Our focus

Improving farmers’ livelihoods in West Africa

The Anton Jurgens Fonds supports initiatives in West Africa that seek to improve farmers’ livelihoods through sustainable agricultural development, encouraging entrepreneurship and strengthening local organisational structures. We provide initiatives with expertise and financial support. The types of initiatives we focus on are described below.

Our philosophy

Low agricultural productivity, poor infrastructure, volatile markets, complex international chains, climate change and a sometimes unstable political climate – rural West Africa faces considerable challenges. These challenges lead to both food shortages and a lack of employment opportunities. Moreover, people often do not have the means to increase their agricultural knowledge. As a result, large parts of the population live in or risk falling into poverty.

Initiatives that work to promote sustainable agricultural development, market access and entrepreneurship while also strengthening local organisations offer these communities a way out.

Agricultural development

Access to agricultural knowledge and equipment, as well as seeds and fertilisers, helps farming communities steadily increase food production. By improving the productivity of their land in a sustainable and climate-proof way, smallholder farmers can provide for their families and generate more disposable income.

Markets and entrepreneurship

Access to markets results in farmers having additional opportunities to sell their produce. Local entrepreneurship generates new sales options for agricultural produce. Farmers become more independent and obtain a stronger negotiating position as distribution networks improve, enabling them to increase their income.

Organisational structures

Access to cooperatives, local associations, partnerships and the private sector can help farming communities achieve greater independence. By creating the conditions for efficient agriculture and professionalising farming activities, farmers can protect their interests from dominant market players and government interference.

Promoting agricultural productivity, entrepreneurship and local organisations

Types of initiatives we focus on

We partner with organisations that improve farmers’ livelihoods in West Africa. Our focus is on initiatives that aim to:

  • help farmers sell their produce by increasing productivity and facilitating access to markets
  • secure better prices for produce and help achieve higher sales levels for farmers by improving the value chain 
  • support farmers in the long-term coordination of their activities by helping them better organise themselves or by strengthening existing farmers’ associations

Initiatives can contribute to these aims in various ways. For example, they may work towards localising supply chains, leading to a direct value addition to agricultural produce and to more employment opportunities. This can result in increased sales and better prices for farmers.

Another approach is to create entirely new distribution channels. Take fruits or vegetables that cannot be sold directly to consumers but are perfectly suitable for further processing. Rather than ending up as animal feed or waste, this produce can generate more income for farmers.

We are also interested in supporting initiatives that use seeds, soil improvers or IT solutions, which can improve yields and have a positive impact on farmers’ livelihoods.

Types of organisations we support

We support organisations that professionalise agricultural chains or create new chains through entrepreneurship, allowing farmers to generate more money and secure a stable income. These may be local or international businesses or partnerships involving NGOs and at least one private sector company. We prefer initiatives that involve strong local partners who understand the local context and supply chain.

We also support local and international NGOs that work with local partner organisations to enhance agricultural development and strengthen organisational structures in a region. We are currently working with a number of long-term partners in this area and are not presently seeking new ones.

Are we a match?

Would you like to know if your project or business in West Africa aligns with our philosophy? Read more about our approach and perform a quick scan to see if we are a potential match.

Our approach