Eco-friendly Livelihoods & Rural Economy

Taking a fresh look at agricultural mechanisation in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Strategy & Concept development: Much of sub-Saharan Africa’s farmland is cultivated with the hand hoe; agricultural processing and transport are often done manually. For mechanization to boost food security, two questions need to be addressed: What are opportunities and risks of machine technologies? And how can the adoption of technologies by farmers be financed? We reviewed literature and facilitated expert discussions to understand the relevance of mechanization for increasing agricultural outputs and the social and environmental effects on different groups of rural inhabitants.

Project Design & Evaluations: We also developed concrete approaches: We propose mechanization through sustainable machine usage models, such as machinery rings or app-based rental, and customized technologies, such as two-wheel tractors and pedal pumps. Furthermore, we suggested adapted financial services: Non-corporate farm enterprises can be reached by working with alternative collateral, such as warehouse receipts or value chain finance. Small-scale farmers and processors can benefit from savings products, money transfers and small loans to pay for machine hiring.

Assessment of the social and environmental sustainability of a corporate supply chain in Bangladesh

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Strategy & Concept development: BMW decided to verify the social and environmental performance of the supply chain for a specific natural raw material in its country of origin. We created transparency about an informal and complex value chain and provided strategic advice not only regarding risks, but also regarding opportunities to fulfil the company’s social responsibility. We developed a value chain approach that allowed the company to assess risks along the entire supply chain of Kenaf up to the primary producers in Bangladesh. We additionally advised the client on approaches of stakeholder consultation and on methods of performance analysis appropriate to the various stakeholders involved.

Project design & Evaluations: Our analysis included agricultural practices, such as seed production, the growing cycle, harvesting techniques and interdependencies with other crops. Based on the results, we developed a concrete project proposal that addressed the main environmental and social shortcomings in terms of agricultural practices, organization of producers, traceability and income provision along the value chain. Soon thereafter, BMW contracted GIZ to implement the project: Capacity Building for the value chain stakeholders led to improved living conditions of smallholder farmers and increased the sustainability performance of all stakeholders.

Process facilitation & Training: In order to assess the social and environmental risks along the entire value chain, spanning farmers, middlemen and processors, as well as exporting firms, we worked with a bi-national team that implemented focus group discussions and interviews with different stakeholders and experts. We complemented this with a high-level expert workshop with local industry leaders and site visits along the value chains. This allowed us to map the value chain, to assess opportunities and challenges, and to estimate profit margins of each group of stakeholders. Project duration: 03-05/2013.

Developing a multi-stakeholder sustainable use of mangroves programme in Madagascar

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Project design & Evaluations: Madagascar is home to 20% of Africa’s mangroves. Many coastal communities depend on them for their daily livelihood and benefit from other eco-system services. However, mangrove wood is cut illegally for charcoal production and construction. Consequently, the surface of mangrove forests in Madagascar has significantly declined, posing a threat to related ecosystems and livelihoods. Against this backdrop, we developed a programme to foster reforestation, community-based resource governance, and alternative livelihoods. The programme is managed by the Madagassi national parks agency and works with both international and local NGOs to implement specific projects. We selected NGO projects through a call for proposals and developed an overall programme concept.

Process facilitation & Training: In order to develop a coherent programme with a multitude of stakeholders, we commenced the assignment by developing a joint vision among all stakeholders during a side event to the Madagassi national conference on mangroves. For the evaluation of the proposals, we organized a pitch day, where each organization presented their concept and was available for initial questioning. We harmonized the approach and monitoring among the selected proposals by facilitating a joint workshop with metaplan and Theory U methods.