To boost the supply of quality, hybrid maize seed and increase rural incomes in East Africa, Land O’Lakes launched the Seed Cooperative Alliance (SCA) program, which is part of the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Cooperative Development Program (CDP). The SCA is a Public-Private Alliance (PPA) that leverages matching contributions from the broader Land O’Lakes, Inc. enterprise, the Zimbabwean firm Seed Co, and local cooperatives.
CDP aims to help cooperatives become more competitive, increase their revenues, and expand the benefits they provide to farmer-members. The SCA component contributes to these objectives by investigating the potential of cooperative alliances to build commercially sustainable seed distribution networks. To meet its goals, Land O’Lakes leverages the experience of its business unit, WinField, which is the largest wholesaler of crop input products in the United States.
Focusing efforts in Rwanda and Tanzania, the SCA program aims to increase the capacity of cooperatives to enhance food security in the region, while improving the social and economic benefits they provide to their members. At the outset, the program conducted market feasibility studies that researched areas such as investment potential, agriculture and maize sector attractiveness, distribution channels and the enabling environment for business. We are also performing strategic fit assessments, facilitating training sessions, and conducting in-depth partnership meetings to identify potential alliance partners.
Based on these experiences, the program will release a Building Cooperative Alliances Guide, which will contain processes, methodologies and tools for establishing cooperative partnerships. Through learning workshops in both countries, we are building the capacity of cooperatives and helping them form strategic partnerships for mutual benefit. The program will share its outcomes through the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC), a group of nine U.S. cooperative development organizations that seeks to champion, advocate and promote effective international cooperative development.