MALAWI – Africa Improved Foods (AIF) has partnered with The Clinton Foundation to promote production and sourcing of high-quality soybeans from farmers in Malawi through the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI).

The foundation has worked across Rwanda, Malawi and Tanzania to increase the cultivation of soybeans as an alternative to traditional cash-crops such as tobacco to create alternative revenue streams for smallholder communities.

CDI has built the capacity of the soybeans farmers by offering intensive community-centered training under CDI’s Community Agribusiness Approach to be able to meet the strictest quality requirements of the market and produce high quality crops which can be sold at a premium amount.

Through the partnership with AFI, the farmers have been able to get a reliable market for their out puts and in turn AFI, one of the biggest processors of commodities in Rwanda has been able to meet its operational demands by locally sourcing high quality soybeans, which had been a struggle for a long time.

This May, CDI began mobilizing its Farmer Marketing Groups across central Malawi, aggregating soybeans in large quantities to be sold to AIF.

“For years, the agricultural sector has been faced with the dilemma of how to better integrate smallholder farming communities into business models and supply chains.

“It has been difficult to find enough high-quality soybean in Rwanda. We are very impressed with what CDI and its communities in Malawi have been able to achieve. Their success shows the power of a community-based approach,” explained Prosper Ndayiragije, Country Manager of Africa Improved Foods.

AIF will process the soybeans into Super Cereal Plus – a corn-soybean product that is fortified with micronutrients and other ingredients and sold to consumers and humanitarian organizations, including the World Food Program and the International Red Cross.

Super Cereal Plus will be then used to provide food assistance to communities across Eastern Africa, with an emphasis on malnourished women and children.

In just four months of production, AIF has purchased 2.2 million pounds (997 metric tons) of soybeans produced by CDI farming communities in Malawi, generating more than US$408,000 for the Malawian economy.

Having this capital injection go directly into the hands of smallholders is crucially important to build trust in this model.

“To see the incredible hard work of our smallholder farming partners finally beginning to yield returns for them is both powerful and rewarding.,” said Ariana Constant, Director of the Clinton Development Initiative.