July 11, 2012 – MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala., USA – Two new IFDC projects build on the success of the recently completed Catalyze Accelerated Agricultural Intensification for Social and Environmental Stability (CATALIST) project. CATALIST was a five and one-half year agricultural intensification project in Burundi, Rwanda and the North and South Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). CATALIST-2 will build on the CATALIST successes in those same countries, while CATALIST-Uganda will take CATALIST concepts and adapt them to Uganda. Both projects are funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Embassies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the respective countries and began operations on July 1, 2012.
CATALIST initially focused on the introduction of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM), a set of agricultural practices adapted to local conditions to maximize the efficiency of crop nutrient use and improve agricultural productivity. ISFM includes the use of mineral fertilizers, soil amendments (such as lime and phosphate rock), organic matter (crop residues, compost and green manure), improved germplasm, agroforestry and the use of crop rotation and/or intercropping with legumes to replenish lost soil nutrients. IFDC’s introduction of ISFM in Central Africa’s Great Lakes Region (CAGLR) led to two- to four-fold increases in crop production, reductions in production costs and dramatic increases in marketable surpluses and farm incomes for 250,000 farm families.
In 2009, CATALIST project staff introduced IFDC’s Competitive Agricultural Systems and Enterprises (CASE) approach in the CAGLR. CASE is based on agribusiness cluster formation and the strengthening of public and private institutions’ ability to enable agribusiness and trade. The process of agribusiness cluster formation coordinates various stakeholders at the grassroots level, including small farmers, local entrepreneurs, traders, financial institutions, research and extension services and market information systems. CASE strengthens farmers’ capacities at all levels, giving them the knowledge and tools they need to increase the amount and quality of their crops and then links them to profitable markets so that they can sell their produce.
CATALIST-2 is a five-year project (2012-2016) that will continue and expand CATALIST in the CAGLR.
The project is being implemented by IFDC in collaboration with the Centre for Development Innovation of Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR-CDI). WUR-CDI will pilot the mainstreaming of a seed component, which is vital for improving yields and product quality.
The project’s goals are to improve regional peace and stability by increasing wealth and promoting trade and exchanges. The project’s overall objective is to significantly improve food security in the CAGLR. When the project ends, 700,000 smallholder farmers will have seen their incomes increase by 50 percent; together they will have produced an additional 1 million metric tons (mmt) of marketable cereal equivalents, contributing to food security in the project’s target areas.
The project will ‘roll-out and scale-up’ – increasing the number of agribusiness clusters and the relationships among them. Using the ‘market’ as the key driver for agricultural intensification, CATALIST-2 will maximize scarce development resources through the use of public-private partnerships (PPPs), and will partner – whenever possible – with national and international agro-enterprises in areas such as agro-input supply, professional service provision and output marketing. The project will also collaborate with Dutch knowledge centers and other agricultural development projects, and focus on effectiveness and efficiency, thus increasing impact and return on investment.
The goal of CATALIST-Uganda is to sustainably commercialize smallholder agriculture through improved productivity and market development, resulting in marketable surpluses that raise farm incomes in Uganda, and increase regional food security for the wider East Africa and Great Lakes regions.
Starting with the ‘pull’ of the market by working with commodities for which there is strong demand, CATALIST-Uganda will employ a systems approach to develop integrated cropping systems around priority commodities – Irish potatoes, cassava and rice – combined with an accelerated agribusiness cluster development approach appropriate for Uganda. In addition to agricultural intensification, attention will be paid to input market development (both seeds and fertilizer), output marketing, linkages to agribusinesses and improvement of the policy environment.
By the end of CATALIST-Uganda in 2016, 100,000 smallholder farmers will have doubled yields, achieved a 50 percent increase in incomes and produced an annual marketable surplus of 200,000 metric tons of cereal equivalents. This will help increase rural incomes and trade in Uganda and food security in the region.
Headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA, IFDC is a public international organization, governed by an international board of directors with representation from developed and developing countries. The nonprofit Center, with over 700 employees in more than 35 countries in Africa and Eurasia, is supported by various bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, private foundations and national governments. IFDC focuses on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in developing countries through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise.