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Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM)

Boosting community and smallscale investment in agriculture

KEY IMPACTS

  • 34 countries use RuralInvest, the free multilingual methodology and toolkit for preparing sustainable agricultural and rural investment proposals with over 560 people trained worldwide to support communities.
  • 1280 investment proposals or business plans were prepared using the RuralInvest toolkit.
  • The Mongolian University of Life Sciences’ School of Economic and Business adopted the tool in 2013.
  • The Brazilian state government of Acre has used RuralInvest to analyse investment ideas in the Amazon.

For rural communities to develop sustainably, they need both investment and ownership of their investments. However, communities and officials in developing countries can lack the skills to put forward investment proposals that sell their plans to donors and international agencies.

This is where FAO’s RuralInvest comes in. RuralInvest is a free multilingual methodology and toolkit for preparing sustainable agricultural and rural investment proposals or business plans. Available in nine languages, the tool empowers communities and officials to access funding and prove the worth of their investments in 34 countries in Latin America, Africa, Central Asia, Asia and North Africa.

“We have developed 950 project proposals using RuralInvest and trained over 700 farmer groups,” said Jane Ndeti from Kenya Forest Service.

Designed for use with communities, entrepreneurs, government field technicians, project staff and local financing institutions, the toolkit is participatory, interactive and bottom-up. It is suited for incomegenerating investments in agriculture and other sectors, as well as non-income-generating (or social) investments to improve living standards in rural areas. The FMM funded the development of on-line training modules for RuralInvest.

Any organization or project managing funds or mobilizing resources for small- and medium-scale agricultural and rural investment can apply RuralInvest.

In 2016, the International Labour Organization and Tanzania’s National Economic Empowerment Council named Gilbert Tarimo as one of the winners of best start-up proposal. Gilbert is one of many Tanzanian technical officers trained on RuralInvest with the support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). “I developed a commercial rabbit farm business plan using RuralInvest and with this won a USD 70 000 entrepreneurs prize,” Gilbert said.

Since 2013, the Brazilian state government of Acre has used RuralInvest to analyse possible investments in the Amazon as part of a World-Bank funded project. The first phase, for USD 3 million, included 17 investment projects that reached 3 234 families. The remaining USD 8 million will be disbursed in the second phase. “Everyone knows what they should do and when they should do it,” said Felipe Guedes, economist at the Acre State government and team leader for investment project analysis. “Analysis is much easier. Data and final outcome predictions are much more reliable.”

The Mongolian University of Life Sciences’ School of Economic and Business adopted the tool in 2013. Over 30 trainees are using RuralInvest in their work, including managing large-scale FAO and World Bank rural development projects. “We have included a module on RuralInvest in our university curriculum and have established a club to share experiences using the tool,” said Tumur Erdenechuluun, Senior Researcher-Lecturer in the university’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

Securing land tenure is often a pre-condition for enabling agriculture and rural investment and poor land administration is often a bottleneck. The FMM also enabled FAO to develop a tool for designing, monitoring and evaluating land administration programmes, in particular in Latin America.

It is used by national institutions, subnational entities, civil society organizations and experts seeking to modernize their Land Administration Systems (LAS). The web-based land toolkit is consulted by an average of 1 000 users per month across many countries.

As the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development gains momentum, RuralInvest and the land tool will become more important as ways for communities to access the resources they need to transform their lives through better investment.