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Inclusive Business for Food Security

To achieve food security for a growing world population and at the same time support smallholder farmers to feed themselves and produce marketable surpluses, increased agricultural productivity and access to inclusive markets are essential. Inclusive business refers to sustainable business solutions that expand access to goods, services and livelihood opportunities for low-income communities in commercially viable ways. Agribusiness companies use diverse inclusive business strategies to productively engage smallholder farmers at various stages in the value chain.

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Inclusive business and agriculture

The role of farmers, both large and small, in developing countries and emerging economies in achieving food security worldwide cannot be overestimated. It is, however, often very difficult to earn a living through farming in those countries. The same goes for other businesses that depend on inputs from agricultural value chains and access to agri-food markets. Can we find models in which farmers and businesses increasingly profit from existing and future business opportunities to increase farm productivity and farmer income? In other words: how can business in agricultural value chains and agri-food markets become more inclusive? There are emerging models and practices that show it is possible.

There is a growing community worldwide that advocates the application of inclusive business models in agri-food markets. This community bases its plea on successful examples of inclusive business practice in Africa, Asia and Latin-America. The number of these examples is growing. This also includes the Netherlands, for example through the works of the BoP Innovation Center.

From the private sector, there is also increasing interest among companies that are open to integrating inclusive business models in their own business. These include both local companies as well as large multinationals whose level of investment in developing countries and emerging economies is growing.

Knowledge agenda

The assumption is that inclusive business will make it less difficult for farmers and businesses in agriculture to make a living and, at the same time, will stimulate food and nutrition security and the inclusiveness of food markets. However, the real impact on food security and food markets is still not clear. Therefore, the F&BKP will focus on knowledge development, sharing and deepening the knowledge in the following areas:

  • Answer knowledge questions on the potential contribution of inclusive business to food security and pro-poor development. The main focus area will be answering knowledge questions to which the answers will contribute to long-term access to affordable, safe and nutritious food for vulnerable and resource-poor populations of developing countries and emerging economies.
  • Encourage scientific research and innovation projects focussing on addressing bottlenecks to food security and private sector development through the application of inclusive business models. In this regard, it is encouraging that NWO-WOTRO has opened a call for proposals of the Global Challenge Program, which partly focuses on inclusive business models. Inter- and/or trans- disciplinary research proposals should be submitted by teams of researchers and other public/private partners from both the Netherlands and at least one Lower or Middle Income Country. This call would particularly like to invite private enterprises working together with research consortia.
  • Promote the exchange of experiences between local stakeholders and international business community. The F&BKP is also a platform on which inclusive business initiatives and programmes will organize a learning process and deepen knowledge development. The sharing of experiences and comparing them with others is important to improve current inclusive business initiatives. Seas of Change is an example of a network that is active in knowledge sharing within the F&BKP and is involving inclusive business practitioners from all over the world.

Role of the F&BKP

The F&BKP will give international networks and organizations the tools to share and discuss new insights, approaches, lessons learned and best practices. These will be in the form of online debates, papers and reports, as well as expert meetings and conferences. The Platform will reflect on Dutch and international policies, for example, by debating the assumptions that underline them.

The aim is to identify innovative inclusive business models and practice. There are links with the theme ‘Partnerships’, where the F&BKP also showcases best practices on inclusive partnership models and impact measurement on the website. Finally, the F&BKP supports networks to define their own knowledge agenda and to support future research calls.

Recent Inclusive Business articles
Feeding an urbanizing world
May 8, 2017Knowledge activity
Feeding an urbanizing world
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Inclusive Business

Dutch agrofood companies are reflecting on the role they can play in the increasing worldwide demand for (fresh) food produce. To feed growing cities in a sustainable way, they need to speed up the pace of innovation, share knowledge and position themselves better. These were some of the conclusions of the “Feeding Cities” meeting, held on April 18, 2017. »

Fit-to-Purpose strategies by Dutch agrofood companies
May 5, 2017Study
Fit-to-Purpose strategies by Dutch agrofood companies
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Inclusive Business

Mid 2015, Pure Birds and the Postharvest Network, supported by the F&BKP, started a programme around Fit-to-Purpose strategies of Dutch agrofood companies. Two events were organized and as a follow-up a position paper and three factsheets on the Fit-to-Purpose strategies of DADTCO, Geerlofs and Growpact were published. »

What’s new in inclusive agribusiness
April 28, 2017Study
What’s new in inclusive agribusiness
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Inclusive Business

Seas of Change and the Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business have launched a bumper theme on “What’s new in inclusive agribusiness”. The series is inspired by the workshop “Towards a global research and learning agenda for inclusive agribusiness”, which was held in Brighton early March 2017. »

Towards a global research and learning agenda for inclusive agribusiness
April 27, 2017Knowledge activity
Towards a global research and learning agenda for inclusive agribusiness
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Inclusive Business

Beginning March some 35 experienced practitioners came together to consider how to learn more effectively from the wealth of work being done on inclusive agribusiness, and to formulate six collaborative action priorities. »

Feeding Cities
November 23, 2016News
Feeding Cities
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Inclusive Business

CSR Netherlands (MVO Nederland) and the Platform have started a project “Feeding Cities” together with innovative entrepreneurs: they will think and work together to tackle challenges related to food and nutrition security in fast-growing urban areas. »

Company capability assessment track for agribusiness in developing markets
November 14, 2016News
Company capability assessment track for agribusiness in developing markets
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Inclusive Business

BoP Inc, in collaboration with the F&BKP and CDI / PPPLab, created a company capability assessment track for Dutch agribusinesses to succeed in developing markets. The capabilities are categorized in Resource, Processes and Values and represent several topics that are also relevant to contribute to the SDGs. »

Launch online course
May 17, 2016Knowledge activity
Launch online course “Introduction to Inclusive Business”
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Inclusive Business

The Food & Business Knowledge Platform has supported the development of the online course “Introduction to Inclusive Business”. The course is aligned to a number of existing activities done by MDF Training & Consultancy, Wageningen UR/CDI and the Inclusive Business Accelerator consortium. After the launch on June 6, 2016, the course will continuously be available on the IBA.ventures »

IBTrainer: a training structure for “Inclusive Business for SMEs”
December 9, 2015News
IBTrainer: a training structure for “Inclusive Business for SMEs”
By: Joost Guijt Theme: Inclusive Business

Time and resources from the Food & Business Knowledge Platform, CTA and the Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen UR have made possible a Trainer’s manual and a Trainee workbook for a short course on Inclusive Business for SMEs. »

Inclusive Agribusiness in Southeast Asia: a peer-to-peer practitioner workshop
December 8, 2015Knowledge activity
Inclusive Agribusiness in Southeast Asia: a peer-to-peer practitioner workshop
By: Joost Guijt Theme: Inclusive Business

At the end of September 2015 some 120 senior practitioners came together for a 2-day workshop: they are all at the forefront of inclusive approaches in SE Asia to engage smallholder farmers in value chains . This Roundtable on Inclusive Agribusiness in Southeast Asia was held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on September 23 »

How African entrepreneurs in agro and food create commercial and social impact
November 6, 2015Knowledge activity
How African entrepreneurs in agro and food create commercial and social impact
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Inclusive Business

On October 27 the 2SCALE consortium organized the conference “Food for thought” Made in Africa, for Africa!” in The Hague, the Netherlands. The event focused on inclusive agribusiness and food security in Africa and highlighted successful African agribusiness. »