Performance of emerging dairy services agri-enterprises: A case study of youth-led service provider enterprises
This study (PDF) by Wageningen Livestock Research and 3R Kenya assessed the performance of Service Provider Enterprise (SPE) to establish the extent to which the model offers business options for youth in agriculture. SPE is an innovative youth-led business model in which young men and women form groups to offer commercial support services to entrepreneurial smallholders and medium-scale farmers in the vibrant Kenyan dairy value chain. SPEs services are provided to members of dairy farmer cooperative societies (DFCSs). The main services provided by the SPEs are silage making and fodder establishment. Results reveal that general SPE services have contributed positively to the dairy supply chain by increasing silage and thereby production. Thereby, higher daily income from milk and reduced milk volume fluctuations were reported. Main challenges included equipment problems, poor quality of silage-making material and fodder seeds. Furthermore, SPEs have reached farmers, though most of the interactions seemed to be for promotional and demonstration purpose. SPEs have not yet reached their market potential, of which the reason could be that most SPE members offered services individually. A few of the SPEs have made various investments to enhance their business, the high costs of machinery prevented the others from investing. The main business challenge for SPEs are the limited financial capacity of farmers to pay for services and the payment delays after service. Recommendations for policy makers and NGOs include the support of broader training, to publicly invest in SPE and to consider needs of women and men to promote inclusiveness. Recommendations for DFCSs are to facilitate SPE creation and strengthen business partnerships, increase sustainability of the SPE model and coaching of SPEs. SPEs are recommended to broaden the service offer to become a more viable business. Moreover, SPEs need to improve their skills and seek business support in developing their businesses.