DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES UNIT
Exagris Africa Limited has the Development Services Unit (DSU) which is aimed at supporting the communities around the farming estates improve their livelihoods in line with the company’s vision in terms of “… creating value for its stakeholders and social and economic growth for the country.” Exagris Africa Developmental objectives are driven by the provision of a number of integrated services provided to smallholder communities surrounding the estates. A central element of this service provision is the improvement of the marketability of smallholder produce. This is achieved by improving quality through training delivered through demonstrations on the farm and in the communities, exchange of information, mentoring through our team of well trained and experienced Community Development Facilitators (CDFs). The principle is in the belief that the company’s existence and success hinges on the surrounding communities as a source of labour and for security reasons. The communities also depend on the company for their livelihoods directly through work and indirectly through general business.
Activities under DSU are planned around a set of core and non-core activities with central funding from the business’ profits but currently also attracting donor funding. Currently through the DSU Exagris Africa is implementing a total of five donor funded projects.
Field to Factory Aflatoxin Management (FFAM)
Growing with Groundnuts
Innovative storage and marketing for Groundnuts
Growing for Nandos
Exagris has a contract with Nandos where smallholder farmers are involved in Chillies production as in-growers at its farms in Lilongwe, Salima and Mangochi. Exagris supports the smallholder farmers with free land and inputs on loan, repayable during the sale of the produce. This is an on-going project and it started in 2014 with 50 farmers and planned to increase in the subsequent years.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Exagris also takes care of the employees who have small children by providing pre-school so that the parents concentrate on their work while the children have a better start to their education. At each farm there is a care taker who helps the children kick start their education life. The kids are also served with porridge to enable them concentrate on their mind development activities.
Currently the DSU has a total of eight Community Development Facilitators based in the farms and directly supported by the Development Services Unit Coordinator and a Projects Financial and Administration Manager based at the head office. The company’s General Operations and Projects Manager provides strategic guidance. Overall, the DSU has support and political will from the company’s senior management and all the departments.