Drawing from IFDC’s and its partners’ experience with the successful 2SCALE program, the international training “Inclusive Agribusiness – Linking Farmers to Consumers” will focus on 2SCALE successes in setting up and supporting partnership and business models with significant potential to attract and employ the youth, to engage and empower women, and to improve food and nutrition security, both at grassroots level and at the consumer end of the value chain. The workshop takes place in Nairobi from November 25 to 29, 2019.
A group of African farmers are producing a commodity, but every season they struggle to access the needed inputs – improved seeds, quality fertilizers and crop protection products – at the right time, in the right quantity and quality, in reasonable proximity to their farms and for a reasonable price. They often do not have the needed cash or credit to pay for the inputs. After harvest, the farmers struggle to sell their goods. Often, they have no choice but to sell their produce at the local market for a low price. They are not organized and do not have the capacity either to negotiate for better prices, or to store their produce until prices increase. Even the basic options needed to add value are beyond their reach.
The story above is an underlying problem statement of many project proposals with the objective to link farmers to markets through the increasingly popular commodity value chain approach, in which the consumer market drives the value chain. Based on IFDC’s experiences in Africa during the last 35 years, market demand is a major driver but will only lead to increased productivity, food security, and welfare if combined with other market components that drive the value chain. Through many projects in Africa and other parts of the world, IFDC and partner organizations have developed a successful approach to organize and empower farmers and to effectively link them to consumers.
IFDC’s Competitive Agricultural Systems and Enterprises (CASE) approach develops ‘agribusiness clusters’ in which producer groups become an integral part of commodity value chains. Through support from Business Development Services, linkages among various value chain actors (input providers, producers, storage providers, processors, credit institutions, buyers) are established to effectively link farmers to markets. Profitability and sustainability are key elements of IFDC’s approach; the underlying concept that “all actors in a business cluster are able to generate additional revenue” is the basis for sustainability, both in economic and environmental terms. The IFDC approach is farmer-centered and assists farmers in identifying and accessing profitable markets with an important role for farmer groups/organizations and with an additional focus on information management.
Drawing from IFDC’s and its partners’ experience with the successful 2SCALE program, this workshop will focus on 2SCALE successes in setting up and supporting partnership and business models with significant potential to attract and employ the youth, to engage and empower women, and to improve food and nutrition security, both at grassroots level and at the consumer end of the value chain.
The workshop will employ various teaching styles to ensure participants get the most out of the training. There will be plenary sessions, interactive work sessions on cases studies, group discussions, exchange on learning and experiences, and a field visit.
The workshop will be presented in English, though a French version is planned for February 2020.
During the program participants will:
- Discuss and learn the theory and principles behind entrepreneurial farmer to consumer linkages and draw on lessons and cases of 2SCALE and Market System Development partner organization.
- Develop demand driven BoP consumer marketing & distribution business models based on the experience of two successful cases in Ethiopia and Kenya.
- Understand the role of the Producer as an entrepreneur as an integral part of the commodity value chain based on the Competitive Agricultural Systems and Enterprises (CASE) approach.
- Discuss the drivers of inclusive business development based on the experience of a business champion and the development of impact pathways.
- Create a network to facilitate future exchanges and joint proposal development.
The program is composed of four main pillars and onsite learning based on cases in Meru county.
- Different principles of farmer-consumer linkages, creating added value in partnerships based on demand of low income consumers at the Base of the Pyramid.
- Demand driven BoP consumer marketing and distribution.
- Strengthening the producer as entrepreneur and as cluster.
- Private sector partners as driver of inclusive business development.
Participants will travel to Meru County, up North of Mount Kenya, we will visit and work on some of 2SCALE partnerships as a case, focusing on Base of Pyramid Consumer demand and working in partnership with AgriBusiness Cluster. 2SCALE offers a range of support services to private partners – companies and farmer groups – enabling them to produce, transform and supply quality food products to local, national and regional end-user markets, including Base of the Pyramid consumers.
The team will visit one of the successful private sector partners 2SCALE worked with, Shalem Investments in Meru, Kenya. Shalem’s partnership supports smallholder farmers with improved technologies, extension advice, and access to credit, linked to production contracts with the lead firm. Shalem developed a nutritious product based on consumer demand and diversified its market, initially centred on sorghum supply for beer manufacturers, and animal feed. Shalem works with an expanding number of agribusiness clusters (32 at the moment, with 26,413 smallholder farmers, of which 14,917 women) all located in the main sorghum growing areas of Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties.
Who Should Attend
The training program is aimed at professionals from both the private and public sectors who have a specific interest in farmer to consumer linkages in a market system development approach:
- Agribusiness dealing with sourcing raw material, processors, value addition, exporters and importers, agro-dealers.
- Producer groups – organizations and trade association.
- Government officials dealing with formulating and implementing private sector development, food & nutrition security, agricultural and trade policies.
- Research Centers, Food scientists, Innovators, Nutritionists, consumer driven organizations, marketing activation companies focusing on low income consumers.
- Service providers such as financial institutions, insurance companies, mobile phone services, ICT platform solutions, market information services, business development services.
- Representatives of national and international organization involved in demand-driven market system development.