Project description / objective
MORINGA is an inclusive market systems project aimed at increasing the income of 4,000 farming households. It will do this through commercial partnerships with private market actors, while simultaneously building household productive capacity through the provision of training.
Setting a modest outreach target is a luxury available from this flexible funding source. It allows for spending on parallel interventions such as household nutrition training. However, the project team fully intends to start systemic changes that will impact over 50,000 farming households in the project locations.
The project is taking place in Indonesia, NTT and Sulawesi.
Market system focus
Maize is a source of income for many agricultural households in Central Sulawesi. In 2017 maize production involved 30 thousand farming households. Despite the reach of the farming area, productivity in Sulawesi (4 tons/ha) is well below the national average (6-8 tons/ha). This is mainly due to the lack of uptake of good agricultural practices and unreliable access to superior seeds, fertilisers and pesticides. Historically farmers have relied on subsidised seeds and fertilisers distributed by the local government which often arrive late and are only available in the first planting season.
Moringa leaf and seeds
Two different commodities are sourced from the same Moringa Tree (Moringa Oleifera). Both the seeds and their leaves are harvested throughout Nusa Tenggara Timur region for their nutritional value. In some circumstances they are sold into the global superfood, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Despite endorsement and significant investment by the provincial government, the market system surrounding both commodities remains nascent. It has an insufficiently functioning aggregation and processing market. The growth of the sub sector is not yet meeting its potential.
Hybrid seed adoption
Improving the supply chain of hybrid seed through two partnerships with large agri-input supply companies. The seed manufacturer and distributor (the project’s primary partners) has agreed to alter its outreach approach to include improved engagement with the intermediary service providers such as small retailers, agents and traders. The intermediaries are able to more effectively market improved seed to smallholder farmers. This, when combined with improved agricultural practices, is resulting in a doubling of yields.
Uptake of good agricultural practices
Importantly, support for improved agricultural practice has been embedded into the transaction between intermediary and farmer - most successfully when the intermediary doubles as a commodity trader. The project partner has trained the intermediaries in good agricultural practice and supported them to create demonstration plots that serve as examples to customers.
Local processing facilities
Facilitating investment from leaf powder buyers to improve local processing facilities for moringa leaf drying. The project team has been able to generate commitment from local buyers to invest in the necessary facilities which are constructed under contract on local farmers' land. As the quality of moringa leaf powder improves as a result of the new drying facilities, new markets open up for the finished product including the lucrative global health and beauty industries.
Processing and aggregation centres for moringa seed
Development of a local purchasing system for moringa seeds by establishing production centres for moringa seed processing and the aggregation of raw seeds. Buyers of unprocessed moringa seeds and seed oil are investing in the production process in partnership with smallholder farmers. This includes both the facilities for post harvest management and the agronomic support to cultivate the crops for seed production.
Notable results (systemic change, poverty impact)
- 1,458 farmers participating in the intervention
- 8 intermediary service providers and some early investment leveraged from two PSPs
Moringa leaf and seed
- 1,736 farmers participating in the intervention
- 2 intermediary service providers
- Over USD $188,000 investment leveraged with one PSP
As part of the systemic approach to moringa production the project is developing both the domestic and international demand for moringa derived products in parallel.
While the internationally bound product production is being led by the project’s export partners, local demand is heavily influenced by government policy. Moringa has been grown and consumed in the region for centuries and the health benefits of the plant as a superfood have long been understood by local residents.
The project staff have managed to engage with the provincial government and in 2019 co-authored a section of its agricultural roadmap – declaring NTT the ‘Moringa Province’.
As a response of private sector activity and market demand the government and the church invest more than AUD $136k to support the existing business model.
[uploaded November 2019]