The vast majority of Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) beneficiaries are small producers whose livelihoods depend on income from selling their crops or the products they make. However, their incomes are strongly affected by factors such as the level of technical knowledge, the physical distance to markets, uneven competition due to national and international trade policies, the devastation of war and limits on productivity caused by environmental degradation.
In contexts like these, the Foundation works to generate income-raising activities for the poor and enterprise development for small producers as part of a broader development programme. In northern Mozambique, AKF has not only assisted with agricultural inputs that have boosted yields, but has linked cooperatives of maize, sesame and rice farmers with agri-businesses in Pemba and Nampula. On Ibo Island, it has linked fruit and vegetable farmers with markets on the mainland and worked to increase the productivity of fi shermen and fi sh traders. Further income has been raised through technical and design improvements to the production of local jewellery, textiles and handicrafts. It has also worked to solve a major impediment to trade – transport – by arranging for alternative methods of bringing goods to market. The aim of these programmes is to raise incomes to the level at which surpluses can be used to sustain healthcare facilities and schools.
To reinforce these activities, other AKDN programmes focus on education, health, civil society strengthening, building improvement and tourism infrastructure development. The ultimate objective is to create a critical mass of activity that improves the overall quality of life and that is eventually sustained by the people themselves.