Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector: Farm Service Centre Project
The Farm Service Centre Project (FSCP), in partnership with the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector in Ethiopia (GIAF-Ethiopia), is establishing five private retail input supply stores known as Farm Service Centres (FSCs). These Ethiopian-owned and operated enterprises link targeted smallholder farmers in the Arsi zone of Ethiopia to high-quality agricultural inputs and extension services. FSCP is strategically aligned to build the role of the private sector and is connected to CNFA’s other FSC work in Ethiopia. Alongside larger GIAF-Ethiopia initiatives, the project establishes FSCs in the woredas (districts) recommended by the Oromia Bureau of Agriculture (Hitosa, Lude Hitosa, Arsi Robe, Digalu Tijo and Tiyo), and focuses on up-scaling of innovations and best practices for wheat and faba bean production.
This is one of two follow-on projects to CNFA’s successful Commercial Farm Service Programme, which piloted CNFA’s FSC Model in Ethiopia. This market-based, private sector model applies matching grants and training methodology to establish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that deliver farm supplies and services. FSCs are located in larger townships and serve as rural development centres that meet the needs of private farmers in their communities. These provide a range of inputs, machinery services, veterinary services and products, marketing assistance for agricultural outputs, training and information, and access to credit. FSCP-GIAF-Ethiopia’s distinguishing feature is a focus on the adoption of innovative technologies, which will impact over 15,000 smallholders during the life of the project.
Beyond expanding Ethiopia’s network of Farm Service Centres, FSCP-GIAF-Ethiopia connects the newly established FSCs to EGAA Agricultural Input Suppliers PLC, an apex wholesale buying entity. This linkage further strengthens the bargaining power of EGAA, which streamlines and aggregates the inventory needs of all FSCs from top-tier multinational suppliers. In turn, the direct linkage to EGAA strengthens the ability of FSCs to provide a consistent supply of high-quality brand name inputs at low-cost by negotiating for wholesale pricing discounts from international input suppliers, the benefits from which are passed along to smallholder farmers. The growing network of retail Farm Service Centres has a positive impact on thousands of smallholder farmers across Ethiopia, and increases the agricultural production and food security in the regions where they operate. FSCP-GIAF-Ethiopia activities also collaborate with the other implementers under the GIZ Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector in Ethiopia including IP Consult and Welthungerhilfe, especially in their efforts to promote agricultural innovation, train model farmers, build the operational capacities of Farmer Cooperative Unions, and facilitate information sharing between the actors along the wheat and faba bean value chains.