Driving innovations in smallholder engagement: Insights in service delivery and finance
This report (PDF) by IDH presents findings and best practices from their innovating partners; empowering farmers through service delivery, while generating sustainable returns to their businesses. Currently, approaches towards farmer engagement are isolated and not embedded into structures and not leverage with sustainable financing. However, agriculture offers significant opportunities for both business growth and sustainable smallholder livelihood gains. Through serving smallholder needs, new commercial business opportunities can be developed. IDH highlights how smallholder engagement is changing and how this is affecting the way services are being offered to smallholders. An increasing number of service providers have shifted their approach to farmers, dealing with them more as clients. Smallholders need access to more complete service packages that are tailored to their needs. This requires smarter strategies for service providers on what to offer farmers, at what scale, and with what type of funding strategy. Service delivery models have increased attention on financial sustainable models. The information gap between service providers, development financial institutions (DFIs) and impact investors need to be closed, to created a common understanding. There are aspects of the enabling environment that can either limit or facilitate the performance of service delivery models. The public sector can influence how much farmer receive in price and has large influence on markets and regulations. More conductive enabling environments need to be developed that allow service delivery models to expand, have greater impact and become more efficient and sustainable. Technology and innovation play a vital role in decreasing costs, increasing impact at farmer level, and supporting evidence-based insights and behavior. ICT lead to more cost-efficient service delivery. Technological solutions should be embedded in traditional service delivery model structure and cannot replace them fully.
A related news item can be found here.