NewForesight consultants frequently travel to the field. This year consultants Laure Heilbron and William Saab flew to Rwanda on assignment for IFC. Consultant Joost Gorter just returned from visiting Indonesia for the second time this year, while consultant Sharon Hesp is back in the office from a trip to Burkina Faso and Tanzania for a Strategic Learning Assessment that is being conducted for Vredeseilanden.

Optimizing the maize and soy value chains in Rwanda
How to support the development, growth and competitiveness of the maize and soy sectors in Rwanda to create opportunities for smallholder famers to escape poverty, enable investments and make distribution chains more sustainable and resilient? That was the focus of the NewForesight assignment in Rwanda. For this assignment major stakeholders were interviewed and recommendations were presented to the Ministry of Agriculture. Future interventions focus on making maize and soya beans procurement in Rwanda an attractive economic proposition, leading to shared benefits between the processors, the distributors and the community.

Exploring a cross-commodity approach for smallholder financing
Financing for smallholders is usually approached from a project perspective: a select group of farmers gaining access to a finance facility provided by a specific bank under specific conditions; usually with significant donor backing. Little perspective exists on structural provision of loans and financial services to smallholder farmers. This is why Joost Gorter, with the support of the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta, traveled to Indonesia. He looked at the possibility of working with a coalition of banks and stakeholders from different commodities on developing solutions for financial services provision. He will be back later this year to continue his work with different stakeholders from the cocoa, coffee and palm oil sectors.

Working towards more impact on the lives of smallholder farmers in Africa
Belgian NGO Vredeseilanden continuously seeks to enhance the impact of their strategy and programs. With a value chain approach they focus on including smallholder farmers worldwide in modern markets to increase their income and improve their livelihoods. To further develop their programs on the African continent NewForesight was asked to assess the country programs in Tanzania, Uganda, DR Congo, Burkina Faso and Senegal as part of their mid-term strategy evaluation. After reviewing the strategic documents, field research was scheduled in all five countries to get a complete overview of the work on the ground. Five indicators are used in this Strategic Learning Assessment: relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability. Advice on how to move forward with even more impact is based on these indicators. The end result is expected the end of July.