USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project

Avansa Agrikultura field of crops, USAID project in Timor Leste

Cardno’s agribusiness and marketing skills are helping turn subsistence farmers into commercial growers, boosting nutrition and livelihoods, and unlocking the profitability of Timor-Leste’s horticulture value chain.

Through our implementation of the Avansa Agrikultura Project, Cardno is helping break down critical barriers preventing Timor-Leste from achieving sustainable economic growth, and reducing poverty and food insecurity across five municipalities. Our team is building the capacity of farmers to understand and meet market demands, increase their productivity and achieve sustainable economic growth. 

Building on the success of USAID’s Developing Agricultural Communities (DAC) Project, Cardno is taking a market-facilitation approach – working with farmers, buyers and communities to implement locally owned solutions.  

Our agribusiness and marketing experts are consulting with both the private and public sector to identify gaps in the value chain, and are helping to improve market linkages between retailers, agricultural suppliers and farmers. To date, we have facilitated agreements between supermarkets and farmer groups, buyer agreements between farmers and retail markets, and helped almost 3,156 farmers and micro/small and medium-sized enterprises to receive business development services. We also partner with Government to facilitate Farmer Field Days that connect even more farmers with product suppliers. 

Timor Leste farmers show their crops on Farmer Field Day, USAID project

In addition, we’re providing training to small-scale producers, and helping suppliers showcase their agricultural best practices in demonstration plots, nurseries and community nutrition gardens to increase demand for their products and services.  

The Project also focuses on increasing participation of women in the value chain, both on the farm and beyond the farm gate. Our approach is based on improving the skills of women as farmers or agribusiness owners, and increasing women’s access to assets. A strategy to support women to start their own agribusinesses is also filling a gap in the commercial horticultural sectors, where there are not enough input suppliers or value-added production. Our Lean Start Up Program is providing capital assistance to women entrepreneurs through our grant program, training on finances, and support to improve marketing and branding. The Project is also providing training for women commercial farmers on a range of new technologies and techniques to improve production.  

Through these activities, the Cardno team is helping farmers to improve their natural resource management, resilience to climate change, and ability to reduce and manage the risk of disasters. Since project start up, the Project helped boost agricultural sales by more than 500 per cent and reached 9,183 individuals in targeted districts.