Established in 2011, BRiTEN (Building Rural Incomes Through Enterprise) is a Social Enterprise dedicated to increasing incomes and improving livelihoods through empowering rural agribusinesses (farmers and entrepreneurs). BRiTEN specializes in agricultural development initiatives, designed to facilitate market access, enhance agribusiness competitiveness, increase productivity and improve access to inputs and finance.
Non,2012 BRITEN wins AGRAFinancial for Smallholder Market Access Through Aggrgation (SMATA) project.
April,2013 USAID NAFAKA trains agrodealers in agricultural product knowledge.
BRITEN signs MOU with AGMARK to train farmers in the Southern Highlands in “Good Agronomic Practices”(GAPs)
Nov 2011 – Oct 2016 – Training and linking smallholder farmers and crop aggregators to markets – AGRA. Contracting, negotiating, postharvest handling, using equipment, farm planning, record keeping, pricing and costing, meeting buyer requirements, entrepreneurial approach in farming.
“An Agrodealer is an agribusiness entrepreneur who provides a range of services to the farmer – from inputs such as fertilizer, agrochemicals, seeds, machinery to advisory services, credit and produce marketing.”
BRiTEN provides supports to TANADA – Tanzania National Agrodealer Association and on occasion acts as the Secretariat to the Board.
Current Board Members (2009-2012):
Mr. Micheal Mahecha Chairman of the Board
M/s Adelmasi Vice Chairperson of the Board
Mr. Frank Mosha Secretary to the Board
M/s Mary Mbwilo Treasurer
The board consists of an additional 4 agrodealers who represent their zones. The Board is elected and is in its third year of term.
Good agricultural practices (GAP) are: Practices that address environmental, economic and social sustainability for on-farm processes and result in safe and quality food and non-food agricultural products. (FAO COAG 2003 GAP paper).
BRiTEN through its team of experts provides farmer training on GAP’s from production to harvest. Extension is core to increased productivity. Extension facilitates application of technologies and practices for improved productivity and post harvest handling.
Our business models:
“We know productivity gains are necessary and possible. We know that more fertilizers are needed. We know that fertilizer use in combination with improved seed can be far more productive and efficient, if we do it in the right way and in the right context. The question therefore is – what are we doing to get there”.
AGRO-INPUT RETAILER HUBS MODEL
Farmers ’ decision on input purchase is generally determined by the price rather than type or quality. This has resulted in the adoption of ‘one type of fertilizer/agrochemical fits all’, even if it is not the required type and amount to be applied and the increased use of farmer saved seed.
The above-listed limitations, coupled with low accessibility due to long distances, poor road conditions to input retailers, the bulky nature of fertilizer, weak market infrastructure linkages and lack of agricultural input credit, paint a bleak picture in which, even in the best of growing seasons with adequate rainfall and no pest infestation, most farmers meet only their subsistence household food requirements.
Majority of these small agro-dealers try to deal directly with the input suppliers and this forces them to purchase small amounts of fertilizer which translates to higher transport costs and thus higher fertilizer/input costs to the farmers. Importers and large suppliers are quite clear that they would like to deal directly with fewer retailers stocking larger amounts of inputs who have a retail network of their own with smaller agrodealers.
The model promotes development of hubs using spatial distribution in the productive farming areas. Bulk buying significantly lowers the cost of inputs due to reduced transaction costs. For input suppliers this serves as an added advantage of having few but efficient agents at the district level pushing their products out and also reduce their default risk considerably.
The model is based on the following premise: that the agro-dealer network is in the second development phase where more efficient systems of access to inputs in the rural areas need to be strengthened.
The model thus aims at consolidating the input supply chain by ensuring the availability of fertilizer, improved seeds and agro-chemicals in adequate amounts, closer to the village-based retail agro-dealers and rural farmers.
- Enhance synergy between the Importers/Large suppliers and the retail network
- Enhance cost reduction through bulk purchasing
- Creating efficiencies and quality of product flow from importer to farmer
- Increase farmer access to inputs closer to the farms and at the right time
- Increasing agrodealers’ working capital through access to trade credit
- Enhances business relationships between retailers and suppliers
The model is supported through advanced and customized training to the retailers as well as linkages to finance that assists them to understand how to manage large amounts of working capital and build sustainable relationships with the suppliers and the financial institutions.
SMALL-HOLDER FARMER MARKET ACCESS THROUGH AGGREGATION
Produce markets in Tanzania are highly disorganized and lack direct linkages to top level buyers who need a constant supply of quality produce. Smallholder farmers in order to participate in the market travel long distances to sell their small amount of produce or sometimes opt to sell at farm-gate and end up getting really low prices.
Smallholder farmers in Tanzania are not aware of how agricultural markets are doing in other parts of the country or where opportunities might be. This lack of knowledge on prices elsewhere makes farmers price-takers, leaving them at the mercy of traders. The lack of information and capability to analyze this information limits their ability to plan their activities for longer periods of time. The inadequacy of storage, handling, processing and other post-harvest equipment and facilities has limited farmers’ option in marketing their produce.
Due to these low prices, these farmers tend not to sort or clean their produce or in some cases to engage in dishonest activities by mixing produce with foreign matter in order to increase the weight and bulkiness with a view of increasing their small margin of profit. Consequently, middlemen have adapted by using un-standardized measures such as “lumbesa” (overfilling the sack to over 1.5times) when buying farmer’s produce.
The models aim is to structure demand allowing for the absorption of smallholder surpluses by aggregators thereby creating a stable market for farmers and incentives to invest in increasing production. By creating these structured markets, the farmers are able to mitigate the risk of investing in new technologies by guaranteeing them-selves a market. The model aims at improving the efficiencies and quality of product flow from the farm-to-markets with the objective of increasing smallholder incomes and productivity.This model is closely linked to the agro-input retailers’ hub model.
AGRICULTURAL INPUTS SAVINGs MODEL FOR FARMERS – WEKEZA UPATE PEMBEJEO (WEUPE)
The agricultural inputs savings methodology is borrowed directly from Care Niger MMD (Mata Masu Dubara) project. ”Mata Masu Dubara” in Hausa means “Women on the move” and was modified by AGMARK – The Agricultural Market Development Trust. This methodology strengthens the powerful, but often untapped, entrepreneurial spirit existing in communities around the rural setting. The rural population has an opportunity to save for a purpose – in this case – procurement of farm inputs during planting season.
The saving contributions into the association are accumulated with an end date in mind for distribution of all or part of the funds to the individual members. This lump sum distribution provides a large amount of money that each member can then apply to buying inputs. Mobilizing savings has turned around the smallholder farmer perception of their own power of resource mobilization. The model promotes a culture of saving not just for inputs but for other investments such as machinery etc that the group would want to invest in. This model builds group cohesion, good money management skills and upgrades the farmer to reaching a point where they
understand the financial institutions and can build a sustainable relationship. Even though the objective is to save for a lump sum amount to be used at planting time, the members make use of the funds for short-term needs on a continual basis so the funds are constantly working for them, earning interest and not just sitting idle in the association. These loans allow the members to meet their small, short-term financial needs for income generating activities, social obligations and emergencies without having to borrow from a money lender, take an expensive supplier advance, or rely on their relatives
This adds a limited credit perspective to the association. At each end of the “cycle”, the group members redeem all their savings and pay-out cash to every member according to individual contributions. In a WEUPE context, individual farmers will use the cash to purchase inputs such as fertilizers, improved seeds and pesticides at each start of the planting season. Farmers are encouraged to order their inputs in bulk in order to enjoy economies of scale.
The WEUPE methodology is built upon with the basic principles below:-
1. Group members save money in form of weekly contributions. From the accumulated savings, the groups can provide loans to members to allow them meet personal obligations.
2. All transactions are carried out at meetings in front of the Group, to ensure transparency and accountability. This also ensures that all the members are able to witness who has saved and who has not, who has borrowed and who has not and what this means in terms of net worth, at least twice a month (more often for Groups that meet more frequently).
3. To ensure that transactions do not take place outside Group meetings, a lockable cash box is used, to prevent unauthorized cash movement and the risk that records might be tampered with. It is important to understand that the purpose of the cash box is notprimarily to reduce the risk of theft by outsiders. It is to ensure that cash transactions and the process of record-keeping can only be carried out in group meetings and to reduce the risk of misuse of funds by the Treasurer.
4. The cycle of savings and lending is usually time bound. Members agree to save and to borrow as they wish from the accumulated savings of the Group for a limited period of time. At the end of this period the accumulated savings, service charges earnings and earnings from other economic activities undertaken by the Group, are shared out amongst the membership in proportion to the amount that each member has saved throughout the cycle.
5. All groups keep records: most keep written accounts; all groups are encouraged to keep written records and not rely on memorization.
6. WEUPE groups sizes range from 15 – 30 members. The members are self-selected and join the groups voluntarily. Membership is open to both men and women and every group forms a Management Committee.
7. Group members agree on a set of rules, or a Constitution, to guide their activities. A group Constitution performs two functions: first to provide a framework for governance, dispute resolution and disciplinary action and secondly to specify how the fund will operate and the terms and conditions of savings and lending.
There are three stages of FISL project activities:
The objective of this stage is training and organization of the group. This stage, the most important, constitutes the major portion of the training.
The objective of this stage is to assist the group in savings and credit activities and to become self-governing .
The objective of this stage is to assist the group to share out their savings and to become independent from the project.
All these models are aimed at graduating the farmer from subsistence to business and are targeted at intensification of farming and diversification of product.This model is linked to the model on market access by smallholders through aggregation