Inclusive Business Models

 Inclusive Business Model approach

The IBM approach was developed and pilot tested by FAO under the all ACP Agricultural Commodity Programme (AAACP) funded by the European commission from 2007 to 2012. The interventions targeted business models based on identified priority commodities from a basket of cash and food crops that through innovation, value addition and strategic market linkages, could be commercialized to improve income for smallholders.

The case of cotton in Kenya

This video describes the implementation of the inclusive business model approach to strengthen trading relations between small-scale cotton producers and ginners in Kenya. 

Upscaling Inclusive business models

Many inclusive business models initiatives have been implemented on a pilot basis. As such results and innovations have had an impact on a limited scale. FAO is now trying to mainstream the IBM concept and to identify good practices that can be brought to scale to achieve greater impact. To this end FAO has held a series of workshops on inclusive business models funded by the goverment of Ireland through the project Upscaling Inclusive Business Models.

IBM expert workshop, 1-3 October 2013, at FAO headquarters in Rome. This workshop brought together 20 professionals from 12 organizations. The main outputs of this meeting were the identification of a series of good practices for the private and public sector and NGOs implementing IBM and the development of a community of practice for upscaling IBM. 

IBM regional training, 4-6 February 2014, in Kampala, Uganda. The objective of the training was to improve market linkages projects by starting from a buyer perspective and focusing on strengthening business relationships between buyers and farmer groups. The training provided the 22 participants working on FAO projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, R.D. Congo, Rwanda and Burundi with new tools to analyze business models.

IBM national training, 6-8 May, 2014, in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The objective of the training was to improve the delivery and quality of results under the Smallholder Commercialization Programme. The training fostered a change in mind-set on how farmer-market linkage projects should be approached, moving project entry points away from production, producer or farmer organizations to prioritizing activities that build back from businesses. 25 professionals participated including district extension officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) and service providers' staff.

Private Sector Partnerships

On October 15 2014 the third FAO private sector partnership forum took place. The forum included more than 90 private sector representatives from an array of food and agribusiness companies, as well as enterprises from the financial sector and producer organizations. Participants were invited to discuss areas for further collaboration to accelerate results in the goals of ending poverty and reaching food security. Two parallel sessions addressed the topics of: i) food losses and waste ii) inclusive business models, where FAO and the private sector could deepen their collaboration.


Contact: Siobhan Kelly, Agribusiness Economist, Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries division (