Transforming the Haitian Peanut Sector
Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corporation (“Acceso”), an agribusiness built by the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), was launched in 2014 with the goal of improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Haiti’s Central Plateau and revitalizing the local peanut sector. Acceso provides farmers with training on good agricultural practices, supplies input packages on credit to improve their peanut yield and quality, collects peanuts at conveniently placed depots in communities, conducts aflatoxin testing, and purchases the peanuts directly from farmers at favorable, fixed prices. Acceso then sells the peanuts to large buyers and the general market, establishing long-term market linkages that guarantee sustainable impact for farmers. Acceso works with a network of more than 3,000 Haitian farmers and has purchased, tested, and re-sold over 800 MT of peanuts since its launch. Acceso expanded its portfolio in 2016 to include other crops including lime, mango, moringa, sorghum, sisal, and castor to provide further income opportunities for farmers.
Acceso deployed Farmforce, a digital farm management solution, soon after its launch to run an efficient business and track key farmer data through multiple functions. Field staff in Haiti collect farming information on tablets and that information is automatically uploaded to the cloud where it is reviewed by local management. Acceso uses Farmforce to:
- manage day-to-day operations including data on farmer/field GPS registration, training attendance, yield forecasts, loan disbursement/repayment, and harvest purchases through web and mobile systems (tablets);
- conduct operational and impact audits; and
- achieve a real time, birds-eye view across their rural operations
Data-Driven Analysis of the Entire Farmer Network:
The Acceso team recently analyzed the data collected in Farmforce over the past four years to comprehensively evaluate their impact, assess the efficacy of their different operational approaches, and understand which strategies led to the most successful outcomes. This data-driven analysis helped the team to quantify their results and impact in a transparent and credible way, and provided guidance towards future strategic business decisions.
Acceso’s monitoring and evaluation (M&E) team noted that the analysis facilitated by Farmforce would be nearly impossible with a paper-based system. Farmforce facilitated analysis by allowing the team to pull specific data to analyze a specific parameter in the system. Acceso didn’t need to compromise on the breadth of data analyzed – often a company can only look at a sample instead of evaluating their work with thousands of smallholders. The rich data set demonstrated detailed inter-linkages between interventions and field results.
Areas Analyzed with Farmforce Data:
Acceso’s goal was to use statistical analysis to derive actionable insights to improve their processes and approaches of working with farmers. For example, given Acceso’s focus on increasing farmer incomes and productivity, Acceso utilized insights gleaned from Farmforce to focus on successful approaches to farmer trainings, input packages, and levels of credit access.
Understanding Business Reach
To understand the reach of the business, Acceso compared the number of purchase commitments signed to the number of farmers who sold their harvest to each of their depots per season. Additionally, Acceso compared how the area of land under cultivation for each depot fluctuated from season to season. Significant increases could indicate relative satisfaction by farmers with the services provided by Acceso or the profitability of growing peanuts compared to other crops grown, both of which are interesting indicators when coupled with other evaluation areas.
Linking Training to Improved Farmer Performance
While training and capacity building is a standard practice for social enterprises or NGOs working with smallholder farmers, analyzing the tangible impact of these trainings on farmer livelihoods and productivity is often overlooked. With the robust data that Acceso’s field staff recorded in Farmforce, including specific training records for each farmer, the team could scientifically assess this. For instance, Acceso compared the yields of farmers who attended multiple training sessions with those who both attended trainings and were provided with input credit packages. This analysis allowed the team to quantify the impact that certain credit packages had on peanut yields, which will help determine future offerings.
Evaluating Economic Impact – Credit and Input Packages
With “increasing farmer income” as a key performance indicator for Acceso, they analyzed changes in the economic performance of farmers from year-to-year. For example, Acceso evaluated harvest income values based on payments made to farmers as recorded in Farmforce during harvest collections, and input loan repayment rates across seasons. This analysis also allowed Acceso to plan for and partly control damage during the drought seasons. Moreover, working in partnership with USAID’s Feed the Future, a food security initiative that seeks to end chronic malnutrition and poverty, and partnering universities in the United States, Acceso is now reevaluating and optimizing its input packages based on data gathered from past seasons and successful past interventions.
Engaging Female Farmers
Effectively engaging and empowering female farmers is central to Acceso’s mission. As a result, a portion of Acceso’s analysis was dedicated to better understanding their work with female farmers. By comparing both female loan repayments rates and the percentage of female farmers who signed purchase agreements and later sold to the enterprise with the corresponding percentage of male farmers, Acceso was able to better determine target farmer populations for the future.
Informing Research and Exploration
After conducting the first round of thorough analysis, the team obtained a better understanding of farmer productivity and engagement. These results led to further questions that will guide Acceso’s future interventions and data collection strategies and enable them to conduct more informed research and exploration. For instance, clear baseline data gathered through Farmforce’s custom survey functionality will enable better year-over-year performance analysis, allowing the team to directly assess the impact of their work on farmer livelihoods and productivity since the start of operations.
Leverage Farmforce Across CGEP Operations:
Acceso Haiti is an example of the level of operational expertise and rigor within CGEP’s portfolio of social businesses. Farmforce has also been deployed in Clinton Foundation programs in Indonesia, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Malawi and Rwanda. Given the operational insights, ability to better manage sourcing relationships with smallholder farmers, and to create traceability in the value chains, CGEP plans to further deploy Farmforce across their existing operations. Establishing a standard practice of quantifiable, results-driven operations enables CGEP to create sustainable impact in the agricultural communities where they work.
Farmforce is a cloud-based mobile and web platform with customers in 25 countries across 3 continents, providing sourcing and digital transparency solutions with over 250,000 smallholder farmers. Our robust, mature solution has already demonstrated measurable benefits for six years and is available in 13 languages, with client-facing offices in Nairobi, Guatemala City and Bangkok. For more information about how Farmforce could help you, visit www.farmforce.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Acceso Haiti, an agribusiness built by the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), works with smallholder farmers along every aspect of the value chain—from providing technical assistance and supplying inputs on credit to conducting aflatoxin testing, from providing logistics solutions to purchasing and selling crops directly to quality buyers. Acceso Haiti currently sources peanuts, mango, lime, moringa, sisal, castor, and sorghum and has the largest formalized network of smallholder farmers in Haiti.