Strengthening Business Support Services for Agribusiness Partnerships: Insights from 2SCALE
Inclusive agribusiness is crucial for addressing the challenges of feeding a growing global population, creating job opportunities, and improving livelihoods, especially for marginalized individuals. It involves for-profit initiatives in the agro-food sector to integrate low-income and disempowered individuals into the value chain. The 2SCALE project, funded by the Netherlands, is a prominent incubator of inclusive agribusiness in sub-Saharan Africa, managing a portfolio of commodity-based public-private partnerships. These partnerships connect local champions and lead firms to form agribusiness clusters, which include various stakeholders involved in agriculture, processing, trading, and distribution. The clusters promote trust building, collaboration, and collective learning, leading to improved market access, reduced transaction costs, and innovation. The project employs partnership facilitators and business support services to assist actors along the value chain. However, challenges remain, including evaluating the effectiveness of capacity-strengthening activities, enhancing the competencies of ABC coaches, ensuring the benefits for business support service providers, and integrating the cost of ABC coaches and services into the value chain. This paper explores these issues and provides insights into the 2SCALE project's approach, outcomes, and lessons learned in promoting inclusive agribusiness through business support services. It also discusses the relevance of business support services in the changing dynamics of African agriculture and the need to develop commercially viable and beneficial services for smallholder farmers and agro-food SMEs. Additionally, the paper examines different supply-driven and market-oriented business support service delivery models deployed over the years.
Defoer, T., G. Beijen, R. Hawkins, and C.P. van den Brink. 2017. Strengthening Business Support Services for Agribusiness Partnerships: Insights from 2SCALE, Thematic Paper.