The Small Commercial Farmer model was developed by TechnoServe in 2012. Small commercial farmers are leading local farmers and businessmen/ women with the ability and motivation to mobilize technologies and provide services that will tangibly benefit their neighboring smallholders’ ability to farm, for a fee. Small commercial farmer candidates are selected for their farming history, behavioral traits indicating entrepreneurial capacity, access to viable tracts of land, capital to invest and their expressed desire to invest in this new business model.
The clients of the small commercial farmers are local smallholder farmers. The small commercial farmers select the inputs (primarily seed), services (primarily mechanization), and best farming practices to offer based on local knowledge of smallholder needs. In addition, they may play an aggregation role, buying back produce from these smallholder farmers and on-selling to large commercial farmers or other end buyers. The model aims to be sustainable through the small commercial farmer developing a profitable business model based on repeat purchase of inputs and services by neighboring farmers.
COPAZA was created on the initiative of some of the beneficiaries of the project funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands since the end of 2012, and has been managed by TechnoServe Mozambique through its Agricultural Program team. The emergence of COPAZA results from the willingness of farmers to have a common organization to protect and promote their interests. COPAZA a Producers' Cooperative of Alta Zambézia had its statutes published in the Republic Bulletin (RB) of May 19, 2014 - III Series, nr. 40, on the basis of which it is defined that "... it is a legal person governed by private law, for profit, with legal personality, administrative, financial and patrimonial autonomy ...". This regional cooperative has its headquarters in the town of Magige / district of Gurué, province of Zambézia (Article 2, point 1), and can build or participate in companies linked to value chains of the main crops practiced in Zambézia (Article 2 , point 3).
Its main functional parts include the General Assembly, a Board of Directors and a Fiscal Council, all of them elected for three-year terms. COPAZA currently has 33 associate members, with paid dues, and there are two more members in the process of admission. Initially, an Installation Commission was set up at the beginning of 2014, but after the formal existence in RB and the holding of private elections, Mr. Armando Catxava, associate farmer and one of its founders, is currently Chairman of the Board. TechnoServe Mozambique has the status of a merit member, also with paid dues.
In 2014, TechnoServe and COPAZA partnered with a Mozambican company called Sociedade de Desenvolvimento Agropecuario (SDAP), part of the Txopela Investments SA Group, to invest in the creation of seed company Sociedade de Beneficiamento de Sementes (SBS). Through a large investment, SBS constructed a seed processing plant in Magige, a town located about 40 km outside of the commercial hub of Gurúè, with the capacity to process seed at a rate of about 15 metric tons per day. The new SBS facility allows the small commercial farmers to process their seed locally, thus reducing transportation costs while enhancing flexibility and quality in processing multiple seed types for sale by COPAZA’s network.
SBS buys and then processes soybean from the small commercial farmers; unlike other seed buyers, SBS can do so at a larger capacity for commercial sale. With SDAP holding 80% of the company, and COPAZA members owning the remaining 20%, SBS’ strategy is to buy seed (currently just soybean but will include other seeds in the future) from the small commercial farmers, to whom they also offer training on growing certified seed. As of August 2018, SBS processed 146 metric tons of soybean seed from 24 small commercial farmers and it is expected to process a total of 160 metric tons by the end of the year. Since the opening of SBS, over 70 metric tons of soybean has been processed and sold from COPAZA farmers.
Global soybean production has grown rapidly over the last several decades, but Sub-Saharan Africa is still a marginal producer (<1%). Southern Africa produced 1,021 MT in 2016, with South Africa making up almost three-quarters of production. Mozambique’s soy industry has grown rapidly over the last 10 years, driven by increase in the number of farmers. In the last decade, Mozambique’s demand for soybeans increased, driven primarily by soycake demand for the poultry feed industry. Mozambique’s production is dominated by SHFs and has increased steadily to ~45,000 MT, despite very challenging weather conditions in the last years. Soybeans are processed into soycake and soyoil, while Mozambique exports mainly unprocessed soybeans. To read more about the Mozambican soybean value chain, please download the full report here.
Soy production calendar
The agricultural campaign, in the rain fed regime, is that which predominates in most regions of the country and also in the region of Alta Zambézia, which usually presents the following schedule:
set - Nov/deC
Either manually (with a hoe), or by animal drawn vehicles (only in some specific regions of Manica/Tete and south of the country) or by mechanized resources (essentially wheeled tractors with implements);
nov/deC - jan
CROP SEEDING -
1st stage of first season crops, usually grains such as cereals (corn, sorghum, rice), some vegetables (soya, etc.), cassava, cotton, tobacco, etc. (as the rainy season starts);
CROP SEEDING -
Sowing the so-called second season crops, such as most beans (boer, nhemba, butter) and some oilseeds (sunflower, sesame, etc.);
PLANT NURSERIES AND
CROP SEEDING/ VEGETABLE
Some tuber vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.); - some parts of the country are developing small irrigation systems, mainly based on motor-pumps and some electro-pumps, (final phase of the rainy season and the beginning of the dry season, in the lower regions with some soil moisture);
HARVEST OF 1ST
Essentially grains, cotton, tobacco, etc. Followed by cleaning, threshing and bagging for sale;
HARVEST OF 2ND
Harvesting followed by cleaning, threshing and bagging for sale;
Sequentially, as the 1st and 2nd season crops become available for self-consumption and market;
Selling vegetables, potatoes, etc.
Note: This calendar should be understood as a general basis, with adaptations to the various regions of the country, being determined by the course of the rainy season and the start of the dry season.