Partnerships Generate Progress and Sustainability
Since its inception, IFDC has led or participated in many partnerships in order to help improve the lives of those with whom the Center works and serves. These partnerships have taken different forms, but their common thread is the intent to help smallholder farmers and others in agricultural value chains move from the poverty cycle to the prosperity cycle. There are various types of partnerships, but one type is becoming increasingly important – the public-private partnership (PPP).
A PPP is defined by www.investopedia.com as “a business relationship between a private-sector company and a government agency for the purpose of completing a project that will serve the public.” Another definition from www.nppc.org states that a “PPP is a contractual agreement between a public agency and a private sector entity. Through this agreement, the skills and assets of each sector (public and private) are shared in delivering a service or facility for the use of the general public.”
There are a number of similar definitions of PPPs. What is important about the PPPs that IFDC participates in is that the efficiency and management expertise of the private sector are combined with the financial contributions and oversight of the public sector for public benefit. In other words, in a successful PPP there is a nexus between the public sector’s needs and the private sector’s goals.
PPPs at Work in IFDC Projects
PPPs are at the heart of many of IFDC’s major projects. For example, through the USAID Kyrgyzstan Agro-Input Enterprise Development Follow-On project (KAED), IFDC is part of a multi-faceted PPP with the Eurasia Group. The PPP has provided stimulus in such promising areas as poultry production and protein-rich crops for livestock feed. KAED is creating additional PPPs to facilitate technology introduction and business linkage development – both of which are essential to market sustainability.
The Cassava+ project is a PPP between IFDC and the Dutch Agricultural Development & Trading Company (DADTCO). This PPP is proving that cassava can be a successful cash crop for millions of farmers in Africa. IFDC improves the capacities of smallholder farmers to produce cassava while DADTCO processes that cassava for a guaranteed market. Cassava+ began in Nigeria and has expanded into Ghana and Mozambique. The PPP is increasing participating farmers’ incomes while building new markets for cassava products that strengthen the processing and manufacturing sectors.
IFDC, the International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA) and Base of the Pyramid Innovation Center (BoP Inc.) are using PPPs to develop competitive rural agricultural systems and viable agro-enterprises in the Toward Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Learning in Entrepreneurship (2SCALE) project. 2SCALE began in mid-2012 with the objectives of improving rural livelihoods, nutrition and food security in Africa. 2SCALE emphasizes sustainable agricultural production, commodity chain development and partnership with the private sector.
2SCALE targets nine countries; in each country, 2SCALE staff members are working with local, national and international partners to develop robust and viable agribusiness clusters (ABCs) and value chains, supplying food to local, national, regional and international markets, as well as to the least fortunate (consumers at the base-of-the-pyramid, or BoP). The project is leveraging Dutch and African expertise in agriculture and agribusiness development. Other successful projects have emphasized IFDC’s Competitive Agricultural Systems and Enterprises (CASE) approach and the benefits of PPPs. 2SCALE is now expanding the proven CASE and PPP solutions. IFDC and others have shown that private sector-driven interventions can significantly improve agricultural development in Africa. Using CASE, IFDC proved that ABC participants can generate substantial, successful and sustainable smallholder-based agricultural development.
The 2SCALE project’s introduction of best agricultural practices such as integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) and cropping systems that increase soil fertility will lead to increased resource use efficiency, including more efficient use of agricultural water and partial mitigation of the effects of climate change.
By the end of 2SCALE, the following results are anticipated: 1.15 million smallholder farming families in the target countries will have increased their productivity by 100 percent and their net incomes by 30 percent; 4,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will have increased their sales volume by 50 percent; at least 40 percent of the beneficiaries will be women; Dutch private sector companies and knowledge centers will have increased their roles in addressing food security in Africa; and agricultural productivity in the target countries will increase, generating a marketable surplus of 1.7 million metric tons (mmt) of cereal equivalents (of which 550,000 mt will be channeled to BoP markets).
Two other IFDC projects that began in mid-2012 are also using PPPs to achieve results. Both build on the successes of CATALIST, an agricultural intensification project in Burundi, the North and South Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. CATALIST-2 is working in those same countries, while CATALIST-Uganda is adapting IFDC concepts to Uganda.
CATALIST-2’s goals are to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and others in the agricultural value chain and to promote regional trade and business linkages. CATALIST-2 staff members are working to maximize scarce development resources through the use of PPPs and are partnering whenever possible with national and international agro-enterprises. By project-end, 700,000 smallholder farmers will increase their incomes by 50 percent; together, they will have produced an additional 1.0 mmt of marketable cereal equivalents, contributing to food security in the region.
The goal of CATALIST-Uganda is to sustainably commercialize smallholder agriculture through PPPs that improve productivity and market development, resulting in marketable surpluses that raise farm incomes in Uganda and increase regional food security in East Africa. CATALIST-Uganda is employing a systems approach to develop integrated cropping systems around priority commodities, combined with an accelerated ABC development approach appropriate for the country. In addition to agricultural intensification, attention is being given to agro-input market development, output marketing, linkages to agribusinesses and improvement of the policy environment. By project-end, 100,000 smallholder farmers will have doubled yields, achieved a 50 percent increase in incomes and will have produced an annual marketable surplus of 200,000 mt of cereal equivalents.
Progress During 2012; Additional Work in 2013
In 2012, agricultural development continued to be a global priority. And while much remains to be done, collective progress was made over the course of the year. Through its agribusiness development-focused activities and broad array of partnerships, IFDC continued to help smallholder farmers and others in agricultural value chains build better and more productive lives.
IFDC’s efforts would not be possible without the financial support of the donors that have trusted the Center to implement programs on their behalf. Each IFDC staff member takes that responsibility seriously, and organizationally IFDC strives to be a good steward of those financial resources. In addition, we know that IFDC could not accomplish its mission without the dedication and efforts of its employees.
In their many forms, partnerships have been a key to IFDC’s success for nearly 40 years and will continue to be critical to its success in 2013 and beyond.