STARS: Strengthening African Farmers

Strengthening African Rural Smallholders, in short STARS, is a five-year (2016 – 2020) project in partnership with Mastercard Foundation and ICCO Terrafina. Through a market system development approach the project focuses on improving access to finance and markets for 210,000 smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Senegal and Burkina Faso. The project plans to have an overall impact in the lives of more than 1 million people.

Country

Rwanda, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia

Start Project

2016

Problem

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a quarter of the world’s hungry people lives in Sub-Saharan Africa and 75% of those people are farmers.

Challenges that smallholder farmers face are lack of credit, low productivity and low access to markets that prevent them from improving their economic situation. Yet, there is a wealth of opportunities for agricultural growth, innovations and varied cultivation. Supporting small-scale farmers is thus critical to reducing food insecurity and poverty in Africa.

What is STARS?

Approach

Our strategy to address problems in agriculture is based on three core activities:

1.Access to finance

The STARS project is partnering with 19 microfinance institutions (MFIs) to develop innovative tailor-made financial products for smallholder farmers so they can improve and increase their production.

2.Value chain development

Through the market systems development approach, the STARS project is working to improve smallholder farmers agricultural skills and their position in the value chain.

8 value chains were selected:

  • shea and sesame for Burkina Faso,
  • potato and malt barley for Ethiopia,
  • maize and rice for Rwanda,
  • onions and black eyed peas (niembe) for Senegal.

STARS is also supporting horticulture in value chain finance.

3. Monitoring,evaluation and learning

Different learning tools are applied to broaden the evidence-base in rural agriculture finance and value chain development, and share the lessons learned.

Results

In 2018, the STARS project enabled new loans to 74,500 smallholder farmers in 118 producer organizations across the eight agricultural value chains in the four countries.

In addition many smallholder farmers improved livelihoods by trainings (40,000 farmers), better linkages to a market (80,000), better inputs and/or improved services (35,000) and agri-info for their cooperative (18,000).

Access to finance showed strong growth in 2018. This enabled thousands of farmers to access agricultural inputs on time and easing the repayment burden.

11 crop-specific loan products have been developed in each of the four countries. These products cover categories such as value chain finance, agri-group lending, agri-individual lending, warrantage for different crops..

The STARS project has helped smallholder farmers and cooperatives with setting up business plans that are under the attention of banks in Burkina Faso, Senegal and Rwanda.

STARS approach

Publications

STARS Senegal pdfSTARS BurkinaFaso pdfSTARS Ethiopia pdf

STARS Rwanda pdfICCO STARS pdf stars-Conference-Paper

Effectively Assessing Household Food Security Status

Reports

report rwanda stars report Burkina Faso stars stars report Ethiopia

Testimonials

Abdissa Bekele (22 years)

Smallholder farmer in Jaldu Woreda, Ethiopia

“After I joined the Chilanko primary cooperative I heard about the market linkage created by STARS with the potato processing company called Senselet Food. I was able to sell quality potatoes to Senselet and to be part of chip bags made by Senselet. We need better seeds and financial services, but I am optimistic about the development of a sustainable market.”

Highlights

New loans to
74,500 farmers
Training to
40,000 farmers
Countries
4

A-CAT: A Tool for Risks Assessment in Agriculture Finance

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Read more about A-CAT: A Tool for Risks Assessment in Agriculture Finance

Business Linkages Strengthen the Value Chains in Rwanda

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Read more about Business Linkages Strengthen the Value Chains in Rwanda

ICCO Partners with Agricultural Bank to Strengthen Value Chains in Senegal

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Read more about ICCO Partners with Agricultural Bank to Strengthen Value Chains in Senegal

​Navigating with Data to Increase Income and Food Security

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Read more about ​Navigating with Data to Increase Income and Food Security

STARS Program: Characterizing Smallholder Farmers Households

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Read more about STARS Program: Characterizing Smallholder Farmers Households

A New Instrument to Measure Food (In)Security: MAHFP

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Read more about A New Instrument to Measure Food (In)Security: MAHFP

The Importance of Timing in a Food Security Survey

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Read more about The Importance of Timing in a Food Security Survey

Effectively Assessing Household Food Security Status

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Read more about Effectively Assessing Household Food Security Status

Making the Market Work for the Poor: Case of STARS Program

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Read more about Making the Market Work for the Poor: Case of STARS Program

Developing Business Models with Agricultural Input Providers Companies

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Read more about Developing Business Models with Agricultural Input Providers Companies

Measuring Income of Smallholder Farmers: Some Insights from Practitioners

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Read more about Measuring Income of Smallholder Farmers: Some Insights from Practitioners

Warehouse Loan: A Promising Product for Smallholder Farms in Senegal

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Read more about Warehouse Loan: A Promising Product for Smallholder Farms in Senegal

She Sells Shea

In Burkina Faso and Mali, 80% of women living in rural areas are involved in agriculture and in the ...

Project started:
  • 2015
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Read more about She Sells Shea

Private-Public Partnership in Mali (PPP)

In Burkina Faso and Mali, 80% of women living in rural areas are involved in agriculture and in the ...

Project started:
  • 2015
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Read more about Private-Public Partnership in Mali (PPP)

Prosanut. Support to food security program in Burkina Faso

PROSANUT is a project that aims to tackle the very persisting problem of food and nutrition insecurity in ...

Project started:
  • 2013
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