Agribusiness development and trade

Inclusive Business

Image: World Bank

Inclusive business refers to sustainable business solutions that expand access to goods, services and livelihood opportunities for low-income communities in commercially viable ways. This topic refers to good practices, models, examples and knowledge products that highlight how business in agricultural value chains and agri-food markets can become more inclusive.

The Food & Business Knowledge Platform is also actively involved in this theme. Please have a look at the theme page on inclusive business for the latest news, events, and our own publications.

Academic article Article Blog Book Booklet/ Brochure Briefing Case study Guide/ Handbook Meeting report Online discussion Other Paper Policy report Publication Report Toolkit Working paper
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New horizons: Accelerating sustainable development through inclusive business in Kenya
Published by Business Call to Action,
This report highlights opportunities for inclusive business across five sectors: financial services, food and beverages, healthcare, infrastructure and skills building and education. »
Toward more inclusive and sustainable development of Zambian aquaculture
Published by CGIAR Research Program on Fish,
This policy brief describes opportunities and approaches for inclusive and sustainable development of the aquaculture sector in Zambia. Three innovative, inclusive approaches can be considered “good practice” to achieve impact at scale; pro-poor microfinance mechanisms; decentralized seed distribution model; and inclusive business models (contract farming) and out-grower schemes. »
Scaling inclusive business models at the nexus of poverty and environment: Case studies from the Philippines
Published by UNDP, the Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development, Business Call to Action,
This report examines inclusive business (IB) models at the nexus of poverty and environment in order to demonstrate how to scale them up successfully. The paper focuses on three inclusive agroforestry businesses in the Philippines. Investigation into these companies’ IB models reveals the fundamental components of success for the companies, farmers, the ecosystem, local value-chain actors and the natural environment where production takes place. »
Female-led enterprise & agribusiness development
Published by SNV,
This blog elaborates on the positive impacts of female-led enterprises and agribusiness development for delivering sustainable development. The author, Raymond Brandes, believes that climate change adaptation and mitigation, nutrition, women’s economic empowerment and gender equality are important cross-cutting issues to be addressed in agribusiness agendas. »
Not by technology and money alone: The importance of functional capacity strengthening in agribusiness partnerships
Published by ICRA,
This collection of case studies gives insights into the 2SCALE project, through 15 stories in four countries (Benin, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria), focusing on ten commodities. »
Contract farming as part of a multi-instrument inclusive business structure
Published by Agrekon,
This article discusses contract farming agreements, which are presently being restructured to form part of more complex inclusive business set-ups. Additional instruments, alongside contract farming, are implemented to overcome the challenges of contract farming and to adapt to the policy environment. »
Inclusive businesses in agriculture
Published by African Sun Media,
This book scrutinizes the concept of inclusive business and investigates how inclusive businesses work and who benefits from them. The book focuses on the South African agricultural sectors and relates to three ongoing restructuring processes in South Africa. »
Improving the positive impacts of investments on smallholder livelihoods and the landscapes they live in
Published by Tropenbos International, FMO, KIT, Hivos,
This working paper aims to to stimulate debate on how to improve positive impacts from investments on smallholder livelihoods and to move from ‘do no harm’ risk mitigation approach towards a ‘do good’ impact approach. Aimed primarily at investors, in just 15 pages it highlights how to work profitably and equitably with smallholders, and how to promote better land governance and livelihoods. »
The fund manager perspective: Moving the needle on inclusive agribusiness
Published by RAF Learning,
This briefing note interrogates how different impact-oriented agribusiness funds combine public and private capital to build a more inclusive agricultural market. Agribusiness in emerging markets has seen an increase in private equity and other forms of investment. »
TechnoServe initiative for inclusive agricultural business models
Published by TechnoServe,
This publication shows four case studies of large and influential food companies and agribusinesses scale inclusive business models. They show the intersection of multinational corporations and sustainable smallholder production. These projects span a broad variety of contexts: from sustainable mango production in India by the Coca-Cola Company to local rice and date sourcing in Egypt by the Kellogg Company. »
Inclusive agribusiness
Published by Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, GDI, BEAM Exchange, CDI,
These six papers explore some of the key themes in inclusive agribusiness. The papers discuss enabling policy environments, access to finance, gender, multi-stakeholder partnerships, inclusive business models in agriculture and systemic approaches to inclusive agribusiness. »
How can inclusive business advance the SDGs?
Published by Next Billion,
This blog discusses how inclusive business (IB) can be part of the solutions to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Two publications are addressed, both highlighting recommendations and examples on inclusive business for SDG 2: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. »
Enabling the business of agriculture
Published by World Bank Group,
This report argues that better agriculture regulations in low and middle income countries could go a long way towards feeding the world's growing population and improve farmers' livelihoods around the world. The report states that, while many countries are already home to strong, commercially-oriented agriculture, more needs to be done. »
Value chain upgrading and the inclusion of smallholders in markets: Reflections on contributions of multi-stakeholder processes in dairy development in Tanzania
Published by The European Journal of Development Research,
Increasingly, value chain approaches are integrated with multi-stakeholder processes to facilitate inclusive innovation and value chain upgrading of smallholders. This pathway to smallholder integration into agri-food markets has received limited analysis. This article in the The European Journal of Development Research analyses this integration through a case study of an ongoing smallholder dairy development programme in Tanzania. »
Bittersweet vanilla: the unsavoury story of vanilla farmers in Madagascar’s Sava Region
Published by Fairfood, CNV International,
This report by Fairfood and CNV Internationaal identifies a host of interventions that will improve the situation of farmers in the vanilla value chain in Madagascar. The report examines the riches that vanilla production delivers, and the abject poverty many vanilla farmers experience. Vanilla is one of the most expensive and widely exported spices in the world, yet the large majority of the 80,000 smallholder vanilla farmers do not see this reflected in their income and are often even unable to provide food for themselves and their families. »
Connecting smallholders to markets: an analytical guide
Published by CSM,
This analytical guide by CSM shows in what way policy recommendations illuminate the relationships of smallholders to markerts. The guide examines how small-scale food producers’ organisations and allied civil society can use the recommendations in their national and international advocacy and how they can work together with their governments to apply them in the context of national and regional policies and programmes. The authors argue that the policy recommendations illuminate the relationships of smallholders to markets in two main ways. »
Engaging with farmers’ organizations for more effective smallholder development
Published by IFAD,
This toolkit by IFAD provides guidance on developing sustainable partnerships with farmers’ organizations (FOs) within IFAD projects that consider FOs as relevant partners and not simply as beneficiaries of IFAD-funded activities. Given the complexity and diversity of both country contexts and FOs, the toolkit is not intended to be rigidly prescriptive. Rather, it provides an overview of the different approaches IFAD uses when building partnerships with FOs for the purposes of designing its strategies and programmes and implementing IFAD-supported projects. »
Can commercial farming promote rural dynamism in sub-Saharan Africa?: Evidence from Mozambique
Published by UNU-WIDER,
This working paper by UNU-WIDER, aims to bring evidence to the debate around the impact of large commercial farms on neighbouring smallholders in low-income sub-Saharan Africa. The findings point to significant heterogeneity in the local economic effects of commercial farms rather than any kind of automatic spillover effects. The implication is that a more nuanced policy position is demanded with respect to promoting rural dynamism through new commercial models. In particular, the creation of suitable incentives for and regulation of outgrower schemes needs to be a priority. »
The business case for digitally-enabled smallholder finance
Published by RAF Learning,
This report by RAF Learning is exploring the business case for smallholder finance, in particular the role of digital approaches in making it possible to profitably serve this market at scale. New digital technologies and innovative business models are making it possible to provide credit to smallholder farmers in Africa. The report looks at where and how innovations in digital technology promise to enable financial service providers to serve smallholders at scale. »
IFC and agribusiness in a changing environment
Published by RVO, IUCN NL & IFC,
RVO and IUCN NL organized together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on 28 October a one-day event in The Hague in the framework of the World Bank Group-Netherlands strategic partnership ‘Food for All’. The event convened more than 80 professionals in the private sector, knowledge institutions, NGOs and policy makers engaged in agribusiness in developing countries. »
How inclusive is inclusive business for women? Examples from Asia and Latin America
Published by ADB,
This report assesses the extent to which inclusive business models promote women's economic empowerment. As a commercially viable business model, inclusive business bears considerable potential for women’s economic advancement, though not every inclusive business will inevitably do so. It is important to distinguish two ways in which inclusive business is relevant to women’s economic empowerment. »
New directions for inclusive pluralistic service systems, report of FAO expert consultation
Published by FAO, KIT,
This paper by FAO and KIT presents a synthesis of deliberations, and a set of policy recommendations and priority actions for pluralistic service systems (PSS). A growing variety of public and private agricultural advisory services are available today, leading to increasingly PSS. PSS hold the potential to overcome constraints related to funding, staffing and expertise, and making advisory services more demand-driven. But are PSS really able to reach the millions of farmers in need of services? »
Innovation for inclusive value-chain development: Successes and challenges
Published by IFPRI,
This publication assesses how to improve agricultural value chains, particularly value chains that include smallholders. Despite increasing use of innovation-system and value-chain approaches to promote rural income growth, poverty reduction, and greater gender equity, there is little systematic knowledge about how to operationalize value-chain approaches in different contexts and how best to evaluate innovation and value-chain development. This book consists of 14 papers that present results of recent work associated with CGIAR and its partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. »
Inclusive agribusiness: The state of play background working paper
Published by Global Donor Platform for Rural Development,
This working paper has been prepared as background for the inclusive agribusiness work stream of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (GDPRD). The paper outlines the concept of inclusive business and its application to the agrifood sector, it maps the current state of play and explores implications for donors and the GDPRD. The paper also highlights a weak and fragmented evidence base regarding impact, which risks undermining the case for the much needed investment to take promising example to scale. »
Public-private partnerships for agribusiness development – A review of international experiences
Published by FAO,
This publication aims to improve understanding of the potential benefits and challenges of agri-Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). It provides an analysis of 70 PPP cases gathered from 15 developing countries, together with evidence from FAO’s support to the review of PPP policies for agriculture in Southeast Asia and Central America. Agri-PPPs are expected to contribute to the pursuit of sustainable agricultural development that is inclusive of smallholder farmers. »
Procurement governance for home grown school feeding
Published by SNV,
This learning series discusses the Procurement Governance for Home Grown School Feeding (PG-HGSF) project, which develops a more inclusive and responsive relationship between smallholder farmers and school feeding buyers in Ghana, Kenya, and Mali.  »
Market-based solutions for input supply: making inputs accessible for smallholder farmers in Africa
Published by KIT, SNV,
This paper by the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) gives best practises in exploring market-based solutions for improved input supply. The lessons out of this paper can help donors and policy makers increase the impact of their input support programs. To define these lessons, practitioners managing input-related projects from SNV and KIT, came together at a workshop in Johannesburg in December 2014. »
Realising the promise of inclusive agribusiness
Published by Donor Platform,
Consultant to the Donor Platform Jim Woodhill explored questions around inclusive agribusiness in a webinar on 5th July 2016, where he shared the results of his background working paper on inclusive agribusiness, including recommendations for donors. One of the key messages is that there are numerous inclusive agribusiness-related projects/businesses that have generated a broad base of practitioners with a growing understanding of how to put inclusive agribusiness models into practice. »
Event report: Roundtable on inclusive agribusiness in Southeast Asia
Published by Seas of Change,
This conference report provides a snapshot of the rich content and discussions from the Roundtable on Inclusive Agribusiness in Southeast Asia, held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on 23–24 September 2015. The Roundtable brought together approximately 120 business leaders, key development practitioners, policy makers and research experts, largely from Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. »
Partnerships delivering inclusive business
Published by The Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business & The Partnering Initiative,
The Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business and The Partnering Initiative, with support from the UK’s Department for International Development, developed a series which focused on the role of partnerships in delivering inclusive business. They explored why and when partnerships are necessary, why they can be so challenging, and how those challenges can be overcome. »
Inclusive business models: Guidelines for improving linkages between producer groups and buyers of agricultural produce
Published by FAO,
These guidelines by FAO have been developed to support the growth of inclusive business models (IBMs) that integrate smallholders into agricultural value chains. Small actors in agricultural value chains are tied to markets through a series of forward and backward business linkages, which incorporate various types of business models. The complexity of these business models varies according to the commodity, number of actors involved, local context and market structure. »
The 4Ps of inclusive business: How perseverance, partnerships, pilots and passion can lead to success
Published by Business Innovation Facility,
Business Innovation Facility (BIF), is a pilot programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), that has provided hundreds of inclusive businesses with technical and advisory support, which means the BIF team has been truly inside the ‘engine’ of business. This report is the culmination of the lessons learned during this work, written at the completion of the BIF pilot. The report draws together findings on inclusive business models that work – or don’t – and the journeys that companies are making. »
Fostering inclusive outcomes in sub-Saharan African agriculture. Improving agricultural productivity and expanding agribusiness opportunities
Published by IFAD,
This paper by IFAD looks at the role of agriculture in fostering inclusive and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. It discusses how improving agricultural productivity, smallholder access to markets and expanding agribusiness opportunities can accelerate transformation, investment and industrialization. The paper presents key investment and policy elements to be considered and points to the centrality of smallholders for the rural transformation process to be inclusive. »
Is inclusive business for you? Managing and upscaling an inclusive company – lessons from the field
Published by CDI & CTA,
This publication by the Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) and The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) provides readers with a valuable understanding of how agri-food markets can contribute to food security and rural poverty reduction, while still building profitable commercial relations. The report gives the outcomes of the ‘From Islands of Success to Seas of Change’ initiative on scaling inclusive agri-food markets. »
It takes two to trade: Understanding and improving farmer-firm relations in Africa
Published by AgriProFocus,
This book focuses on understanding and improving relations between farmers and firms. The book presents an approach – comprising an analytical framework, a practical assessment tool and suggestions for action – that can be used to analyse, assess and facilitate the relationship between supplying farmers and their organization on the one hand and buying firms on the other. This approach is called “It takes two to trade” (abbreviated as “2-2 Trade”) because farmers and firms need each other if their relationship to perform wel. »
From subsistence to successful businesses
Published by APPG,
This Report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development (APPG) give recommendations on how to support and scale up smallholder agribusiness development in sub-Saharan Africa. This report represents a summary of the wide variety of case studies, evidence and learning presented to the APPG. Enabling the development of small-scale agri-enterprise is a long-term venture and will only be realised in an inclusive way if women, who represent 70% of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, are specifically targeted. »
From smallholder to small business: Private sector insights on service delivery models that boost profitability along the value chain
Published by Grow Africa and IDH,
This report (PDF) by Grow Africa and IDH, offers a first set of insights, distilled from the knowledge of leading practitioners, on how to successfully integrate smallholders into value chains through effective service delivery and smallholder aggregation models. »
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