IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, brings together private and public sector organizations to increase sustainable trade in global commodity supply chains. IDH’s Value Chain Development (VCD) program focuses on Africa and is aimed at creating economically viable, inclusive and resilient agricultural value chains.

Focus on Africa

Value Chain Development is a market-driven approach for creating sustainable, inclusive and economically viable supply chains. It supports SMEs and smallholder farmers to meet the quality, volume and compliance requirements of global brands, retailers and traders.

Domestic and regional markets in Africa have seen impressive growth in recent years with increasing demand for high value crops, and international buyers are increasingly interested in sourcing from Africa. By linking SMEs and farmers directly with these buyers, VCD contributes to the creation of employment opportunities, particularly for women and youth, and improves the income and livelihoods of farmers and communities.

This is particularly important because agricultural employment in Africa accounts for approximately 57% of the continent’s workforce – but looking at the value this is adding to the economy, it is far lower in comparison to countries in Latin America, the Middle East or Europe. Therefore, the development of agricultural activities is a crucial avenue for improvement and sustainable change.

Two key VCD program workstreams

In-country sectoral VCD

IDH facilitates market linkages for SMEs and farmers and supports their commercialization. For example through access to affordable financing, technical assistance, quality inputs and infrastructure.


Grown Sustainably in Africa

IDH works with international brands, retailers and traders to build local sourcing and address challenges in developing reliable African supply bases that meet their volume and quality specifications.


How does the IDH VCD program work?

Through partnerships with buyers such as brands, retailers, and traders seeking to improve their sustainable sourcing, IDH strives to to provide technical, commercial support and access to affordable finance for African SMEs and smallholder farmers. Investing in their business operations enables them to grow consistently high-quality produce and to meet premium market requirements of buyers in Africa, Europe and beyond.

  • Invest to establish sustainable, inclusive and economically viable supply chains
  • Improve business operation capabilities of SMEs and farmers
  • Partner with relevant local stakeholders to address supply chain constraints
  • Increase intra-African trade and beyond by partnering with buyers
  • Enable access to local, regional and international premium markets

Farmfit: the approach that makes IDH unique in Value Chain Development

IDH Farmfit makes investments in smallholder farming more attractive, providing technical assistance, insights and de-risked finance models to banks and business. The approach is based on three pillars: IDH Farmfit Business Support, IDH Farmfit Intelligence and the IDH Farmfit Fund.

IDH Farmfit Business Support provides technical assistance, sourcing analysis and advice to companies and banks, helping them develop cost efficient and economically viable smallholder inclusive business models.

IDH Farmfit Intelligence shares key insights and benchmarking tools on how to make smallholder value chains more efficient, effective and impactful.

The IDH Farmfit Fund is the world’s biggest ever public-private impact fund that makes investments in smallholder farmers attractive and reduces risks and costs for both farmers and investors.

For more information on IDH’s Farmfit approach, click here


More information on VCD