inova's objective is to improve the networks connecting farmers, processors, traders, buyers, aggregators, transporters, sellers and consumers. It identifies partners in this system that wish to test innovations that could make them more competitive and better connected with Mozambican farmers. For instance the use of new management approaches to organise firms’ (smallholder farmer) suppliers, upgrading their supplier base and facilities and obtaining certifications to reach higher-value markets. This increases consumer demand for Mozambican agricultural products and improves the logistics systems to deliver them whilst building strategic alliances among offtakers.

Supporting systems

Essential supporting functions in Mozambique are thin. Inova is working to change this pattern through partnerships with logistics, marketing and ICT firms, along with universities and community radios. By identifying potential first-movers market actors who are interested in developing better services in the agricultural sector - and working with them to test new approaches and products - Inova can demonstrate that there is an addressable market in the agricultural sector and motivate other market actors to follow suit.

Programme interventions

Agricultural inputs distribution system

Inova aims to:

  • help input companies improve the performance of their distribution networks
  • expand retail of inputs by improving the value of products and services for smallholder farmers
  • improve efficiency in the system and reduce operational costs for agri-businesses by facilitating the development of strategic partnerships
  • support input companies to adopt evidence-based management processes so they can continue to innovate

The interventions in the agricultural inputs distribution system will:

  • facilitate an inclusive business model for the retail of inputs in the last mile, including re-thinking the approach to last-mile logistics
  • increase collaboration between input sellers and end-market buyers to improve quality and quantity of production
  • support input dealers to adopt collaborative business models that share price and technical information with their customers
  • support input distributors and retailers to adopt new marketing approaches to sell improved inputs to smallholder farmers

Supply chain management system

Inova is supporting innovative ideas that help agri-commodity buyers improve:

  • the performance of their supplier base, in terms of quantity and quality
  • the efficiency of their operations through establishing strategic partnerships with other market actors
  • continued innovation through the adoption of evidence-based management processes

Interventions in supply chain management will also facilitate the expansion of export market options while incentivising investment in the supply chain through:

  • developing new approaches to managing smallholder suppliers (farmer performance clubs, for example) to permit long-term investment by the commodity buyer in smallholder farms and incentivise improvements in crop quality that make the buyer more competitive
  • improving food certification services offered by national service providers and investing in certifications for industry leaders
  • establishing certifiable supply chain traceability
  • support for innovations quality testing, sorting and grading at the farm gate, to improve products in domestic trade

Supporting systems

Inova aims to facilitate the growth of:

  • marketing, finance, logistics, ICT and other services that are adapted for businesses in the agricultural sector
  • the role of academia as both a repository of technical and management knowledge and as a supplier of the future agribusiness workforce
  • community-level media that serves as a voice for farmers and acts as a feedback mechanism between businesses and farmers
  • alliances among agricultural market actors through associations that can convene and advocate for member businesses and organisations and facilitate the sharing of information between them

Inova is pursuing support-service interventions:

  • with logistics service providers to offer affordable, flexible warehousing and distribution services to input firms and backhauling space to output buyers
  • with marketing firms to develop products and services tailored to the agricultural market
  • with ICT firms to find affordable ICT solutions for agri-businesses
  • with financial institutions to develop better ways to provide credit or insurance products for agri-businesses
  • with higher-education institutions to better prepare students for careers in the agricultural sector and to provide services to agri-businesses through internships
  • with community radios to disseminate more valuable information about agriculture to their listeners and to give smallholder farmers a voice in the market system

Notable results (systemic change, poverty impact)

Overall, Inova directly impacted the lives of more than 180,000 farmers through increased productivity, efficiency and/or income, while empowering more than 100,000 smallholder farmers and more than 130 private sector companies with increased agency.

Amongst other activities, FTF INOVA engaged 15 input firms, more than 150 spray service providers, three universities, and more than 500 agro-dealers and agents who directly impacted the lives of 22,000 smallholder farmers.

In addition, through FTF INOVA facilitation, a total of 5,725 farmers, of which 36 per cent are women, upgraded their supply of agricultural commodities to meet buyers’ specifications and are benefitting from access to high quality inputs, knowledge, and better sales terms.

Agricultural inputs distribution system

FTF Inova engaged 15 input firms, more than 150 spray service providers, three universities, and more than 500 agro-dealers and agents who have impacted the lives of 22,000 smallholder farmers, by: 

  • addressing last mile delivery through ordering systems utilising village-based agents (VBAs) to create a growing and loyal smallholder client base 
  • developing regularly scheduled deliveries of inputs to 170 agro-dealers through 17 routes, reaching 15,000 farmers 
  • linked demand for inputs and services to output markets by developing spray service provision reaching 2,300 cotton farmers and 1,600 cashew producers
  • eight input companies offering customer-centred products and services, making them more attractive and responsive to customer demand, particularly smallholder farmers
  • a university intern programme developing the management capacity for 12 agro-dealers to improve agricultural input marketing. 

See the case study on agro-inputs for more details. 

Supply chain management system

FtF Inova introduced five innovative tactics which assisted private companies or supporting institutions to address different facets of the challenges faced to access markets for agricultural commodities.

These innovations have helped 48,273 suppliers to access the market for agriculture commodities, of which 46 per cent are women, and leveraged over USD $1,9 million from 16 private sector firms to expand market access for supplier farmers which resulted in over USD $17.2 million in sales, of which 65 per cent are sales from the smallholder farmers.

See case study on supply chain management for more details.

Supporting systems

FTF Inova partnered with support services providers in-country to identify and implement innovative ideas to provide their services to agriculture sector actors while responding to market sector needs at a sustainable price and value. Specifically, FTF Inova prioritised innovations in logistics, ICT, marketing, and communications.

Overall, the support service innovations engaged 334 firms including transporters, universities, community radios and more than 160 students trained, of which nine were selected to retailers of input firms.

The service providers worked through more than 200 agro-dealers and agents to reach more than 45,600 individuals mostly farmers. The logistics and transport services covered 150,000 km of different routes, transporting more than 60 tons of cargo with about 3,000 trucks registered on the platform.

Two marketing and market-research firms invested in tailored and affordable marketing.

See the case study on supporting services for more details.

[updated September 2023]

  • Read Dan Langfitt's blog: Working with the private sector for systemic change: why build a partnership facility in the first place?