Partnering with the Private Sector to Reach Smallholder Farmers

Smallholder farmers are critical to global food security and economic growth, however they have largely been overlooked by the private sector, constraining their productivity and income potential. To successfully engage the private sector and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, it is critical to gain a refined understanding of which solutions work – and which do not. There is a need to ascertain the extent to which donor support to private companies can catalyze entry, expansion, and commercial sustainability within the smallholder market segment. It is also important to examine how design and implementation of these programs can promote (or inhibit) their impact on partner companies and smallholder farmers.

Partnering for Innovation (P4I), a USAID-supported program, provides a rare opportunity to delve deeper into these questions. Over the last six years, the program has supported 50 private sector companies with over USD 92 million to scale and market innovative agricultural technologies and services to more than a million smallholder farmers. Partnering for Innovation provides companies with investments tied to milestone-based outcomes, and tailored support services designed to build managerial and operational capacity. The ultimate goal is to sustainably improve smallholder farmers’ income and food production.

USAID enlisted the Investment Support Program implemented by Dalberg Advisors (“the ISP team”) in early 2019 to conduct a review of P4I to expand the evidence base around engaging the private sector to achieve development outcomes. Through interviews with nearly half of the P4I partner companies and investors, the team produced a report: “Partnering with the Private Sector to Reach Smallholder Farmers: Lessons on Private Sector Engagement from USAID’s Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation Program.” Members of the ISP team will be presenting insights and lessons from this report during a webinar on Wednesday Aug 7, 2019 from 9:30-11am ET.

Click here to register for the webinar.

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