In the agricultural season of 2018/2019 alone, FtMA successfully engaged almost 90,000 farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia and developed a network of Farmer Service Centres that serve as a one-stop shop through which farmers interact with service providers across PATH. Since 2015, FtMA has catalyzed over US$30 million in smallholder crop sales purchased by commercial buyers and involved over 65 local private sector players, significantly increasing the transactions between smallholders and formal commercial markets.
The Farm to Market Alliance helps smallholder farmers receive relevant information, investment and support from seed to market, so they can produce and sell marketable surplus and increase their income.
Africa is recognized as the future breadbasket of the world, but the continent’s annual import bill is estimated to rise from US$35 billion to $100 billion by 2030. Farm to Market Alliance’s mission is to create a thriving and sustainable agricultural sector that empowers farmers, forges strong markets and improves global food security.
Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) is a public-private sector consortium of six agri-focused organizations formed to make markets work better for farmers. FtMA’s demand-led holistic value chain solution "PATH" supports African farming families to transition to commercial agriculture by addressing the major challenges that smallholder farmers face. FtMA empowers smallholders to become reliable market players through access to four integrated pathways: (p)redictable markets, (a)ffordable finance, (t)echnologies and quality inputs, and (h)andling and storage solutions.
Through PATH, FtMA structures market engagement, training, expertise, products and services. Stakeholder involvement is based on long-term linkages between farmers, market off-takers and other key market players such as crop aggregators, input and equipment suppliers, logistics and mechanization service providers to financial institutions, insurance providers and fintech companies.
Forward delivery contracts between farmers and buyers specify minimum sales volumes in advance to allow smallholder families to plan beyond the farm gate. These forward contracts with national and regional buyers have assisted many farmers in securing loans and crop loss insurance for the first time.
This model ensures that they can confidently plan, grow, store and sell their crops and maximize productivity, profitability and resilience over the long term. Importantly, it also builds the confidence of agri-market players in doing business with smallholders.
WFP is among the six members that have committed to participate in the global consortium. The others include: Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA); Bayer Crop Science AG; Syngenta Crop Protection AG; Rabobank; and Yara International ASA. Each of them brings specifically targeted expertise, industry experience and the asset base necessary for working at scale in developing countries.
As FtMA’s field presence grows exponentially, the investment required to scale up becomes costly. Adapting to these circumstances, and with the aim of reaching as many farmers as possible, the alliance developed and launched the FtMA app. The app works as a platform for ecosystem players to offer their services, as a communication tool to connect farmers with each other and service providers, and soon also a payment infrastructure to digitize transactions.
The platform features modules for commodity aggregation, input & equipment ordering and loan applications and other modules are under development. Along with giving farmers access to products and services provided by local businesses, the app keeps a record of farmers activities and creates a credit history that financiers can use to provide farmers loans. For buyers that want to plan logistics and pick high-quality produce at competitive prices, it can offer traceability and better supplier relationships.
The platform is expected to play a critical role in connecting local agriculture eco-systems and changing the way commercial entities conduct business with smallholders by increasing the transparency and traceability of transactions across entire value chains.