Business as Unusual the 2 SCALE Project: Highlights 2017
2SCALE is a project launched in 2012 that aims to transform the food chain for smallholder farmers and small businesses, making it inclusive and mutually beneficial. They provide skill development, technology transfer, and business support to help farmers and entrepreneurs become more competitive and gain better market access. The organization works with 585,000 farmers, 2,000 farmer cooperatives, and 1,500 small businesses in nine countries. The funding for 2SCALE comes from the Netherlands government, and it is implemented by a consortium consisting of the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), the International Centre for development-oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA), and the BoP Innovation Centre (BoPInc). Other partners, including universities, research centers, government extension agencies, and local NGOs, also contribute their expertise and resources to the program. 2SCALE focuses on important sectors regionally, not just in one country, allowing for shared expertise and replicable successes across Africa. The organization builds networks that connect farmers, buyers, and other value chain actors, such as input retailers, transporters, and banks. They aim to create viable, sustainable, and inclusive business relationships where partners share profits fairly and decisions jointly. Each 2SCALE partnership starts with a business idea generated by partners or beneficiaries, whether a farmer cooperates with a product to sell or a local entrepreneur identifies a market opportunity. The organization provides capacity building, market linkages, and technical assistance to increase sales and competitiveness. As partnerships become stronger, project support is gradually phased out. The impact of 2SCALE can be seen in various countries and value chains, such as vegetable production in Benin, soybeans in Ethiopia, oranges in Ghana, dairy in Kenya, sesame in Mali, and oilseeds in Uganda. Independent evaluations have found evidence of substantial impacts, including higher farm incomes, a wider range of food products, women empowerment, young entrepreneurs' emergence, and more ecologically sustainable food systems. Private companies have invested nearly $70 million in 2SCALE partnerships, indicating their belief in the benefits of these collaborations. The organization has helped companies expand their supply chains, increase production capacity, and improve product quality. They have also facilitated market efficiency improvements through simple interventions, such as introducing weighing scales and moisture meters or using standardized containers for transporting produce. 2SCALE's approach has gained recognition, and other development organizations are replicating or planning to replicate it in their projects. Graduation is an important aspect of the program, as partnerships that have established themselves in the market and no longer require assistance from 2SCALE can move forward independently.
Smallholder farmers, Partnerships, Food chains, Technology