Uplifting Children by Empowering Farmers

Working as a team to help smallholder farmers farm as a business

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how we partner

GAFCo partners with both non-profit and for-profit companies where mutually-reinforcing capabilities enable us to more efficiently grow better quality products, or where partnerships increase the well-being of smallholder farmers.

World vision and visionfund

In the Northern and the Lake Zones, GAFCo operates in a 3-In-1 structure with World Vision and VisionFund. 3-In-1 means three organizations acting as one to connect poor farmers to global markets. Working together, the 3-In-1 partners help deliver the social capital, financial capital, inputs, knowledge, and markets to create a self-funding, self-replicating farming ecosystem that permanently delivers an ever-greater number of children out of extreme poverty. World Vision builds upon this foundation, helping ensure that family needs are met in the areas of health, nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene; education; and spiritual development, protection, and justice.


Smallholder farmers transitioning from subsistence to commercial farming are held back by dependency mindset and a local environment that is unfavorable to business. World Vision advocates for business-friendly policies, trains farmers in financial literacy, and is adapting its acclaimed Empowered Worldview program to instill the values of personal initiative and business ethics in farmers and community leaders. World Vision organizes producer groups of 20-30 farmers into self-managed producer associations, establishes mechanisms for conflict resolution and continuous learning, and then exits, leaving behind a sustainable model involving only commercial participants. 

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VisionFund provides seasonal loans for purchasing seeds, inputs, and mechanized services, as well as savings products that encourage financial stewardship. VisionFund also offers multi-peril crop and life insurance to foster resilience in the face of drought, flood, disease, and pests, as well as tragic life events, so farmers feel secure to invest in growing their farming businesses. 


Three organizations acting as one to connect poor farmers to global markets

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The Agriculture Markets Development Trust (AMDT) was established by the Governments of Denmark, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland to unleash large scale systemic change in agricultural market systems in Tanzania such that productive poor women, men, and youth are able to take advantage of more inclusive, resilient and competitive market systems.

AMDT works with the private sector, government, and civil society organisations to promote the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach to stimulate changes to market systems that provide for those living in poverty. AMDT achieves this by investing, together with market actors, in interventions that are: (i) based on diagnosed constraints and pro-poor gender balanced opportunities; (ii) well-coordinated to leverage investments and resources targeting similar outcomes; (iii) stimulate the development of inclusive, competitive, and resilient agricultural market systems, leading to sustained benefits and impacts for the poor; and (iv) adopt a gender sensitive value chain development approach. 

AMDT awarded a grant to the 3-in-1 public/private partnership (GAFCo, World Vision Tanzania, and VisionFund Tanzania) for its innovative, technology enabled, self-sustaining, self-replicating commercial hub model that addresses these constraints in the sunflower value-chain that keep productive poor farmers trapped in poverty:

  • Unavailability of reliable seeds and other agricultural inputs,
  • Inability of producing high quality crop efficiently,
  • Disconnection from competitive crop markets,
  • Lack of capital to purchase inputs and fund growth,
  • Dependency mind-set and business-unfriendly local environment,
  • Weather variability and lack of multi-peril insurance to mitigate the risk.

The partnership from 2018-2020 is projected to increase incomes for nearly 4,000 farmers (40% men, 40% women, 20% youth) and 35,000 family members; create 5,000 jobs (farm labor, transport, and processing); and establish 340+ producer groups and 25+ producer associations. By 2020, farmers are projected to produce nearly 9,600 MT of sunflower oilseeds, 2,900 MT of sunflower oil, and access $2.6m in loans. 


Mechanized conservation agriculture for smallholder farmers

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Farmers simply cannot expand rain-fed cash crop production without the use of tractors and farming implements (e.g., rippers, planters, sprayers, harvesters). GAFCo operates the largest fleet of mechanized equipment in Tanzania offering services to its 400+ large and mid-scale farmers, and small-scale consolidated farmers. 

A critical success factor in GAFCo’s social mission, sustainability, and achieving economies of scale is empowering mid-scale farmers, producer group,s and small businesses participants to own and operate farming technology, thus increasing their income, while creating jobs and businesses servicing agriculture activities at scale.

To accomplish this goal, GAFCo has teamed with VisionFund Tanzania, LonAgro Tanzania, and John Deere. This partnership trains qualified participants in financial and business literacy; demonstrates the benefits and use of farming technology at the GAFCo Academy; and provides participants access to low-interest loans to procure farming technology.

VisionFund Tanzania has been operating in Tanzania for 20 years providing innovative microfinance products and services to smallholder farmers. VisionFund is currently the 4th largest and fastest growing microfinance institution in Tanzania.

LonAgro Tanzania is part of the LONRHO Machinery Group within the Market Expanses Services (MES) Division of LONRHO. LONRHO MES provides a route to new countries and markets for established brands at a low cost and reduced risk, through the provision of local infrastructure, networks and expertise. The LONRHO Machinery Group currently consists of exclusive dealerships for John Deere agricultural equipment across seven countries with a joint venture in Ethiopia. LonAgro Tanzania employs 50 people, has 6 dealership locations across the country and is committed to providing service excellence to the agricultural sector.

John Deere is the brand name of Deere & Company, an American corporation, manufactures agricultural, construction and forestry machinery, diesel engines, drivetrains used in heavy equipment, and lawn care equipment.  In 2017, it was listed as 105th in the Fortune 500 America's ranking and was ranked 407th in the global ranking. The company also provides financial services and other related activities. John Deere is committed to those linked to the land, and their business is built globally on supporting food security and rural prosperity. John Deere established a corporate presence in Africa in 1962 and stays strongly committed towards the agricultural development in Africa and Tanzania in particular.