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Agri-Projects

The Inhambane Province of Mozambique has some of the most productive agricultural land, and a dazzling array of tourism opportunities that defy description. Much of this potential is not being realized for the benefit of local community members, as Mozambique pulls itself out of decades of civil war.

An estimated 600,000ha of coconut plantations centered around the towns of Inhambane and Maxixe is a largely unexploited resource, as is a range of other agricultural crops grown in the region, such as Cassava, Cashew nuts, Mafura and various fruits. Further north, coconut plantations were not historically planted due to cultural pressures, but the landscape, topography and soils indicate that there is indeed an untapped potential. This proposal presents a profitable, responsible, and sustainable option to economic empowerment, for all stakeholders.

This proposal is the result of years of dedicated activity by host of organizations and is a fine example of private – public – people - development partnerships in action.

The Mineseeker Foundationis an international not-for-profit dedicated to the location and eradication of landmines and the rehabilitation of land and people in affected countries through sustainable solutions. The Sole of Africa is global campaign initiated by the Mineseeker Foundation operating in a range of countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.The Sole of Africa consists of a number of sustainable solutions for those people affected by war such as the rehabilitation of land, building commercial and social infrastructures, rebuilding communities and assisting people with prosthetics.

Hende Wayela Empreendimentos (Hende) is a respected Mozambican enterprise that has identified the need for broad based economic and social upliftment in the Inhambane province. Hende addresses this need through a concept called a Nucleus of Spiral Development - the brain child of Mr Jose Jonaze (a prominent Mozambican businessman) and Mr. Eric du Plessis (who hails from South Africa).

The two organisations have recognized that their common vision and initiatives complement each other and have combined to form a partnership to bring these to reality. This ensures that the partnership maximizes it’s skills, intellectual capital and resources. 

A Nucleus of Spiral Development refers to a model of development, using a system of core projects, operated at a central focal point from which economic and social development can evolve, or spiral outward. This outward spiral (organic growth) will involve the systematic establishment of pioneer villages (HIVES) in each district and a continuous evaluation, implementation/training of the most appropriate crops, systems and technologies available will enable the process of organic growth to become sustainable and profitable.  

Unlocking economic potential requires an approach that taps into existing resource bases, and develops entrepreneurial skills in a practical, appropriate and market driven manner. Hende will therefore implement the Nucleus of Spiral Development concept through three trends:

  • The first trend is to establish rural trading (or collection) (CaTCH) points, creating a market for local produce and therefore harnessing existing agricultural potential – 12 points are operational, and will be expanded shortly to 40 CaTCH points within 3 years;
  • The second is to establish Settlers Villages (HIVES) based on the principles of permaculture and guaranteed markets; - 40ha pilot site is being maintained in Inhassoro, and will be expanded to include an area of up to 1,000ha, and 100 families;

 

  • The third trend addresses the establishment of large scale commercial projects – in this instance a Whole Coconut Processing Factory  

This triple trend approach, discussed with and approved by local government, aims to develop productive, profitable micro-enterprises and farming units and is an ideal vehicle to achieve long term sustainable social and economic growth.

In the light of the impending Peak Oil crisis, sustainable methods of agriculture are not only a preferred modus operandi, but will soon become a harsh reality. No more can human kind afford to pollute vast tracts of land with chemical fertilizers and unsustainable contra-nature methodologies. Sustainable agriculture means working with nature and not against it, finding solutions to problems using natural resources, and developing long term strategies to build the soil, rather than artificially feeding it with chemicals.

Of paramount importance is the pressing issue of household food security, providing protein enhanced diets, whilst establishing a base of long term sustainable incomes for families in the agricultural arena.

The Mineseeker Foundation and The Sole of Africa, has recognised that significant and sustainable economic and social upliftment will only be realized by leveraging on capacity, innovation and defined economic models, without untoward reliance on international aid.  Accordingly the fit with the initiatives of Hende in terms of the triple Trend approach, addressing the needs of large populations in sustainable agriculture whilst leveraging off existing resources, finds these organizations working together for long term change.

The Hende Collection Points program (trend one development) or Coconut and Trading Collection Hubs (CaTCH) is currently being rolled out by an experienced team in the Inhambane district, and is a model of economic and social enhancement for remote communities. Through the systematic development of partner communities, the CaTCH program will unblock economic and social resources, and create an enabling environment in remote communities.

The CaTCH model involves establishing a network of points to which local community members bring their dried copra for sale to the Hende buyers. Once the factory is established, Hende will buy the whole coconut opening up further economic benefits for these remote communities.

When the Hende team comes through to buy copra, they bring with them much needed supplies, to stock the Trading Hub. Ultimately, a CaTCH Point will serve as collection and trading points for a range of produce, including whole coconut, fruit, nuts, cassava, and vegetables, as the Hende program of training, mentorship and the development of sustainable agricultural practices is expanded. Communities are rewarded for performance in terms of supply arrangements and ultimately the CaTCH Point and all operations associated with it will be managed by the local community members. Ownership will be vested in the communities and the CaTCH model will be expanded to include clinics, crèches, water supplies and other infrastructure, based on volumes of product supplied.

The CaTCH Point program will cost $2,2 million over the first 2 years, and thereafter operational overheads will be covered by project profits, as indicated below.

This budget includes the purchase of 3 X 30 ton long haul interlink transporters, 12 X shorter range 4X4 vehicles and trailers, as well as 28 additional CaTCH Points, and 20 boreholes for local community members. The Vehicles are replaced every five years. The balance of the budget goes to operational overhead, staff wages and running costs.

The Hende Impact Village Ecosystem for Settlers (HIVES) at Inhassoro (trend two development), will be the first HIVE to be established in the Inhambane Province and is the core focus of this document. Each of the HIVES will consist of at least 1,000 ha of productive agricultural land. The HIVE will be a home, during start up, to 100 Settler families, growing to a total of 300 families as the project expands, and further funds become available. At the epicenter of the Village is a fully functional commercial, civil, cultural and social cluster, which includes a crèche, school, clinic, religious centre, community hall, micro-business hub, communications centre and sports facilities. HIVES can be extended as the need arises, and it is anticipated, that with the support of the Hende team, the land under cultivation will naturally be extended, as economic benefits flow to the community members.

These HIVES will ultimately be situated in at least 10 districts in Inhambane Province. They will serve as experimental stations, within each district to enable the Hende Support team, with local and national stakeholders to evaluate and confirm plant and livestock diversity for optimum performance by district. Each HIVE will have a local agricultural and enterprise mentor who will have gone through an extensive training and mentorship program. HIVE Mentors will monitor and evaluate progress of individual settlers and entrepreneurs, providing constant feedback to the Hende Project Management Unit (PMU).

Each settler will receive the following:

1.    Homesteads for each family;

2.    Solar power facilities;

3.    Communal facilities, including Clean water and Ablutions;

4.    Training in the principles of sustainable agriculture and permaculture;

5.    Access to purchase Coconut trees and other tree stocks as well as basic seedlings;

6.    Access to a basic starter pack to commence food production;

7.  Access to a regular protein source – fish farm centrally operated; and

8.    Access to the HIVE mentor at all times for assistance and training.  

The first HIVE at Inhassoro is anticipated to cost approximately US $ 4 million, which equates to about $40, 000 per settler (100 settlers). As more settlers come to live in the village, housing and business loans will be provided. The value of each homestead is approximately $9,500. Additions and enhancements to homesteads will be encouraged through affordable loan products, as an added service to these communities. Banking facilities will be made available to Settlers to grow and expand their income streams and to enhance their dwellings.

Within the first year HIVE Settlers will be producing sufficient food for household consumption, with surplus production sold to the central farmers association. Estimated income per family for the first 12 months is US$ 2,800 (monthly average of US$233), and once production of fruit trees and coconuts begin in years 4 to 5 the family income may increase to nearly US$ 12,000. Given that the current minimum wage requirement in Mozambique is around US$ 68 per month or US$ 816 per annum, this equates to a significant difference (14 times the minimum wage!)

Subsequent HIVES will cost approximately $3 million each and will be the subject of further submissions to various agencies.

The third trend of development involves larger scale commercial ventures, including, but not limited to coconut plantations, factories and value-added enterprises. This proposal includes the commissioning of a Whole Coconut Processing Factory. The total cost for this aspect amounts to $2 million and is immediately offset in terms of investment cost by profits generated from processing of existing plantations within the CaTCH Point scope of operations.

The Total Project Budget to establish the Factory, the 40 CaTCH Points and the first 1,000ha HIVE, over a 2 year period amounts to $12 million.

As a result of incomes generated within the establishment phase of 2 years, (nearly $4 million) the Project Investment requirement is $7,500,000.

Working capital of $1,5 million is required to purchase feedstock for the first 12 to 24 month period, and to carry incidental commissioning and management costs.

A surplus of approximately $545,000 in Year One enables the team to carry through to the next period with a level of comfort, and from Year Two the project is on a cashflow positive cycle, ending the first 5 year cycle with a $2,329 million surplus. By Year Ten, the project has a cashflow surplus of some $8,215 million.

The Sole of Africa / Hende team is ideally placed, with the necessary vision, drive, skills and expertise to take this program forward, in terms of its logical expansion and have therefore an opportunity to impact significantly on local economic development, and rural household incomes.

This project will define a replication model that can be implemented throughout Mozambique and into other Southern African countries.

By ensuring that household food security and stable family structures are given priority, the expansion of this project will have a profound impact on future productive capacities and social re-generation.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The planned expansion of the CaTCH Points, the establishment of the Whole Coconut Processing Factory, and the HIVE for Settlers is a model sustainable social economic regeneration project, and another step by this remarkable partnership, a bold one, which we have the pleasure to present.

 
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