ACOF and N2Africa: the soyabean partnership

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Agro Commercial Olinda Fondo (ACOF) is a woman-headed agribusiness company based in Mocuba District of Zambezia Province in Mozambique. ACOF produces and markets soyabeans and maize, selling mostly to the poultry industry. To supplement its own production, ACOF has an outgrower scheme involving women smallholder farmer groups in several districts: Dhere, Mocuba, Lugela, Maganja da Costa, Morrumbala, Gurue, Maua, Malema and Alto-Molocue. Ms Olinda Fondo, founder of ACOF, calls her outgrowers “my farmers”. To facilitate production, ACOF provides the farmers with assistance on land preparation and a steady supply of certified seed and other inputs. In spite of this, farmers’ returns on investment were low, mainly due to poor agronomic practices. ACOF and N2Africa focused on capacity building, addressing specific agronomic aspects (appropriate sowing time, optimal planting density, the benefits of using inoculants, post-harvesting handling, rotation sequence) to help farmers increase their soyabean productivity.

Left: Wilson Leonardo showing a farmer how to thin a soyabean field for optimal density

Right: Wilson Leonardo from N2Africa showing farmers how to thin a soyabean field for optimal density

(Photo credits Wilson Leonardo)

Ms Olinda sees big benefits from this partnership: “In the past I would provide my farmers 100-120 kg of soyabean seed for one hectare of land. Now, because farmers are planting at optimal density, the same quantity of seed is sufficient for two hectares. This allows us to save seed and reduce costs.”

The partnership also facilitated the introduction of yield-enhancing Rhizobium inoculants. Ms Olinda adds: “I want to thank N2Africa for bringing this new technology. Now that we are applying inoculants, yield has increased. Even our soyabean looks beautiful, with dark green leaves.”

Ms Olinda is proud of the partnership with N2Africa. “I want to thank God that N2Africa has crossed my path. The knowledge you provide to my farmers and to me are even more valuable than receiving money or inputs.”

During the closing meeting with the N2Africa team, Ms Olinda promised to replicate GAPs with other farmer groups. The ACOF collaboration is a good example of sustainable partnerships established by N2Africa in Mozambique.

Ms Olinda Fondo, founder of ACOF