AgriForce is one of the seed companies that the AID-I GLR project has partnered with in DRC to expand the market for seeds, fertilizers, and phytosanitary products by introducing innovations in agricultural input marketing.
The company’s role is to multiply certified seeds, provide small packs, and create links with Village-Based Advisors (VBAs) for efficient local supply of preferred varieties. For all this, demonstration fields have proven an effective and fruitful forum for exchange between AgriForce, seed companies and farmers. AgriForce has collaborated with local seed companies, agro-dealers, and input suppliers and set up farmer demonstration plots on best farming practices and technologies. These demo plots are used as models for exposing and introducing smallholder farmers to high-quality seeds to increase yields.
“This initiative [AID-I GLR] has enabled us to improve our working methods and to get much closer to the farmers. We have also enhanced the presentation of our seeds through secure and attractive packaging, while also ensuring that all relevant information about our seeds and their use is included,” says Herman Mutabataba, Agriforce Founder and CEO.
Among the innovations AgriForce has introduced is the ‘small-packs’ approach. This has enabled seed testing by thousands of farmers in unprecedented record time. In addition, through the small-packs approach, AgriForce improved its marketing model with multiple resultant benefits. This not only stimulated seed demand but also expanded AgriForce’s distribution network to reach farmers in the farthest regions of its target area.
Geographical expansion is not all. AgriForce experimented with hybrid maize production for the first time. This also made it the first seed company in South Kivu Province to do so. The new venture provides farmers with more high-performing seeds, and will undoubtedly increase household incomes.
Moving from words to numbers, here are Agriforce’s achievements in South Kivu by September 2023:
- 8 hectares of biofortified bean seeds sown
- 6 hectares sown for hybrid maize seed production
- 51,664 small packs of 100 grams of bean seeds distributed
- 83,000 small packs of 100 grams of hybrid maize seeds distributed
- Establishment of 3 agro-dealers
In the March 2023 season alone, AgriForce provided 25,782 small bean packs. Having seen that small packs are an effective promotion tool, AgriForce is targeting 4 tons of bean seed for sale in the region this season, incorporating the small-pack approach to enable and expand smallholder affordability.
As AgriForce continues to work with local researchers to develop and supply a local hybrid to farmers in the near future, 83,000 farmers will meanwhile test the imported seeds.