Newsletter

NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2014

 

Ghana: Water & Sanitation

 

MASDAR has completed an important component of its contract to establish a Sector Information System (SIS) for the water and sanitation sector in Ghana.  A draft M&E and SIS plan has been prepared which will be discussed at a workshop before being piloted in 2 districts.

Philippines: Oil Palm

 

The profile of the oil palm venture MASDAR FARMING is involved with in the Philippines has received a significant boost.  Several documentaries have been made and aired on national TV and an extract of these can be viewed on YouTube.  Search words: Newslife PTV4 Manobo.

Uganda: Large Scale Farming

 

Discussions are taking place with several investors interested in developing large scale commercial farming activities in Uganda.  There is particular interest in growing crops to supply the local fast food sector.

Agriculture is the next economic frontier for Africa

 

The Agri Investor newsletter has recently highlighted the huge potential for agricultural development in Africa.  The continent holds 60% of the world's uncultivated arable land and agricultural output is expected to increase by 78% to $500 billion by 2020 and $880 billion by 2030 according to the African Development Bank.  For full article see:-

http://www.agriinvestor.com/?wysija-page=1&controller=email&action=view&email_id=38&wysijap=subscriptions&user_id=400

 

MASDAR awarded ISO 9001 Certification for fourth year

 

After a detailed external audit of our quality control and management practices, MASDAR is delighted to have been recommended for ISO 9001 certification for a fourth consecutive year.

Zambia: Reconnaissance Mission

 

MASDAR FARMING have signed a contract with a major investor who wishes to develop large scale commercial farming in southern Africa.  An initial reconnaissance mission to Zambia is being mobilised.  This will review both a number of existing farms and several undeveloped sites and determine their suitability for investment.

Côte d'Ivoire: Corn Smart

 

Corn Smart is working with the Ivorian Government to lease substantial areas of undeveloped land and use this land to generate significant volumes of corn and other agricultural commodities, with the overall objective of eradicating poverty in Côte d'Ivoire.  Corn Smart is in advanced discussions with MASDAR FARMING to assist it in identifying the most suitable areas of land and then assisting it to develop the land in an effective and sustainable manner.

Brazil: Due Diligence

 

A due diligence mission has been completed to review some existing farming operations in Brazil.  The Cerrado region of Brazil has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last 50 years and is now the major agricultural producer in the country.  MASDAR FARMING believes a similar transformation can occur in many parts of Africa.

Linkages with Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester

 

MASDAR Farming is strengthening its linkages with RAU at Cirencester.  A presentation on potential areas of co-operation has been made to senior staff, and a seminar has been held with MBA students.  It is hoped that MASDAR FARMING projects will provide suitable material for case studies and dissertations; and that some RAU students will gain internships with the company.

Philippines: Oil Palm

 

After a year spent gathering key information and an Environmental Compliance Certificate, MF's Philippines Oil Palm Project is ready for funding.  An investor's road show was held in Manila in early November and expectations are high that funding for the first phase will soon be in place.

MASDAR awarded ISO 14001 Certification for third year

 

MASDAR is delighted to have been awarded ISO 14001 certification in recognition of its adherence to internationally recognised environmental management for the third year.  MASDAR will continue to pursue environmentally friendly policies and work practices whenever possible.

Global AgInvesting Conference

 

The Managing Director of MASDAR FARMING, James Siggs chaired the session entitled "Opportunities in African Agriculture" at the Global AgInvesting Conference in London in early December.  This was a continuation of a series of agribusiness conferences attended by MASDAR in London, Singapore, South Africa and Abu Dhabi and highlights the importance now being given to agribusiness in emerging markets.

Emerging Markets: Advisory Contract being negotiated

 

Further to reconnaissance work undertaken in Mozambique, Romania and Brazil, MASDAR FARMING is negotiating a large advisory contract with a private client.  MASDAR FARMING will provide a range of services including the provision of strategic advice and the on-going supervision and management of four large scale commercial farms.

Romania - Agricultural Investment Opportunities

 

MASDAR FARMING is reviewing an agricultural investment opportunity in Romania for an existing client.  This has included a site visit to review a 17,000 ha existing farm with excellent potential for irrigation and expansion.

Southern Africa - Evaluation of Farm for Irrigation

 

MASDAR FARMING mobilised a team of specialists to review several large farming enterprises for sale in Southern Africa.  The objective was to determine the viability of the existing operations and their potential for irrigation.  The client has accepted our report and is now moving to acquisition.

Liberia - Technical Review of Oil Palm Estate

 

MASDAR FARMING has completed the due diligence on an oil palm estate for the African Development Bank.  The objective of the assignment was to review the technical, operational and commercial aspects of the project and to advise on the technology proposed.  MASDAR FARMING's report has been accepted and regular monitoring of the estate is now being considered.

Ghana - Establishment of Sector Information System for Water and Sanitation - Project Won.

 

MASDAR is delighted to have won a contract to provide support to the development and establishment of a Sector Information System for the Water and Sanitation Sector.  The team has just been mobilised in Accra and will involve 14 person months of input in 4 phases over 2 years.

Ghana - Afram Plains Impact Assessment won

 

MASDAR has just negotiated a contract for an impact assessment of the Afram Plains Agricultural Development Project in Ghana.  This is of great interest to MASDAR as we undertook the detailed preparatory studies for this project, for the African Development Bank, back in 2005.  We hope to mobilise our team by early September.

West Africa Proposals

 

Interest in large scale farming in West Africa continues to grow.  In the last month MASDAR FARMING has submitted a proposal to a private client wishing to develop a number of farms including a large-scale poultry enterprise and a proposal to the African Development Bank to undertake Due Diligence and quarterly monitoring of an oil palm plantation in Liberia.

Global AgInvesting Conference, Abu Dhabi

 

Following MASDAR's very successful presentation to the London Global AgInvesting Conference in December, James Siggs (MASDAR FARMING Director) was invited to chair the panel on African Agriculture at the Abu Dhabi conference.  This conference was extremely well attended, highlighting the increased interest in developing commercial agriculture in emerging markets.

Nepal M&E Proposal

 

MASDAR is currently playing a major role in proposal preparation for the first project to be tendered for Lot B of the DfID framework contract (see below).  The consortium are working very well together to prepare a proposal for the M&E Learning Component of the long-running Rural Access Programme in Nepal.

DFID Wealth Creation Framework Contract

 

MASDAR is part of a successful consortium to become a framework contractor for Lot B of the DFID Wealth Creation Framework.  This covers five key areas in 27 target countries and MASDAR's involvement will include Agriculture, Food Security and Cash Transfers.

MASDAR Farming Proposals

 

2013 has started with a flurry of proposals for large scale commercial farming activities in Sudan, West Africa, Nicaragua and Ghana.  There is no doubt that interest in developing agriculture in emerging markets is a real growth area.

Global AgInvesting Conference, London

 

MASDAR made a very successful presentation to the London Global AgInvesting Conference in early December.  We produced a three person presentation on the Philippines oil palm project with contributions from the local people/land owner, the investor and the manager.  It was very well received and generated a lot of interest.

Malawi Shire Valley

 

MASDAR has submitted an EOI to undertake a sociological and hydrological baseline survey of the Shire Valley followed by developing an M&E framework for the project and routine monitoring.  This baseline will be a major planning document for the new Shire Valley Basin Management Programme which is planned to operate for the next 15 years.

 

Change of Name

MASDAR FARMING

 

 

 

Due to negative connotations associated with the word 'corporate' MASDAR have decided to drop this word from our name.  MASDAR FARMING will continue to develop a portfolio of large scale, farming operations in Africa and Asia with an emphasis on supporting local people and acting as a catalyst for development.

 

Sierra Leone Rice

 

MASDAR FARMING are in the process of negotiating a contract to set up and manage a large scale rice farm.  Initially 500 ha will be used to bulk up seed bred at the Rice Research Institute.  This will be used for planting an initial 2000 ha in 2014 scaling up to 12,000 ha after a further 6 years.

 

Philippines Oil Palm

 

MASDAR FARMING has commenced a contract to develop 40,000 ha of oil palm in the Philippines.  A Joint Venture between the local people and an International Investment Bank has been signed and MF have started the planning phase of what promises to be an exciting and very high profile venture.

 

Ghana REP III Baseline

 

MASDAR has completed the Rural Enterprises Project in Ghana.  MASDAR initially assisted with REP design and set up their M&E system and is now delighted to be assisting the project with its survey work.  A final report on a baseline survey has been approved by the client and final payment has been received.

 

Peru Due Diligence

 

MASDAR FARMING have completed a contract to undertake Due Diligence on an existing oil palm plantation in Peru.  This is the first assignment the MASDAR Group has undertaken in Peru.

 

Malawi School Mapping

 

MASDAR and our sister company emapsite have mobilised a school mapping contract in Malawi.  The objective is to make relevant educational information readily available for use in 34 districts in Malawi through the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) digital mapping.

 

Completion of Projects

 

The last quarter has seen the completion of a number of major MASDAR projects including the M&E component of the Smallholder Crop Production and Marketing Project (Malawi), the eGhana M&E programme (Ghana), the Livestock Baseline Study (Zambia), the Results Based Finance Household Survey (Zambia) and the Oil Palm Master Plan Study (Ghana).  Emphasis is now being placed on promoting large scale commercial farming through MASDAR FARMING.

 

Meeting with Zambian President

 

The Chairman of the MASDAR Group, Michael Slater, met President Sata of Zambia to discuss large scale farming opportunities in the country.  The meeting was held at the Zambian High Commission in London and was instigated by President Sata who has known MASDAR since they worked in Mpika, in the 1980's, where he was the local MP.

 

African Agriculture - The Opportunity

 

MASDAR FARMING hosted a highly successful presentation at The Farmers Club in central London on May 30th.  Attended by many investment bankers and fund managers MASDAR explained the considerable opportunities currently available in Africa and the potential for developing these both for the benefit of investors and local communities.

 

Conditional Cash Transfers in Nigeria

 

MASDAR have mobilised the second phase of their assignment with UNICEF to help evaluate a 'Conditional Cash Transfer Programme'.  This programme has been set up by UNICEF to encourage greater enrolment by girls in basic education.  It is involving work in Abuja, Katsina and Bauchi.

 

Philippines Oil Palm

 

MASDAR has completed a reconnaissance mission to the Philippines for a private client.  The site visited was deemed very suitable for oil palm and a detailed business planning proposal has been submitted.

Reconnaissance Mission to Cambodia

 

MASDAR has completed a reconnaissance mission for a private client to review their commercial agricultural operations in Cambodia.  This included a review of the potential for Jotropha, an alternative oil crop much in the news.

Social Protection in Southern Africa

 

 

After a highly successful contract jointly funded by DfID and AusAid, MASDAR have completed their 6 year contract in Southern Africa managing the Regional Hunger and Vulnerability Programme.  RHVP has been at the forefront of changing attitudes and government policies to social protection and we are very proud of the role we have played.

Promoting Sustainable Commercial Agriculture

 

Exciting opportunities exist for commercial agriculture in Africa and Asia.  The combined impacts of climate change, population growth and diminishing resources are creating substantial increases in commodity prices and renewed interest in large scale plantations and estates.  MASDAR has over 35 years experience in this sector through activities including investment appraisal, project implementation and estate and outgrower management.  We have worked with many crops including oil palm, rubber, tea, coffee, cereals, soyabean and biofuels.  Clients have included investment funds, IFCs, private companies and national governments.

MASDAR's extensive experience throughout Africa and Asia and our network of contacts puts us in an ideal position to develop the exciting investment opportunities that agriculture currently offers.

Expansion into India

 

MASDAR have mobilised a contract for the Monitoring and Evaluation of the World Bank funded Maharashtra Competitiveness Project.  Working in association with two highly experienced Indian companies this is the first MASDAR proposal submitted for India and we are delighted to have been awarded this project.

Zambia Livestock Development

 

MASDAR have submitted the draft final report for the baseline studies for the Livestock Development and Animal Health Project.  This assignment is part of the preparation phase for a new World Bank funded project focussing on the major animal rearing provinces of Zambia.
 

M&E in Ghana

 

MASDAR has completed its M&E assignment for the Millennium Development Authority in Ghana.  Three time series sets of data on Land Tenure Facilitation, Community Services and Procurement Capacity Activities were collected and analysed and have helped this final round of data collection determine the impact made by this US$450 million programme over the last 5 years.
 

Support to Coops in Malawi

 

Good progress is being made in helping farmers organise themselves into registered co-operatives.  A sensitization campaign has been undertaken and training provided on the establishment, registration and operations of co-operatives.  A total of 21 applications for new co-operatives have now been submitted for registration.

For this important assignment MASDAR has associated with the Cooperative College based in Manchester.  The contract lasted for 1 year.

Zimbabwe Public Works

 

MASDAR has made good progress on this World Bank project to design a Public Works Programme and develop a PW Policy Framework.  Working with Civil Design Solutions and The Wahenga Institute, the contract continues until September 2012.

Expansion into the Middle East

 

MASDAR's sister company, emapsite, has opened a new office in Saudi Arabia.  Building on the success of their recent assignment to map coastal and marine resources along the Red Sea Coast, emapsite Middle East will pursue GIS work throughout the region.

Household Survey in Zambia

 

MASDAR in association with Palm Associates are completing a $450,000 contract with the World Bank to undertake a major household survey to measure the impact of Results Based Financing.  This involved a sample size of 3500 households over 27 districts of the country.  Field work commenced in October and the final deliverables were submitted in April 2012.

 
Smallholder Oil Palm

 

Commercial oil palm is a twentieth century crop breeders success story.  It provides the highest calibre oil yield/ha of all oil bearing crops and has a productive life of up to 25 years.  There is considerable interest in promoting this crop to smallholders and MASDAR have recently undertaken a literature review for a private client of the worldwide experience with smallholder production.

Oil Palm Master Plan Study in Ghana

 

The comprehensive Oil Palm Master Plan Study for Ghana has been completed.  It covers both large scale and small scale artisanal oil palm production and processing over the next 15 years.

 
Review of Land Administration Project

 

MASDAR has concluded its contract to review project implementation and the effectiveness of the M&E system of the Land Administration Project in Ghana.  Considerable field work has been undertaken and the findings of the MASDAR team were presented at a workshop held at the end of March.  The final report has been submitted.

 
Social Development Policy in Botswana

 

MASDAR and DEV (University of East Anglia) have completed their assignment for UNICEF to develop a social development policy framework for Botswana.  UNICEF rates this as "excellent work, which contained the best situational analysis of the Botswana social protection environment ever produced" and complimented the team on the excellent quality of their work.

 

 

Agricultural Marketing in Malawi

 

 

In Malawi MASDAR has completed the second phase of our Marketing assignment with the Smallholder Crop Production and Marketing Project.  This repeated the Marketing Competitiveness Study first initiated in 2008 and undertook considerable training of farmers in "farming as a business".  Phase III of this assignment will start in October 2011.

 

 
GIS Consultancy in Saudi Arabia

 

MASDAR's sister company emapsite has completed work on a major consultancy assignment in Saudi Arabia to undertake baseline studies of coastal and marine resources along the Red Sea Coast.

MASDAR is providing management support services to emapsite on this exciting new development.

 
Decentralised Planning & Capacity Building in The Gambia

 

MASDAR has completed its consultancy services in Decentralised Planning and Capacity Building to the Community Driven Development Project.  A final report on Decentralised Planning Processes has been prepared and a very successful and well attended, workshop has been held.

 

Smallscale biogas production in The Gambia

 

 

In The Gambia MASDAR has established a demonstration village at Sintet to promote small-scale biogas and the use of improved stoves and fuel-briquettes made from waste materials.

 

 
Solar powered irrigation in The Gambia
 

In The Gambia a MASDAR irrigation engineer designed 25 appropriate irrigation schemes for horticultural production.  He evaluated many different systems and pumps of which solar-powered submersible pumps were by far the most popular.

 

 

WORK OPPORTUNITIES

 

 

MASDAR operates in Europe, Africa and Asia and has been established for over 30 years.   Please send your CV in electronic format to Human Resources, email:  masdar@masdar.com

Farm/Estate Managers - Due to our rapidly expanding interests in large scale commercial agriculture we have a requirement for farm managers with experience of large scale estate management in Africa or Asia.  If you are interested please send your CV to:  masdar@masdar.com

Oil Palm Specialists - MASDAR is currently involved in a number of assignments involving oil palm development in Africa.  If you have experience of both large scale and smallholder oil palm production please send your CV to:   masdar@masdar.com

 

 
 
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If interested please send your CV to masdar@masdar.com  or register on-line

 

 

 

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