We achieve positive social impact in the communities within which we operate through two models: community joint ventures and the hub – out-grower model.
Community Joint Ventures
JVs with communities benefit large numbers of families as profits are shared between the community and the management company. The fund has three JVs in South Africa, two in sugar cane and one in deciduous fruit. The JVs provide incomes to over 2,500 families, likely over 30,000 people. These families were expected to earn nearly $1,000 each on average in 2016, an aggregate of nearly $2.5m, from these JVs. Note that this is a “passive” income for these families – they can still have jobs elsewhere or manage their own businesses/farms.
Impact of Joint Venture Projects
Hub – Out-grower Model
Under this model the farming ‘hub’ adds processing and transport of a product and reaches out to small-scale farmers to help grow the product. The key to achieving a positive impact is to provide a market for a high value crop. By doing this the small-scale farmer can diversify from lower value crops and thus make a higher income. The hub can also provide technical support and training.
Tanzania Impact (1): Small-scale Grains Farmers
Silverlands purchased crops from close to 10,000 small-scale farmers in 2016, up from around 5,000 in 2015. It is estimated that STL will purchase from over 13,000 farmers in 2017. The immediate benefits for these farmers include:
Economic Impact - Silverlands has created a market for soya beans, which is a much higher value crop for small-scale farmers to grow compared to the maize that they typically grow. In 2016, over 860 tonnes of soya was procured by Silverlands Tanzania from small-scale farmers (up from 80 tonnes in 2015).
Better Agronomic Practices and Soil Replenishment - Aside from the economic impact, small-scale farmers are encouraged to rotate between maize and soya beans rather than mono-crop maize. The legume family, of which soya is one, has a very useful property in that they extract nitrogen from the air and “fix” nitrates in the soil. “Nitrates” represent around 50% of a bag of fertiliser and are key for plant growth. Soya thus replenishes the soil and the maize planted the following year should achieve a better yield.
Technical Support - Silverlands works with various networks of small-scale farmers to help promote growing soya, to provide input on variety selection and to provide technical assistance.
Working with NGOs - Silverlands works with local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as Caritas and Development of the Archdiocese of Songea (CDASO / Caritas), the Clinton Foundation, One Acre Fund, Catholic Relief Services and Cheetah Development who build capacity in small-scale farmers by providing training on production and marketing of crops. Small-scale farmers learn better farming techniques
Minimising the Effect of Middle-men - Farmers are encouraged to market collectively which cuts out middle-men and earns the farmer a better price.
Tanzania Impact (2): Poultry Farmers
Silverlands is developing the poultry sector through better genetics, feed and training.
Broiler and layer day-old-chicks are sold to small-scale farmers who rear the poultry themselves. Better chick genetics and high quality feed results in faster growing, healthier and more efficient feed conversion.
Better Genetics - Small-scale farmers can learn improved poultry husbandry including hygiene, poultry health and feed quality through training. Silverlands started training courses in 2015 and its new Poultry Training Centre started operating in October 2016. This will ramp up the provision of training to a range of stakeholders in the local poultry sector to improve hygiene, care of chicks, biosecurity and farming practices.
Zambia Impact (1): Cropping and Working with Small-scale Farmers
Two of the Silverlands farms are surrounded by communal lands where there is significant smallholder agriculture. These farms plan to work with the NGO, Foundations for Farming, whose Chengelo training hub is located conveniently close to SASL. SASL, SZL and Foundations for Farming would partner to develop plots that show the benefits of conservation agriculture (e.g. zero-tillage and crop rotation) which would be used to train small-scale farmers. Improved yields achieved though better farming practices will result in more produce, for which SASL and SZL can provide a market.
Zambia Impact (2): Silverlands Livestock Improvement Community (SLIC) Programme
Silverlands is building feedlots to prepare cattle for market and will look to buy small-scale farmer cattle in the area thus providing a market for local small-scale farmers. It has entered into an out-grower programme since 2015 which has been very successful.
SLIC dipping volumes and benefits
The response from the communities has been extremely enthusiastic. From the initial two dip stations in July 2014, there were 14 operational by December 2016 and this number is set to grow. Currently between 6,000 and 8,000 head of cattle are routinely dipped each week and in some months over 32,000 ‘dippings’ have taken place, which is an impressive logistical feat. A study has shown that SLIC ‘dipping’ is linked to lower mortality rates and higher calving rates.
Cattle Mortality and Calving Rates for Cattle in the SLIC Programme Compared to those Not in the SLIC Programme
SLIC Cattle in the SRL Value Chain - As per the SRL hub – out-grower model, community cattle will be integrated into the SRL value chain project (feedlot and processing). Pedigree bulls have been placed in the communities by SRL to improve the genetics of the community cattle herds and thus the quality and weight of the cattle entering the feedlots.