Interested in superfood Moringa or gourmand food Baie Rose (pink peppercorn) from Madagascar? F&S researched the potential and challenges of production, processing and export of Moringa and Baie Rose in Ambilobe district, Madagascar for GIZ. Too Many Words made two beautiful infographics that capture the main results of the research.
Moringa infographic: English and French
Baie Rose infographic: English and French
This research is part of the framework of the Environmental Management Support Program (PAGE) and in particular the AFAFI-North AF project, implemented by GIZ and jointly funded by BMZ and the European Union. PAGE aims at improving the conditions for the protection and sustainable use of natural resources in Madagascar. The AFAFI-Nord-AF project supports, among others, the development of six natural resource value chains in the DIANA region and in the Ambilobe district. Moringa and Baie rose are two of the value chains to be developed.
Fair & Sustainable Consulting (F&S) offers services on value chain development in adapted format now that many value chain projects and programmes are affected by COVID-19 measures and our clients have to work differently to achieve the expected results. F&S helps in developing and implementing ways to overcome value chain challenges, posed by COVID-19 restrictions.
Much has changed unexpectedly!
(Agricultural) value chains in Africa and Asia are hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Some examples: labour and supply shortages arise, access to affordable inputs becomes complicated, and restrictions on imports and exports may be imposed, while (also local) transport and storage may get more expensive and even disrupted. The export of produce is also affected by changes in trade patterns with major exporting/importing countries. Eventually the prices of food rise due to these disruptions in the agriculture supply chains, reduced imports and the closure of many informal markets.
For producers, processors and traders this creates unexpected and serious new challenges as business models and revenue models are affected. Insight in, and control of these changes is of crucial importance for value chain actors, as the above mentioned developments will force them to adapt their processes, products and pricing.
F&S helps you to manage these changes and risks
As value chain development is one of the key services of F&S, we are able to systematically work through these value chain changes with you, from a distance (due to the fact that we are currently not able to travel) and with national consultants.
In this blog we explain how we will still work with you in researching, (re-)analysing and improving your value or supply chains.
In our Value Chains Selection support we help our clients in making informed choices of which value chains match best with their mission and strategy and fit best in the changed circumstances. In our ‘distance approach’ we operate as follows:
We make intensified use of current (fast changing) secondary data from international online databases. For instance on trade and export statistics, price information of commodities, information on demand and trends, but also data on social and environmental and risks. We also use our own database which contains previously collected data, where useful.
We equip our national consultants with tools (surveys, topic lists, guides) to collect additional data (also for verification of database data) ‘on the ground’. Depending on in-country travel restrictions, they collect data using online questionnaires, via phone or online (video) conferencing calls, or during visits. F&S guides and coaches the national consultants in this work from distance.
For Value Chain (Re-)Analysis (which goes deeper than the initial value chain selection), we develop actor-specific questionnaires for use by national consultants, live, by phone or online. We hold online video conferences with key stakeholders to discuss issues. The joint team analysis by international and national consultants is also done online.
We start and finalize the selection/(re-)analysis process with meetings, now hosted online. A kick-off meeting is held with the client to get deeper insight into expectations. In the validation workshop at the end, our analysis is triangulated, and more input is obtained from key stakeholders.
For these meetings, we use the video conferencing tool Webex , supported by tools such as Mural or Padlet, both in plenary and breakout sessions. Breakout sessions and participatory tools (e.g. Mural) help us to assure that we get the opinion of all relevant people, present in the workshop. The clients ànd national consultants play a big role in these workshops, as they know the context and important stakeholders best.
In the subsequent Value Chain Development and Implementation support, we use a toolbox for market systems development solutions online. This includes tools for business model adjustment/ development (eg: design of services and inputs, linking value chains to financial services, developing/reviewing partnerships for market access, etc.) All this is done online. For programme implementation (once programmes have started or have been adjusted), we offer use of the KOBO Collect surveys to track progress. We also provide distance support in data analysis to assess progress and we coach on where and how to further adapt strategies, develop new approaches etc.
F&S is very happy to announce that our consultants Angelica Senders and Emma Feenstra will be facilitating an online Gender in Value Chains training. Because of COVID-19, we have decided to provide this training as an open-registration training for everyone to join.
If you’re struggling with gender issues in your value chain project and you are looking for practical training to learn more about this topic, this might be just the training for you! In 5 weeks, you will learn how to conduct a gender analysis in a value chain relevant for your work, analyze the gender-based constraints, formulate interventions to address them and develop an action plan.
The training will start on 15 June and costs only €895!
Nutritional properties, cultivation and processing of Moringa oleifera leaves
The leaves of the “Miracle Tree” Moringa
oleifera are becoming more and popular among health-conscious consumers all
over the world. The leaves, eaten raw or powdered, are considered to be a novel
superfood. In addition, development projects that fight against malnutrition
use the leaves as a nutritional supplement. Various organizations and people make
claims about the nutritional characteristics of theMoringa leaves. But,
are these true? Dasha Gretchikhine – intern at Fair & Sustainable
Consulting – dived into the complex matter of Moringa’s nutritional content and
its retention throughout cultivation and processing.
The environmental conditions for Moringa cultivation
should meet the tree’s requirements to be able to maintain optimal growth and
nutrient uptake. Sand to loam soil texture, soil pH between 5.5 and 7.5,
temperature range of 25-35°C and
other requirements should be maintained for the tree’s
growth. Poor cultivation practices can lead to high risks in terms of negatively
impacting nutrient uptake and development of the tree as well as the
environment. For example, over- and under-watering Moringa can cause root
system degradation and soil erosion or lead to a poor nutrient uptake and
photosynthesis rate of the tree. Therefore, this report has identified the
preferable environmental requirement of the tree, together with the risks and opportunities
of using various cultivation practices. One of the advises is to maintain a
soil moisture content between 5-28% by applying irrigating practices, such as
drip irrigation, that lead to a lower water loss, during the early morning or
evening to reduce water evaporation rate.
All processing steps, from harvesting to storing the powder,
influence the nutrient composition and food safety of the leaves.The
exposure to oxygen, light, heat, and metal contaminants can lead to nutrient
denaturation, oxidation, leaching, etc. Preventive measures that can limit
nutrient loss are presented in the report such as covering the leaves during
harvesting and transportation to limit light exposure, applying freeze drying
technique to lower the drying temperature and other. Nevertheless, processing
steps that secure a higher nutrient retention do not always meet food safety
standards. Room temperature drying, for instance, meets the nutrient stability
requirements but does not reach the moisture content standards to prevent
The research also compared thenutritional content of Moringa leaves with other commonly consumed around the world dark green leafy vegetables such as Amaranthus (Amaranthus spinosus), Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata), Cocoyam (Colocasia antiquorum), Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), Spinach (Spinacia oleracea), and came to the conclusion that fresh Moringa leaves have overall higher vitamin, mineral, and protein content. The research findings state that Moringa can positively contribute to the daily Recommended Nutrient Intake of an individual; however, the bioavailability and digestibility of the nutrients present in the leaves and powder are still debated upon in the scientific field.
In conclusion, the research recommends applying
preventive measures to lower the risk of nutrient and product quality loss
during cultivation, processing, and storage of Moringa leaves and powder. This,
however, can be troublesome for producers in developing countries because of hight
cost and time involved in the procurement and application of preventive
practices. The technical and financial feasibility as well as the efficacy of advised
measures should be field-tested.
Fair & Sustainable Consulting trains CBI in use of MSD
organizations engaged in international economic development search for ways to
efficiently increase the sustainability, impact and scale of their work.
F&S shows that Market Systems Development (MSD) is a method that can deliver
focuses on creating lasting opportunities and benefits for poor people by tackling
the underlying causes in the market system that block producers from improved
market accessibility. The major difference between MSD and conventional economic
support approaches is that solutions for these constraints are identified in
the market. Hence, after a profound analysis of the root causes of the
constraints, the private sector is assisted to define and provide a solution, through
developing a viable business model that benefits them and their clients.
An MSD Example:
In Ethiopia demand for tomatoes is higher than the supply. Analysis showed that farmers do not apply Good Agricultural Practices, which limits production. A conventional development project would train farmers, via their associations, to improve their agricultural practices. An MSD project however, will look for a private training company and support them to set up a fitting training and to sell it to farmers’ associations. In this way, many more farmers will benefit from the training and trainings will continue after the project end.
Increasingly, donors, NGOs and governments use MSD, and experience how this approach
is effective in creating results, that sustain after a development intervention
ends. F&S believes and has proven that the MSD approach is a more effective
way to fight poverty, reach scale and sustain impact. F&S supports clients to
get acquainted with the MSD approach and to apply MSD in their own development
CBI employees on Market Systems Development
have learnt how to build on existing services and find solutions and business
models in the market”
– participants of the training
Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI)
is also exploring new ways to increase the impact of their support. As part of
this, in November 2019 and March 2020,
F&S trained 14 CBI staff. During three days of interactive training, the
participants were introduced to the concepts of the MSD approach and concretely
designed MSD interventions for their current projects. Through analyzing case
studies from their own work, participants got a better and hands-on understanding
of MSD and developed their skills to design and implement MSD. They deepened
their analysis of the case and even made a new result chain, with the potential
to reach more scale and sustained impact.
now understand how I can go from MSD theory to practice” – participants of the training
developed new perspectives on their projects and shared their strategies with
each other. During the discussions, participants and trainers shared feedback.
for you as well? F&S provides customized (online) MSD training and support
is able to customize its MSD training modules to your needs and your specific project partners
and beneficiaries. We give our trainings online as well, therewith making them accessible
to remote participants. Our online and offline trainings include presentations,
Q&A sessions, exercises and case studies from your work floor, as well as
personal coaching during the assignments.