Bridging the Gap

Our Projects

Feed the Future Senegal Nafoore Warsaaji (Gardens of Abundance)

As prime contractor, Connexus is leading this five-year, $12.5M activity which has earned consistent “Very Good” ratings on its Contractor Performance Assessment Report (CPARS) from USAID/Senegal for the past four years. The activity focuses on establishing private sector engagements (PSEs) with leading agribusinesses, producer organizations, and local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to create six “horticulture hubs” in different regions of Senegal. These hubs are local networks of more than 70 agricultural firms and six major cooperative federations working with more than 58,000 smallholder farmers, 56% of whom are women and 14% are less than 30 years old. The hubs provide rural farmers and agribusinesses with greater access to input technologies, agricultural support services, finance, insurance products, and post-harvest infrastructure as well as increased opportunities for networking, partnership, deal-making, learning, and mentoring so that more smallholders can participate in commercial horticulture.

Connexus collaborated with NCBA CLUSA’s Feed the Future Kawolor Resilience Project to link more women and young farmers to the hubs. Connexus conducted a comprehensive Gender and Youth Barrier Analysis and Integration Plan at the outset of the project to understand the challenges faced by these groups in undertaking commercial horticulture. In  four years, the six hubs have grown to include more than 58,000 smallholders, including approximately 31,000 women and 8,000 youth.

To date, the project has facilitated approximately $22M in agricultural financing for hub actors and established nine PSEs using $4M in co-investment grants that have leveraged more than $15M in private sector co-investments in hub activities and infrastructure. Smallholders have marketed more than 58,700 MT of horticultural produce at the hubs worth $31.3M in four years.

Connexus is also applying its Antifragile Market Systems Approach to the hubs to ensure that they can thrive in the context of continual stresses and shocks and rapidly pivot to embrace new market opportunities or prepare for emerging threats. The Connexus approach assesses and strengthens market systems capacities in five primary areas: optionality, innovation, variation, learning, and trust.

Examples of significant innovations that Nafoore Warsaaji is facilitating with lead horticultural market actors include:

  • With four private sector dealers, Nafoore Warsaaji promotes the adoption of solar energy by helping farmers reduce their energy costs through a solar irrigation kit rebate program. To date, the four partners have installed over 522 discounted solar irrigation systems representing 862 ha of newly irrigated land, benefiting nearly 1,269 producers, including 1,043
  • Working with the La Banque Agricole (LBA), the Senegalese national agricultural bank, to introduce professional collateral management services at key horticultural trading centers to allow producer organizations and aggregators to use their stocks of onions and potatoes as collateral to secure credit lines for more buying. This activity helped LBA extend more than $1,157,000 in credit to seven major horticultural buyers in the onion and potato value chains and helped avoid trade disruptions during the COVID lockdown, benefiting approximately 600 small potato and onion growers.
  • Helping the Caisse National d’Assurance Agricole du Sénégal (CNAAS) insurance company pilot new horticulture-focused insurance products, including heat-indexed crop insurance, to reduce the risk for small farmers to invest in commercial horticultural production activities. To date, these risk mitigation instruments have been purchased by hub actors to protect more than 12,133 ha of land cultivated by 6,945 small farmers and protecting approximately $1.4 billion in crop investments. The activity is also working with private strawberry traders Fraisen and Sunu Fraise to pilot an insurance product specifically designed for strawberry production.
  • Working with e-commerce firms Bay Seddo, Afrikamart and Proxalys to establish Internet marketing platforms to improve horticultural trade and logistics between rural smallholders and small woman-owned retail boutiques in urban markets.
  • Helping onion and potato buyer Bay Seddo improve the functioning of onion and potato value chains by improving packing operations at regional collection centers and building a 5,000MT cold storage unit. This private sector engagement is catalyzing more than $620,000 of co-investment from Bay Seddo and a $5M loan from Ecobank Senegal.
USAID Senegal