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Three million people in Africa to benefit from post-Covid food security programme

In an effort to achieve sustainable recovery and build resilience from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mastercard Foundation announced a programme that will support more than three million people in sub-Saharan Africa over the next two years

The programme will focus on building food security and increasing digital and financial inclusion within the most vulnerable farming communities. In addition, the programme will:

* Enable 65,000 farmers to directly benefit from quality land, seeds, fertilizers, mechanisation, and storage.

* Tackle the root causes of hunger and poverty through a $20.4 million commitment by the Mastercard Foundation. 

* Scale the work of the smallholder farming collective, Alluvial Agriculture. 

The Mastercard Foundation's COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme will be implemented in partnership with Alluvial Agriculture. The programme will directly support 65,000 smallholder farmers with mechanisation, inputs, agronomic advice, and market access. The programme will target an additional one million farmers with climate smart agro-advisory and market intelligence, benefitting at least three million direct dependents. The support programme will enable participants to significantly improve yields, increasing from 2.5 tons of rice per hectare to 4.5, for example, or from 1.5 tons of maize to 4 tons. 

“Farmers must be at the forefront of helping us recover from this crisis,” said Chidinma Lawanson, Country Head, Nigeria, at the Mastercard Foundation. “This is a sector where there is tremendous potential, not just to create food security, but to enable work. But this isn’t just about recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, it’s also about building long-term resilience in the agricultural sector so that it can withstand the effects of emerging and future issues, like climate change.”

Alluvial is tackling systemic problems that leave most sub-Saharan smallholder farmers unable to meet the minimum nutritional needs of their families and communities. Measures to contain the spread of coronavirus have made matters worse for farming communities by disrupting supply of inputs such as seeds, fertilisers, and access to markets.

Alluvial’s innovative business model provides comprehensive support to smallholder farmers, including training, technology, land preparation, irrigation, input supplies, and market access. The company achieves this by organizing adjacent farms in community blocks. This means that tractors, for example, can efficiently plough each of the smallholdings, saving weeks of toiling by hand. 

“With this tremendous support from the Mastercard Foundation, and expertise from numerous valued partners, Alluvial is transforming the approach to tackling hunger and poverty by channelling resources into sustainable food production as opposed to transitory food aid,” said Dimieari Von Kemedi, managing director of Alluvial. “We invite all farmers, agriculturalists, and others to join us in one of the world’s most pressing endeavours.”

Using technology accessible from low-tech mobiles, Alluvial is also providing training and peer-to-peer advice on farm and market information, including rating providers of inputs and services. Alluvial’s Market Information and Digital Payment System also enables fast and secure electronic payment through the Farmer Network Digital Payment System. Farmers can purchase from vetted providers of seeds and other inputs and services and securely receive payments by direct transfer.