Designing new business models for smallholders profitability

Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands in her role as UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) joined over 50 public and private executives to shape the future of the IDH Smallholder Innovation Platform that will serve as an expertise center and innovation catalyst for sustainable smallholder business models.

Millions of smallholder farmers need access to fertilizer, agrochemicals, better farming techniques and finance to improve their business and family income. Companies and NGOs have developed models to provide services and inputs to these farmers, and banks are keen to take these models to scale, but unclear return on investment, lack of a systematic data-driven assessment and high risks hamper investments.

IDH developed a data driven approach to help service providers set up financially sustainable business models. 30 service delivery models, across sectors and continents were analyzed and from the insights, several of the largest commodity traders in cocoa and coffee in Africa and Asia have already made improvements to their models of delivery and finance. In this meeting, today and tomorrow, the outcomes and next steps will be taken with government and business leaders to bring cost-effective service delivery to scale.

Joost Oorthuizen, Executive Director of IDH: “We need sustainable farmer-focused business models to help professional smallholders yield more on their existing land. Agriculture will be the engine of economic growth and employment in Africa and Asia in the coming decades. This needs to be high on the agenda of businesses and governments in the coming years to ensure growth is accomplished in a sustainable way. It’s therefore an honor her Majesty Queen Máxima is present at this event.”

Enock Chikava, Deputy Director Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: “It is vital we work together to solve issues such as unclear impact and return on investment data, limited learning and innovation and a lack of a systematic data-driven assessment. The platform with IDH will gear that cooperation across sectors, landscapes and geographies and create a “go-to” place for expertise in smallholder engagement, so we can move from analytics to innovations at scale.”

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