Agro-dealership is more than just a source of income!
There are two objectives of establishing Agro-dealer groups in the IMPACT project: The first is to address the challenges of the rural farming community’s access to agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilizers, pesticide chemicals, etc.) in the required quality, quantity and time; and the second is to create jobs for the rural youth.
Ms. Denberie Gizachew, is one of the agro-dealers in the Amhara region's Baso Liben district who is supported by the AGRA-funded IMPACT (Improving Market-led Production of selected Agricultural Commodities in Targeted woredas of Amhara and Tigray) project
Ms. Denberie, like many other young people in the country, has struggled to find work in her field of study after graduating with a BSc in Plant Sciences in 2019. As a result, she was compelled to live with her parents in a rural village far from the district town. She did not, however, sit idle during her stay with her parents; rather, she assisted herself by starting a small business making candles from honey-wax and threading it for church service.
Her self-employment of a micro-enterprise later assisted her to be selected by the district agricultural office for the IMPACT project's agro-dealer assistance initiative, in which target groups are recruited based on predetermined selection criteria such as self-motivation and business acumen. In March 2020, the IMPACT project provided her with seed money of USD 2,700, which she matched with funds from her previous business. Furthermore, the project, in collaboration with government partners, provided her with business skills and agro-input management training, as well as assistance in adhering with trade and quarantine standards.
In May 2020, Ms. Denberie started an agro-chemicals shop in the district town, where there were shortage of agro-chemical vendors. Despite her lack of experience in the agricultural inputs supply business, she was optimistic that her company would succeed because the training had improved her confidence in her professional interest.
During one of their visits, the IMPACT project staff observed over 28 different types of agro-chemicals, hermetic grain storage bags (PICS bags), sprayers, and tree and vegetable seeds in her shop. She established relationships with a variety of wholesalers and a large number of farmer customers. As a result, her sales volume is considerably increasing. She supplied and sold approximately 2000 liters of chemicals, 150 liters of fungicides, 418 kg of vegetable seeds, 25 kg of tree seeds, 560 PICS bags, and 55 sprayers in a year. Denberie's capital increased by 30% in a year from her startup capital. Besides, over 3,500 farmers (850 female) have got access to much-needed inputs within a walking distance from their houses as a result of her services.
Ms. Denberie is so proud of her accomplishments that she is currently earning more than she would if she was employed. She is pleased with the changes in her life. She is recently married and could afford to purchase all necessary house utensils on her own. Ms. Denberie articulated her accomplishments, stating that "agro-dealership is more than just making money. I am very satisfied with the service I provide to the farming community where I am from.” She is indeed exceeding project expectations by delivering seasonal agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers over shorter distances and providing advice to farers on their application and utilization.
About IMPACT Project
The IMPACT project is a three-year project funded by AGRA and implemented by three consortium member organizations, Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), TechnoServe (TNS) and Farm Radio International (FRI), with SAA serving as the lead organization. The overall goal of the project is to contribute to improvement of income and food security of smallholder farmers and their families in selected woredas of Amhara and Tigray Regions of Ethiopia. The project is designed to increase productivity and strengthen access to output markets of wheat, teff and maize in the targeted woredas. It aspires to increase structured market-oriented production of target commodities value-chains in 20 woredas and 160 kebeles of the two regions.
In the Amhara region, the IMPACT project has so far organized 12 agro-dealers with a total of 26 (14 females) members. To date, 32,000 kg of agro-chemicals, 170 kg of vegetable seeds, 10,000 kg of improved seeds, 150 kg of forest seeds, 1,300 sprayers, 16,500 PICS bags, 10,000 kg of hybrid maize seeds and other related agro-inputs were supplied by these organized agro-dealers. The agro-dealers have mobilized more than USD 400,433.00 in revolving cash, providing input access to 47,200 farmers.