Zambia covers 75 million hectares out of which 58 percent (42 million hectares) is classified as medium-to high-potential for agriculture production. Despite only 15% of this land being under cultivation, the sector has potential to be a major source of economic growth, given the country’s abundant fertile land and good rainfall. About 19% of Zambia’s GDP comes from agriculture with maize being the country’s staple and soybean among the top export crops. Among other challenges, farmers are unable to reach their potential due to climatic changes (rainfall patterns and temperature), limited access to high-quality inputs, immature service provision environment, limited access to affordable finance, and knowledge of good agricultural practices.
Griffin Services, a Zambian agricultural sourcing and input supplier, aims to build an inclusive business model through working directly with smallholder farmers in the maize and soybean value chains. Griffin aims to transform its supply chain by operating a dual-layered approach involving extension officers and agents. This model aims to provide inputs, agronomic support, and market access related services to smallholders. Currently, Griffin operates a network of six depots strategically located within the Southern Province and aims to reach a farmer base of 50,000 through a network of 50 depots.
Through this analysis, Griffin sought to answer the following key question: How can Griffin leverage its extension services model to scale its depot network from 6 to 50 to enable the business to serve and increase incomes for 50,000 farmers through sourcing, access inputs and other services while ensuring financial viability for the business?
This analysis demonstrates a positive business case for both Griffin services and its farmer segments although there is a need to test some interventions before scaling. Some of the recommendations from the case report include:
- Build the company’s digital capacity to support the envisioned growth.
- Invest in capacity building for extension officers and agents as well as test different models of extension services for efficient and effective scaling.
- Develop a farmer segmentation approach coupled with designing and testing a farmer service package to create shared value both at farm and Griffin level.
- Develop and leverage partnerships with other smallholder Value Chain Providers to support income diversification at farm level.