AFAP Helps Turn a Southern Mozambique Farmer's Cooperative into a Major Regional Fertilizer Distributor

In 2010 and 2012 torrential rains devastated the Chokwé district in Mozambique’s southern Gaza province leaving over 10,000 people destitute, many of them smallholder farmers. To help rebuild their lives these farmers decided to create a cooperative - the Limpopo Valley Agricultural Society (SAVAL).

With very few input suppliers operating in the area, farmers were finding it difficult to buy the fertilizers and other inputs they needed for growing rice. The shortages were also causing prices to rocket, with 50 kg bags of urea reaching $51 in Chokwé in 2012.

The cooperative was set up to procure and sell fertilizers and other inputs at accessible prices, find markets for farmers’ produce, offer extension services and create supply lines for agricultural tools, machinery and animal products, explains Mr. Roberto Lumbela, SAVAL’s administrator.

“After SAVAL’s inception in July 2012 we managed to acquire only 45 tons of fertilizer that were supplied to 225 farmers in the Chokwé irrigation scheme. We couldn’t get more fertilizers due to limited funding,” recalls Mr. Lumbela.

The situation changed drastically in September 2013, however, when the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) offered SAVAL a $85,000 payment guarantee to buy fertilizer. SAVAL was able to sign a contract with Greenbelt Fertilizers for a monthly revolving consignment, acquiring 740 tons of fertilizer in 2013. By 2015 this had increased to 2,580 tons. By June last year, SAVAL had become the distributor for Greenbelt (now known as Yara) in Mozambique’s Southern Region, with an agreement to receive an impressive 7,500 tons of fertilizers on revolving consignments.

The success of SAVAL has had a positive effect on both access to fertilizers and their use for Chokwé’s smallholders, increasing supply capacity and reducing the price of urea to $38 for 50 kg.