In less than two weeks, I’ll be moving to Ghana to work as a consultant with an organization called Technoserve. It is my first time to visit West Africa and am excited to learn about the region. Technoserve works to strengthen the economies of the countries it serves by making the industries more efficient and profitable. Founded in the 1970’s, Technoserve began in Sub-Saharan Africa and has since expanded to Latin America and India. Most projects involve agriculture, since the majority of the world’s poor are subsistence farmers, though some focus on tourism, energy, and other sectors. The CEO, Bruce McNamer, explains Technoserve’s approach to economic development in a recent article from the McKinsey Quarterly:
There are significant possibilities in Africa to unlock value in different industry sectors, and these possibilities will grow over time. Success, however, will require the government and business to adopt a strategy based on an analytical and market-oriented approach, customized for the sector and focused on helping enterprises and people make money. While ultimately reliant on commercial incentives and viability, this strategy will probably require up-front, subsidized investments to seed the market, as well the coordination of stakeholders and interventions across the value chain.
In the case of Mozambique’s poultry sector, our nonprofit organization, TechnoServe,1 with a mandate and funding from the US government, undertook a comprehensive value chain analysis starting with demand and working through the supply of feed, to layer and egg production, the feeding and growing of chicks, processing, marketing, and, ultimately, retail consumption. Our team interviewed hundreds of participants in the poultry and feed sectors and eventually assembled a strategic plan that identified and quantified potential demand, the major constraints along the value chain, the high-leverage (and other) points of intervention, and a specific industry-development program.
Between 2004 and 2009, the Mozambican poultry industry grew more than fourfold, with annual production reaching upward of 23,000 tons of chicken meat in 2009 and consumption of locally produced chicken rising to 76 percent of the total market. More than 1,200 poultry jobs have been created. More than 2,500 small-scale farmers were trained and began participating in outgrower production operations, leading to two- to tenfold increases in these farmers’ household incomes. Poultry processors’ annual revenues have increased to $80 million, from $20 million. And the industry continues to grow. TechnoServe’s focus in Mozambique is now upstream (on a host of opportunities for the broader commercialization of the soy sector) and downstream (on the potential for retail chicken franchise stores).
This is a fairly typical project from Technoserve. I will be working as a consultant to the Agriculture Development and Value Chain (ADVANCE) project, which is a USAID-funded program with the aim of increasing incomes for small farmers and making the Ghanaian agriculture industry more competitive. The project has three components, each of which focuses on a different challenge in the industry:
- Component 1: Value chain competitiveness
- Component 2: Market access and development
- Component 3: Access to financial services
I will be working on all three components, with a focus on the first and the third. I am excited about this opportunity, and will be looking forward to share what I learn with my readers here at Develop Economies.