Traditional Informal Market Effeciency (TIME) Business Model focuses on Traditional informal markets as leading avenues for commodity marketing and food trade in Africa. Over 80% of agricultural commodities in Sub Saharan Africa are traded through the informal markets. These markets however are faced with various constraints that lead to depressed returns for market actors but even more for smallholder farmers who supply nearly all the commodities into these markets. This model systematically addresses the inefficiency and low competitiveness in informal markets by reducing such impediments as high transaction cost, enterprise inefficiencies, lack of basic business skills by buyers among others. The TIME business model provides answers to critical questions on supply chain efficiency, addressing logistics and transportation, competitiveness, business partnerships and business trust between informal market actors and smallholder farmers. The TIME model also addresses flow of market information and learning for thousand of market actors along various commodity chains. Informal markets are drivers for rural development as well as hubs for food distributions from food surplus regions to food deficit areas.  FCI through this model has evolved 170 informal markets, over 24,095 informal market actors as partners as well as several local market authorities in enhancing market actor effeciency, business partners with commercial villages as well as critical hubs for food distribution and trade. FCI partners with traders and market associations across over 50 commodity chains, designs market hygiene, sanitation and lighting innovations as well as create market information dissemination platforms with market players. The incorporation of digital online trading platform through AFMAX, enhances trade effectiency by availing market information as a critical component for TIME business Model.

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Farm Concern International, FCI believes that combination of innovative technologies and inclusive business models is key in unlocking opportunities for smallholder commercialization and competitive participation in profitable markets. FCI through this approach embedded under the Commercial Villages Model seeks to foster participatory identification of demand driven innovations and technologies that increase farmers’ access to inputs, increases yield, enhances collective marketing action among smallholders as well as linkages to business services providers. FCI’s innovations include; ICT Platforms for market access and capacity development, climate smart technologies like ‘kijiji’ drip Irrigation kits, Village processing equipment and processing technologies, post-harvest management among others. FCI’s ICT applications in Agricultural commercialization and market development include; AfmaX which is mobile telephony platform based on USSD technology that connects farmers to markets and other essential business service providers. This application runs on normal feature phones in Kenya and has so far enabled trade among smallholder farmers amounting to USD 886,365,625.00 FCI also champions utilization of web and mobile enabled applications for farmers’ capacity development. A case in point is www.ehinga.org a digital platform for comprehensive access to Agricultural information developed and deployed to in partnership with World Vision Rwanda. FCI has also embarked on a Commercial Villages digitization process under eKijiji (eCommercial Villages) initiative a development that will oversee all services and solutions provided under the commercial villages infrastructure digitized for scale up. Other Innovations include; virtual real time data collection tools, near-the- farm (village) processing equipment designed by FCI and fabricated by selected partners across Africa.

 

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Commercial Zones approach designed by Farm Concern International, FCI under the Commercial Village Model focuses on sustainably deepening the impact at scale (wider geographical coverage) through enhancing vibrant agri-trade enterprises and investments.

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Nutrition

The African Traditional Foods (ATFs) promote production and consumption of nutritious, healthy, diverse and safe food by various cohorts, including under-five, elderly, pregnant and lactating mothers as well as invalids who are members of the Commercial Villages. These are highly nutritious traditional foods which are well adapted to local conditions and require low levels of inputs and are resilience to climate change, pests, diseases and economic turbulence.  The approach is anchored on the FCI Commercial Villages where villages prioritize African Traditional Foods (ATFs) for healthy lifestyles, through commercialization to improve accessibility to a wide range of traditional foods as well as household incomes.

Overview

The African Traditional Foods (ATFs) is an FCI approach to food security and nutrition through promoting production and utilization of traditional foods which are well adapted to local conditions and require low levels of inputs and are resilience to climate change, pests, diseases and economic turbulence. The adaptability to climate change and resistant to pests and diseases ensure availability of quantity, nutritious and diverse household foods. The approach is anchored on the FCI Commercial Villages Action Plan where villages prioritize African Traditional Foods (ATFs) for healthy lifestyles, through commercialization to improve accessibility to a wide range of traditional foods as well as household incomes. 

ATFs are highly nutritious and the approach fosters wide consumption of nutritious, healthy, diverse and safe food by various cohorts, including under-five, elderly, pregnant and lactating mothers as well as invalids members of the Commercial Villages. FCI has been on the forefront in educating consumers on the benefits of ATFs for increased demand through which household incomes are addressed to ensure stable and sustainable availability, access and utilization of these foods. FCI has addresses the poor man’s crop and livestock perception through consumer market analysis and awareness campaigns which has turned around this view. The ATFs approach is supported by FCI market-led programming through various strategies that ensure smallholder households integrate nutritious traditional crops and livestock for improved livelihoods.

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Rural women do not have the luxury of day care facilities for infants and toddlers, a situation that greatly restricts their integration and participation in economic activities within and outside their homes. Toto Care an FCI innovative approach is a mobile village day care unit equipped with toys and games to engage children in play activities when their mothers attend Commercial village meetings. This approach seeks to ensure that mothers with infants and pre-school children participate in village and group meetings contributing to decision making processes there in. FCI continues to work with the farmers to develop innovations that address their needs and that allow them to participate in market development and commercialization actively.

 

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FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond