Contract Farming Resource Centre

FAO's Work on Contract Farming

Contract farming (CF) is considered an innovative business modality especially in developing regions that coordinates linkages between agrifood producers and buyers, and can facilitate producers especially smallholders access to technology and productive resources. It can be employed to benefit smallholder producers and micro- small- medium-size enterprises (MSEMs) and to contribute to inclusive growth and maximize sustainability-aligned impacts. Check out What is Contract Farming?

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been responding to growing demand from Member States, development partners and the public to share knowledge, best practices, and experiences, build capacities, and provide technical support for CF. CF work at FAO is managed and implemented by a multidisciplinary team with various partners, and focuses on agribusiness, operational and legal aspects of CF. Our work on CF can principally be categorized into knowledge management and technical support provided to projects and programmes at the country and regional levels.

Please feel free to read each section below to learn more about FAO’s work on CF, please also check out the news and other sections of CFRC to find out more.

  • Our team
  • Our CF work: knowledge management
  • Our CF work: technical support to field projects

Our team

The CF team at FAO comprises core members from the Agrifood Economics Division (ESA) that focuses on agribusiness and operational aspects of CF and the Development Law Service (LEGN) on legal and regulatory aspects. FAO’s work on CF has been a collaborative and multidisciplinary endeavor among our team members and with collaborators and partners at and beyond FAO (e.g. UNIDROIT, IFAD, World Bank, and IISD) and in public and private sectors for over two decades.

Our CF work: Knowledge management

Our team creates and manages knowledge and supports advocacy, policy and promotion for CF. Our work focuses on agribusiness, operational and legal aspects of CF. The target audience is primarily practitioners, policy makers, value chain actors, researchers and all relevant stakeholders in public and private sectors that are interested in learning about CF in general, and about piloting, designing, implementing, and promoting CF.

Specifically, our team:

  1. manages FAO’s Contract Farming Resource Centre (CFRC) that is an “one-stop” website for news updates, learning and training materials, and a variety of publications, resources, and tools for CF (please check out our guide on how to navigate CFRC);
  2. develops learning and training materials and resources for CF, and provides and supports training and other capacity development activities on CF (e.g. workshops for training and experience sharing, and experiential learning through facilitated processes);
  3. creates and disseminates knowledge and information products (e.g. case studies, guidelines, publications, technical reports, training materials, tools) to advance and disseminate the knowledge and share best practices and experiences on CF;
  4. and advocates and promotes CF through a variety of engagements, such as presence and presentations at expert panels and international events, articles and interviews, inclusion of references of CF in the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems, and advisory roles on the “Enabling the Business of Agriculture” of the World Bank Group. 

Our CF work: Technical support to field projects

Our team provides technical support to projects and programmes at the country and regional levels, and it is a significant part of our work. Our work is based on the participatory and community-driven approach and focuses on capacity development to ensure ownership and sustainability of the projects. We provide evidence-based analysis to help stakeholders make informed decisions on adoption, implementation and upscaling of CF as an innovative business modality and develop needs-driven and context-specific design and recommendations.

It primarily includes one or more of the following areas:

  1. providing training on CF and carrying out other capacity building activities, e.g. forming stakeholder working groups, conducting stakeholder consultations, involving and engaging stakeholders in project implementation based on the participatory approach, and process and experiential learning through facilitated CF pilots;
  2. reviewing and evaluating the legal, regulatory and policy environments for CF, providing guidance on regulatory frameworks, and developing draft CF legislations to help countries create enabling environment for CF;
  3. conducting value chain analysis and feasibility assessment for selected value chains based on systems approach, assessing opportunities, incentives, capacities, challenges and risks for CF, and providing recommendations on piloting, preparing, managing, evaluating and upscaling CF operations and on legal and measures to create an enabling environment;
  4. and facilitating linkages between farmers, buyers and market, and among value chain actors (e.g. producer organizations, input suppliers, extension and financial services), and designing and facilitating CF pilots including the development and negotiation of model contract agreements. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].