Why we are needed
Tanzania should be the breadbasket of Africa. It has been blessed with resources. There is a surplus of arable land. Soil quality is good. The tropical day-time climate, high elevation, and cool nights produce the highest quality pulses and seeds in the world. There is plenty of water in most regions. 80% of Tanzanian families engage in farming, and many countries with similar climates produce great varieties of crops. And yet Tanzania is one of the 25 poorest countries in the world, with 36% of its population living on less than $1.25 per day, including 7.9 million children. Most of these are farming families. Most farm just to feed themselves.
They don't earn income from farming because they cannot farm as a business. They lack good seeds, expertise, or markets to sell their crops. Only 9% have access to financial services, and only 4% have ever taken a bank loan. Climate change is having an impact, and a fatalistic attitude and dependency mindset have become culturally ingrained in their world view. Tanzania's per-capita annual food export is $12, while Brazil, a developing country with a comparable climate, achieves $118. Imagine the result if Tanzanians learned to make good use of their God-given resources!
GAFCo was created for this purpose. We are investing time and treasure to provide the best the world has to offer in high quality pulses, seeds, and oils while imparting knowledge, technology, and management to enable smallholder farmers to grow high value crops for the global market. We are doing this for the 7.9 million Tanzanian children who are living in extreme poverty.
"...a self-funding, self-replicating model..."
Tim Andrews - gafco Chief Development Officer
Great African Food Company (GAFCo) is a for-profit, social impact business whose purpose is to uplift children out of poverty by improving the capacity of smallholder farmers to grow high value crops for global markets. Profits are reinvested to create a self-sustaining, self-replicating model that impacts an ever-greater number of farming families. GAFCo works in all segments of the agricultural value chain and in partnership with input suppliers, banks, insurers, NGOs, farming technology providers, and clients to connect Tanzanian farmers to global markets.
GAFCo acquired Quality Food Products (QFP) in 2016. QFP has operated in Tanzania for over 15 years with a network of over 400 mid-scale (50+ acres) and large-scale (>1000) commercial farmer. Many of these farmers were once subsistence farmers.
Tanzania’s population is 56 million, of which 80% engage in agriculture. Any attempt to address extreme poverty in Tanzania must focus on transitioning subsistence farmers to farming as a business. Farmers face many constraints, and eliminating these constraints is the primary focus of GAFCo and its Partners.
Constraints to farming as a business:
- Dependency mindset and business-unfriendly local environment
- Poorly organized farming associations for productive poor farmers
- Lack of capital to purchase inputs and fund growth
- Unavailability of reliable seeds and other agricultural inputs
- Inability of producing high quality crops efficiently
- Weather variability and lack of multi-peril insurance to mitigate risk
- Post-harvest loss and storage
- Disconnection from competitive crop markets
In remote locations with under-developed economies, no single intervention can solve all the challenges that prevent subsistence farmers from extricating themselves from poverty. Their hardship can be mitigated by the relief of NGOs that intervene with aid of various sorts, but such aid does not lead to sustainable improvement in livelihoods.
Our strategic partnerships and commercial hub model address these constraints simultaneously in a single integrated system that provides high quality seeds and fertilizer, training, financial services, multi-peril crop insurance, mechanized services, and value-added processing to transition subsistence smallholder farmers to farming as a business.