Valério Vicente: The VBA that mastered aggregation and sales of maize

Valério Vicente is a 39 years old farmer and more recently also a Community Agribusiness Entrepreneur (CAE/VBA) under the Otumiha consortium, who completed the 5th grade before reverting full time to farming. He lives in Nioce village, Malema District, Nampula Province. Valério farms his family land since he was a child, cultivating mainly maize, beans and vegetables.

Valério grew up using the traditional cropping system of shifting cultivation planting local varieties of maize and beans usually getting relatively low yields. The only improved seeds he used to purchase were vegetable seeds that he planted during the cold dry season on his plot located in a low lying area which he is able to irrigate by gravity.

In December of 2017 (2017/2018 cropping season), Valério joined Otumiha project as CAE. The project trained him on Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) as well as post/harvest management.

Using the knowledge acquired from Otumiha support, Valério mobilized and assists 250 farmers, which he also trains on GAP, post-harvest management and advises on market dynamics.

The 2017/2018 cropping season

As part of his activities as CAE, Valério established maize and soybean demonstration plots using improved varieties and organized the farmers to visit the demonstration plots at various times. During these visits the farmers recognized the better performance of the improve varieties, especially the PAN53 hybrid from PANNAR.

During this cropping season he took the first steps in aggregation of product to sell to local traders. He was able to aggregate 12.9 tons which he sold for a margin of 0.5 MZN/kg with a total of 6,450 MZN (about USD 108) while he purchased 5 tons with his own money which he sold for a margin of 10,000 MZN (USD 167).

The 2018/2019 cropping season

In the cropping season 2018-2019, Valério contacted an agro dealer and bought 10 kg of PAN53, he used the seed to establish a half an ha of maize which he also fertilized with with 50 kg of YARA Cereal (23:10:5 Mg-2 S-3 Zn-0.3 at a rate of 100 kg/ha).

Besides, he also distributed 215 kits of small packs (50 g of maize and 200g of fertilizer) to his farmers’ network.

Although investing in improved varieties, Valério still had most of his farm planted with the local maize variety without fertilizer (about 3 ha).

During crop development stage, Valério begun to realize that PAN53 performed much better than the local maize.

As an active CAE Valério organized a field day to demonstrate the results of the improved maize variety and the added fertilizer application. The field day counted with the participation of 207 farmers (70 women). Valério showed the improved maize plot and compared it to the plot where he had the local variety. The participants were very impressed with what they saw. Together with the farmers maize yields were determined and the result further convinced the farmers of the good performance of PAN53. While PAN53 yielded 5.2 tons/ha the local variety only got 1.3 tons/ha.

He also bought 120 kg of maize seed from a local Agrodealers and was able to sell the whole lot to his own farmers and a neighboring CAE with a total profit of 1,800 MZN (30 USD).

During this season his aggregation efforts didn’t have much success because the SME he negotiated with end up without funds and he didn’t have enough time to find alternatives before the farmers sold everything.

However, he had good results from his own production. He planted 1 ha of local variety and 1 ha of PAN53 which yielded respectively 0.75 tons and 4 tons, with the improved variety yielding 5.5 times more than the local. After selling the 4 tons of improve variety at 10 MZN/kg he earned a total of 40,000 MZN (USD 670). With his earnings he managed to purchase zinc sheeting to cover his house, a second hand motorcycle, 2 solar panels, 1 second hand water-pump and 4 bags of fertilizer for the onion fields, school materials for his 5 kids and, he was finally able to do the “mwali” of his older daughter.

The 2019/2020 cropping season

Now that Valério is convinced about the advantages of using improved maize seeds, he plans to buy 50 kg of improved seed to increase his farm under improved seed from one (1) hectare to two (2) hectares. Likewise, some of farmers he supports asked and gave him cash to purchase 60 kg of PAN53.

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