An NGO with a head for business

An NGO with a head for business

Commercial agribusiness for sustainable horticulture (CASH)
Country Director at ASNAPP Zambia, Dr. Langenhoven

2 JUNE 2012. Community farming projects in Africa have a much greater chance of making a real difference to the lives of rural farmers when there is a strong private sector company providing a ready market for the produce..

Many farming development projects in Africa have focussed on assisting farmers to increase yields to ensure that there is enough food on the table. While these programmes have addressed rural food security, they have failed to provide farmers with new markets to sell their surplus produce. After receiving the sound technical advice from extension workers and NGOs, many farmers had to watch helplessly whilst their resultant increased production got rotten for lack of markets.

Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products (ASNAPP), an NGO with offices in a number of countries across the continent, however, subscribes to a “market-first” approach, developing projects based on a sound business case that meets the needs of the intended market.

“We take a market-first, science-based approach to project development,” says Dr Petrus Langenhoven, agronomist and greenhouse specialist at ASNAPP. “The problem with many NGOs is that they don’t look at projects from a business point of view.”

ASNAPP’s projects are supplying well-known private sector players such as Freshmark, a subsidiary of pan-African supermarket group Shoprite and responsible for the retailer’s fruit and vegetable procurement and distribution. Outside South Africa, Shoprite has a presence in 15 other countries on the continent. Freshmark also supplies most of these outlets.

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