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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Call for experiences and effective policy approaches in addressing food security and nutrition in the context of changing rural-urban dynamics

Morgane Danielou
Morgane DanielouPrivate Sector MechanismFrance

Private Sector Mechanism of the CFS

Main responsible entity
AgDevCo, ICCO Cooperation, and Root Capital


Funding source
The Mastercard Foundation

Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Smallholder farmers in Africa, need special attention to increase productivity and break out of the cycle of subsistence farming.

This initiative aims to enable smallholders to produce more, sell better, and work with local organizations in markets that are fair, transparent, and sustainable.

Key characteristics of the experience/process
Through its partnerships with AgDevCo, ICCO Cooperation, and Root Capital, The MasterCard Foundation supports multiple activities in the 11 countries. These activities include:

  • providing training and better quality inputs to farmers
  • implementing mobile technology solutions
  • brokering long-term purchase contracts
  • supporting high-impact, early-stage agricultural businesses with capital needs under $150,000 and/or business revenues under $300,000
  • developing and implementing innovative risk-mitigation tools, and
  • developing new agricultural finance products and services for smallholder farmers.

Key actors involved and their role
AgDevCo: connecting SME investees – socially responsible faming and agri-processing enterprises in Africa – to hundreds of thousands of farmers, to boost productivity, lift incomes and improve food security

ICCO Cooperation: supporting rural smallholder farmers, mostly women, to access tailor made financial services. This involves using the “Making Markets Work for the Poor” (M4P) approach to ensure that through capacity building and access to finance they can adopt sustainable agri-business methods and be competitive in the market.

Root Capital: targeting earlier-stage businesses in Africa operating on the fringes of financial inclusion and providing them with the capital and training they need to become engines of impact in their communities.

Mastercard Foundation: providing funding for each of these organizations to scale up their activities.

Key changes observed with regards to food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture and food systems
AgDevCo, ICCO Cooperation, and Root Capital are able to expand the support they provide as detailed above to an extra 1.1 million farmers in 11 countries, allowing them to improve their livelihoods and increase food production and supply in the countries involved.

Challenges faced

  • poor quality inputs
  • lack of access to financial solutions tailored to the needs of smallholder farmers

Lessons/Key messages

Improved access to services in rural areas is essential to processes of rural transformation:

  • Smallholder farmers can drive development and bolster food security if they have access to:
    • Appropriate training
    • High-quality inputs
    • Mobile technology
    • Legal services
    • Financial services
    • Risk-mitigation tools
  • Allowing rural smallholders to access lucrative markets (which are often those that supply urban consumers) is one the most effective ways of raising large numbers out of poverty
  • Smallholder farmers need the right opportunities and tools to can become effective entrepreneurs, increase their income and therefore improve the economic situation of their households and of their communities.