AgriProFocus Netherlands

Making agribusiness work for development!

Dutch members 2019:

Posted By in AgriProFocus Uganda
Posted 22 October 2014 at 10:40

Hello Agri-hub Members,

Welcome to the new online platform!

ADAMOU Salissou Thanks for all

4 years 2 months ago


4 years 2 months ago

Ousseini Idrissa thank you

4 years 2 months ago

Posted By in AgriProFocus Netherlands
Posted 14 October 2014 at 09:50

Kennen jullie deze?

Posted By in AgriProFocus Netherlands
Posted 13 October 2014 at 07:08

Please register you participation at the upcoming Youth in Agribusiness Regional Inspirational Conference (YARIC) scheduled for 30th and 31st October 2014 at Kati, Kati Kampala. please note participation will be by invitation only and as such are requested to register at the link below;

YARIC concept.docx


I have tried to register using the link provided but failed. Is there any other way to register? 

4 years 3 months ago

karama farid

Great initiative,Wish you all great deliberations in the conference 

4 years 3 months ago

Humphrey Mutaasa

This is the right thing we are doing, because if any sector is to develop, Youths have to be at the center of all processes.

4 years 3 months ago

Sylvia Natukunda

Hi Mathias, I am told that you have fill all the fields that are marked with a star. If this fails; try this link;

4 years 3 months ago

Sylvia Natukunda

Thanks Farid and Humphrey!

4 years 3 months ago

Posted By in AgriProFocus Netherlands
Posted 10 October 2014 at 07:12

Dear all,

I bring to your attention the report on Situation Analysis Youth in Agribusiness in Uganda; Focus on agribusiness. Follow the link to access the report:

Best regards,


Harriet Fowler

i don't see the link?

4 years 3 months ago

Sylvia Natukunda

Dear Harriet,

The link is now included. The report was temporarily removed for minor edits but it's up again.


4 years 3 months ago

Posted By in Organised-farmers
Posted 1 October 2014 at 02:17

For those of you who actively followed the e-discussion Farm-Firm Relations and the methodology 2-2-Trade (formerly known as 2-2-Tango) it might be interesting to know that we are about to publish a 2-2-Trade book. The book is being written by the architects of the methodology: CDI/WUR, KIT and Agri-ProFocus. We expect to publish the book in early 2015. We will keep you informed through a/o this on-line platform.


‘It takes 2-2 Trade’ is a tool for the assessment and improvement of farmer-firm relations. 2-2 Trade focusses on bringing the most important perceived strengths and weaknesses of the relation between farmers and firms to the surface, by letting both groups score their perceptions on a number of topics. The result of the analyses is a perfect starting point for joint discussion between farmers and firms to bring their business relationship to the next level.


What it offers:

√ Is participatory: farmers and firms score a range of statements a

... Read more

Posted By in AgriProFocus Ethiopia
Posted 15 September 2014 at 11:35

Vacancy Announcement

(Deadline Friday September 29, 2014 10:00 am)



The Food Security and Rural Entrepreneurship Fund (FSRE-Fund) is financed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and managed by ICCO-Cooperation on behalf of Agri-ProFocus and the Agri-Hub Ethiopia. ICCO’s portfolio in Ethiopia is managed by its Regional Office in Kampala, Uganda. The Regional Office for Central and Eastern Africa is contractually responsible for the implementation of this fund. Agri-ProFocus (APF) is a Dutch-rooted partnership promoting farmer entrepreneurship and food security. Agri-ProFocus/Agri-Hub has 57 organisation and 685 individual network members in Ethiopia including producer organisations, financial institutions, private agri-business, NGOs, government institutions and individuals.

ICCO-Cooperation is adopting a new ‘social entrepreneurship’ approach in its work. In this approach the internal processes, the relations with partners an

... Read more

Posted By in AgriProFocus Tanzania
Posted 12 September 2014 at 07:49

Dear all,

Im are pleased to share with you a new publication entitled “Youth and Agriculture: Key Challenges and Concrete Solutions”produced jointly by CTA, FAO and IFAD. We can do a brainstorming and see if we can replicate the proposed solutions as in TYIAF.

Here is a short description of the publication:

Youth and Agriculture: Key Challenges and Concrete Solutions,


New publication by FAO, CTA and IFAD

The Global population is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050, of which, 14% are youth aged between 15 – 24 years. While the world’s youth population is will grow significantly, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for youth, esp

ecially those living in developing countries’ economically stagnant rural areas – remain limited, poorly remunerated and of poor quality. Few young people see a future for themselves in agriculture or rural areas. Some of the major challenges faced are: limited access to land; inadequate access to financial services; insufficient access to

... Read more

Posted By in AgriProFocus Zambia
Posted 18 July 2014 at 07:30


The past few months Silja Heyland, student at Van Hall Larenstein University in Wageningen did a desk research commissioned by Agri-ProFocus entitled 'how gender inclusion improves commercial dairy chains'. The research resulted in a Bachelor thesis. Last week Silja presented her finding during a lunch meeting organized by Agri-ProFocus in Wageningen.

For more information (including the full thesis) and other back ground material (e.g. the PPt and the report of the lunch session) look at:

The video illustrates the case of dairy value chain development in Nicaragua. Even though the experience is taken from another continent, I think the situation will be recognizable for those of you active in dairy value chain development. If not, I am curious to learn in what way the situ

... Read more

Posted By in gender-in-value-chains
Posted 14 July 2014 at 01:57


5 arguments to include women in dairy chain development

Women are highly involved in dairy production, but they are mostly not recognized as dairy farmers. Often women have limited access to credit, markets and business development services.

Agri-ProFocus and Fair & Sustainable Advisory Services (Angelica Senders) commissioned a study by Silja K. Heyland, student of International Development Management at Van Hall Larenstein Wageningen, on how gender-inclusion improves commercial dairy supply chains in the global south.

The research objective was to find attractive arguments for local business chain actors to address gender issues in their dairy supply chains and to give an overview of chain interventions that contribute to successful gender-inclusion. The research focuses on small-scale dairy farmers and their producer organizations, since this level gives an indication of who benefits and in which way from dairy chain development.

Eight semi-structured interviews have been conducted over

... Read more

Posted By in AgriProFocus Netherlands
Posted 12 June 2014 at 12:21

Women entrepreneurs in Uganda are encouraged to apply for an opportunity to participate in the Netherlands- Uganda Women in Business Program that aims at providing business development support and innovation creation by providing trainings, matchmaking opportunities, technical support and training and a trade mission to the Netherlands.

For details on how to participate, minimum requirements and who to contact, please visit the following link;

Please note that the deadline for submitting the application is 30th June 2014.

Do not hesitate to contact me at for any clarifications required.

Please share widely in your networks!

Peace Ayebale

Dear organising person/people,

I am quite disappointed to find out that women who would like to travel to Netherlands have been marginalised financially. The ordinary farmer in Uganda would not be able to be earning 100m Ug shs. I thought the reason you are helping women is to ensure that each one is treated equally - otherwise, this sort of putting people in boxes according to what they can generate from their farms will only assist the so call rich.


Kind regards


4 years 6 months ago

Sylvia Natukunda Dear Peace, As much as I would also wish to have programs that address the interests of all women in Uganda, this is not always the case. Every programme has specific objectives it would wish to achieve and for this case, this programming was targeting Women with sizeable businesses. For example, these women entrepreneurs were supposed to cover their own transport costs to the Netherlands of which I believe an ordinary farmer cannot afford. As Agri-Profocus, we try to bring to your attention every opportunity that emerges, when one that covers the majority of women comes up, we will also bring it your way. Sylvia

4 years 2 months ago

Posted By in AgriProFocus Ethiopia
Posted 1 April 2014 at 07:00

The FSRE Fund Linking and Learning Workshop started to be held today (April 1, 2014) in ILRI compound. The three day workshop, which will include a field visit to two Agribusiness companies in Debre Zeit and a detailed learning review of the visit for the following two days, aims in linking and learning of ten FSRE Fund grantee organizations (Dorcas Aid, Christian Aid, DEC, GOAL Ethiopia, African Bamboo, HUNDEE, Agri Service Ethiopia, FC, ECO-COFFEE and Bere Sericulture). One up to three representatives of each organization attended the workshop.

The first day of the workshop started with an opening remark from Ato Michael Assefa  (from ICCO/FSREF). Michael welcomes the participants of the workshop and reminded them of the importance and benefits of the learning & linking event.

Mr. Gerrit Holtland (from F&S) made a recapitulation presentation on what has been done so far regarding the FSRE Fund linking and learning Agenda. Mentioning that the aim of FSRE Fund is to support innovatio

... Read more

Gerrit Holtland

Thanks Gizaw, nice to read this report. We had very good discussions indeed!

4 years 9 months ago

Miressa Belay Dibaba

The Linking and Learning of FSRE was very impressive we spent.

Thank you very much Agri -Hub.

4 years 9 months ago

Kebede Dhuga Chaka

Thank you Gizaw.

You put what we have been doing in our Linking-Learning Workshop briefly. Readers can easily get what was happening in the workshop.

4 years 9 months ago

Posted By in AgriProFocus Ethiopia
Posted 20 December 2013 at 06:54

Dear all,

The FSRE-Fund second round call for proposal for "innovative fund" is just launched!

Hoping you could benefit from the call, hereby we would like to share the information.

please refer to the call advertisement attached Here.

you also can find the call Here

At the advertisement you will find:

  • what the call is about
  • who will be eligible for the call
  • whom you should contact and
  • Deadline for application.

The Agri- Hub Coordination team wishes you the best of luck!!

Amarech Haile Berhe

Dear Dr. Hassen,

I hope it is in your inbox by now.

Have a nice day.


5 years 3 weeks ago

Debritu Mogesse Lusteau

Dear Amarech,

Can you advise me where to download the fsre-fund criteria and concept note template?

Where can i find the presentation from Last Tuesday event?

Thank you in Advance


5 years 2 weeks ago

Amarech Haile Berhe

Dear Debritu,

 As it is stated in the call for proposal, the application guideline can be requested using the E-mail address

The presentation also can be found at the FSRE-Fund page(FSRE-FUND) under the sub page "Reports and media"( you also can click Here to find the presentation.

I hope this finds you well.

Kind regards,


5 years 2 weeks ago

Taye Negatu

Dear Amarech

May you send the guideline to my inbox, Thank you

5 years 2 weeks ago

Amarech Haile Berhe

Dear Taye,

I will make sure that you get  the guideline. You may also send your request to

Kind regards,


5 years 2 weeks ago

Posted By in AgriProFocus Ethiopia
Posted 23 October 2013 at 09:56

Dear all,

It may be of interest.

As it is remembered, a Call for Proposal–Matching Grant Fund ( FSRE- Fund) was posted on October 7, 2013 at 13:30.Please refer Here for the detail. you may also find the contact details there.

However, due to the fact that the office of FSRE-Fund have decided to extend the final application date up to October 28,2013 3:00pm, for those who have the interest to apply for the call,now is the time to give it a try.


Please contact directly the FSRE- Fund office as per the contact detail stated at the form attached with the call for proposal- matching grant Fund.


Once again the Agri- Hub Ethiopia coordination team wishes you luck!!


Kind regards,


Amarech Haile,




Agri-Hub Ethiopia

Posted By in AgriProFocus Ethiopia
Posted 7 October 2013 at 11:47

The Food Security and Rural Entrepreneurship Fund (FSRE-Fund) has been set up to finance activities that improve the food security of farming families and enhance income, investment and jobs in smallholder farmers, Producer Organisations (PO) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) linked to smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.

The Food Security and Rural Entrepreneurship Fund (FSRE-Fund) is financed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and managed by ICCO on behalf of Agri-ProFocus and the Agri-Hub Ethiopia. ICCO’s portfolio in Ethiopia is managed by its Regional Office in Kampala, Uganda.

The FSRE- Fund is calling for the 2nd call for proposal, 1st for matching grant Fund call,  which aims at  providing a fair and competitive opportunity for interested organisations, institutions and companies to submit proposals for matching grant funding from the ICCO – Cooperation for boosting food security and rural entrepreneurship in rural Ethiopia in th

... Read more

Posted By in organised-farmers
Posted 9 April 2013 at 07:28

We summarized the succesful first week of the eDiscussion. You will find the summary here: Summary Edisc Farm Firm Week 1. Please take 5 minutes for our survey in which we ask your input & opinion regarding the results of week 1.

We invite you to the next phase of our discussion:


What is the role of farms, firms and supporters (NGO’s, government, BDS suppliers, etc.) in establishing and improving the understanding between farms and firms?


Let us know your thoughts, opinion and experiences. Should it be a trajectory ideally initiated by the farmers, by the firms or by thirds? What can and should be done by the farms themselves? What by the firms themselves and where and how should supporters like NGO’s, government, BDS suppliers, etc. support (or coordinate? or initiate?) this process?

In the meantime, please feel free to add to the challenges identified and proposed activities so far through:

- The survey asking your opinion & input regaring the resul

... Read more

Pascale Schuit

We have reached the seemingly simple conclusions that: trust, transparency, mutual understanding, and collaboration are critical elements in the relation between farms and firms.  But, was does this mean?

There exists  no blue-print or guideline on creating mutual understanding, transparency or trust. What should collaboration look like? Union Hand Roasted sources from various countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We experience that ideas about trust, collaboration, friendship and business are very different amongst our coffee suppliers. There are no silver bullets.

Therefore, the first step for all parties is to define “About what do we want to create understanding?”. As a supplier of my product, “What are critical supply chain issues for me?” Vegetables, fruits and flowers are very delicate compared to coffee or cacao. Hence, a vegetable farms will face different constraints in bringing his vegetables to the market compared to a coffee famer. Farms should communicate the constraints in the supply chain to the buyer, the buyer (firm)  should be receptive to what the farm tries to explain him and committed to work together with the farm.

Firms should ask the same question ”What are critical issues for me?” They should have clear and consistent grades and standards and communicate these requisites  to the farm.


Hence, it is important to first define on what do we want to create mutual understanding. Second, what is the aim of mutual understanding: Lower transaction costs? Increased compliance or decreased non-compliance? Tackling quality or quantity issues? A more stable and constant flow of supply or demand? Less logistical fuzz? Proportionally distributing risk in the supply chain? …Why should we understand each other…?

It is likely that for example pricing is to be a key issue for both parties. The seller wants to sell its product for a good price and the buyer wants to buy the product for a good price. Hence, the objectives during the transaction are different. Different does not mean conflicting. The trick is to make the price discussable (also mentioned by Mr. Jimmy Mutunga PhD), that is generate understanding and listen to each other’s arguments. The firm should understand that the farm needs a living wage – and the farm should understand that firms can only sell the product for as much as the consumer is willing to pay for it.

How can farms, firms and NGO’s contribute to this? It is important to generate the conditions that result in an environment that enables open discussion. Both farms and firms should be committed, most likely it with take various transactions and constant evaluation to identify the challenges and opportunities in creating mutual understanding. Specialized NGO’s could facilitate the discussion between the farm and the firm.

As a Rwandan friend told me, visiting the Union Hand Roasted in London was an eye-opening experience. The visit to London helped them to understand why quality is so important for the consumer (Rwanda has a low coffee consumption per capita – there is no “coffee drinking culture”). Having seen this, it made it easier for them to convince and explain producers about the importance of good quality. Also, it creates understanding about the work we do: roasting, packaging, sales, promotion, distribution etc.

In order to collaborate one needs to have shared goals and visions, if not it becomes co-ordination or co-operation which is driven by one party. Driven by one party it will most likely will serve the needs of just one party. Therefore, a very import step in my opinion is to stop thinking in terms of “us” and “them” or “buyer” and “supplier” or as in this case “farm” and “firm”. We are all members of the same supply chain and we depend on each other, we are related, we are a team that brings a product to the market. We need our coffee farms and the coffee farms need us. By working together as a team in selling the product to the final consumer we can maximize profits and distribute rents along the chain. Trust, traceability and transparency are pre-conditions for working in a team. One cannot work together, if one party hides information from the other party.

According to New Institutional Economics exchanges are governed by a set of formal institutions (contracts, incentives, authority) and informal institutions (norms, trust, routines, political processes) which are deeply intertwined. Customized contracts and clear incentives can under certain circumstances generate trust. Yet, as Muhimbise John illustrates in one of his comments: in Uganda the legal system does not work well. Hence, it might be that an informal contract with whom you trust might be of more value than a formal paper. That is, a man’s word, or a handshake is preferred under certain circumstances. Nevertheless, in many cases generating mutual understanding requires both formal and informal institutions. That would in practice mean clear and transparent contracts but also regular visits from  firm to farm or farm to firm.

One important question is: How can we upscale this? With a small amount of (organized) coffee producers and working in the niche market of specialty coffee Union Hand Roasted has the possibility to regularly interact with our coffee producers. Our direct trade model requires patience and devotion. Smallholders often face many constraints in commercializing their coffee (which delays shipment, causes complications in quality etc.). Not every buyer is interested in devoting so much time on origin as we do. Some just want their coffee in time, that’s it.

Ted Schrader pointed out that creating mutual understanding on the bulk market is unnecessary. I am not sure whether I agree on that. I believe that it is difficult (if not impossible) to create mutual understanding on the bulk market because of the anonymity in transaction. Being difficult does not mean unnecessary. Very few farms produce for the market, let alone that they produce for a specialty niche market. It is important that firms and consumers understand that when they squeeze prices of agricultural products they impoverish the livelihoods of millions of smallholders. We need to create mutual understanding. Firms and consumers should know the story behind the flowers, rice, fruits, vegetables, corn or coffee they buy.

How can we create mechanisms to make trust and mutual understanding work on a large scale?

As a final point: have patience understanding and mutual trust are not created overnight.

5 years 9 months ago

Sjoerd Croqué

Where farms and firms meet is simply called 'a market', but access to a market is not always a given and a level playing field is not necessarily present. Entrepeneurs, be they farmers, fisherman or food processors, need a stable and transparent enabling environment to perform well. This is a primary responsibility of governments, and governments should be accountable for how well they fulfil this responsibility. A stable and transparent market will help entrepreneurs in the agricultural and food sectors to make the risks they inherently face manageable. Transparent markets will also contribute to mutual trust. The best way to mitigate risks is to be connected to a value chain that is mutually dependent, but more importantly also mutually beneficial. There is no better way for a farmer to build a stable livelihood and to be able to invest in his or her own business, than ensuring that his or her product can be sold at a decent price. And there is no better way for a food processing company of retailers to ensure a healthy balance sheet, than knowing your supply will be timely, safe and of sufficient quality. Every segment of the value chain has to work together as equal partners to make sure they supply what is in demand.

With the prospect of an increasing world population for the coming decades, it is inevitable that we need more food to feed everybody. Even if when we acknowledge that the current problems of hunger and malnutrition are mostly caused by inadequate distribution of income and access to food, and in theory we are currently producing enough to feed everybody on the planet, population growth in combination with changing consumption patterns and more wealthy consumers worldwide will lead to higher demand for agricultural products. The potential benefits of these developments are huge. If we can achieve sustainable agricultural development, we would be able to lift millions of people out of poverty and improve their food security, as has been happening to stunning effects in China, India and many other countries around the world in the past two decades. What is needed to make this happen, is to make investing in sustainable agriculture and food production a viable business opportunity.

To illustrate how this can work, consider the example of cocoa farmers in West-Africa. West-Africa is the leading source of cocoa in the world and demand for cocoa is booming because of growing middle classes especially in Asia. By working together and investing in certification, farmers and partners along the value chain can make cocoa production more sustainable both economically and environmentally. By connecting farmers to (international) markets and the companies active in these markets as a part of a value chain, everybody benefits. What is happening more and more with global value chains, now has to be replicated in local and regional value chain. Sustainable growth of the agricultural sector can be best realised through a market-oriented approach. That is why cooperation between government, civil society, research institutions and the private sector is crucial. Together , these parties can create opportunities for market-led agricultural growth all around the world.



5 years 9 months ago

Pascale Schuit

Dear Lisette,

A very useful contribution, thank you.

Considering point 2, I believe NGO's, embassies or third parties can play an important role in for example traceability. To illustrate, train (organized) farms in for example excel, keeping a record etc. Also in timing, volume and quality NGO’s can play an important role. They can fill existing knowledge gaps on legislation, juridical issues when exporting a product, or help farms overcome language barriers. In addition they can provide organized farms with the infrastructure needed, a truck to transport, clean bodega’s to store the product etc.


I followed this discussion having in the back of my mind farmers that already produce for the market (e.g. not merely subsistence farmers). Taking into account that we also include farmers that do not have access to (export) markets I think third parties can play a very important role as match-makers between farms and firms. Many development organizations work with coffee (GIZ, USDAID, CRS, BID etc.). So, in the coffee sector it is not uncommen to get introduced to organized famers by an NGO or third party. Actually, this most likely will create confidence for firms to start a potential trade relationship. If farms have the support of an NGO than firms know that these farms are backed up by NGO’s that will provide them the necessary training on the topics mentioned above (volume, quality, traceability etc.).

There is sufficient anecdotal evidence of NGO’s that in past forgot the element of access to markets.  That is, projects would suggest to producers to start cultivate a certain product, provided them with inputs, knowledge and infrastructure and then after the harvest they realized they needed a buyer. NGO’s, embassies and other third parties should play the role of matchmaker in the marriage between farm and firm. 

5 years 9 months ago

Posted By in organised-farmers
Posted 3 April 2013 at 03:03

eDiscussion Farm-Firm Relations

Follow-up Discussion Questions

Many thanks for you active contribution already on day 1! In order to keep focused we are preparing a summary of all contributions consisting of you observations, opinions and experiences regarding:

-          The need for understanding between farms & firms

-          The issues to be discussed, understood or agreed upon between farms & firms

-          The proposed activities in order to improve mutual understanding


Today we share with you some observations, opinions and experiences regarding the need for understanding between farms & firms. Tomorrow the issues en proposed activities will follow. Feel free to contribute to the existing string of discussion launched on 2 April. Click here to access this 1st string of discussions. 


In the meantime we ask your opinion, o

... Read more

leo van Mulekom

Market conditions: consider also 'timing' a very important parameter.

I am not sure if the next thing would be considered a market condition, but one vital aspect in creating sustainaned win-win value chains must lie in understanding, appreciating, and respecting risks. Risk premiums as part of costs of production are often under pressure in very competitive conditions (e.g. when supply is temporarily bigger than demand, this risk premium is the first to be negotiated out of the window). At serious peril to the longlevity of the livelihood and the investment in quality of the farm. But also traders have their risk premiums. In certain commodities a 30% mark-up sounds redicilous, but isn't if one realises how frequently containers can get spoiled (during transport or at a customs office) or rejected (by the end-buyer or the importing country).

This leads me to the other follow-up question. I think the most important things to consider are the value (per unit), how good or how long the produce can be kept and stored (at quality/freshness), and the crop failure risks (in some produce 1 failure out of 4 cycles is not unheard of). So if we would prioritise how and where to start building mutual understanding, I would start with sharing risk perceptions ("costs") and I would focus initially on high-value, cash-crop type commodities with short shelflives, high harvest failure frequencies, and quick turn-over in trade.

5 years 9 months ago

Rene Guarin

Others things that might be considered or highlighted :

  1. The latent margins are high and more than enough to cover the costs of improving existing production/processing practices and introducing better technology.  Or new technology gives rise for better margins to be realized.
  2. A firm (old or new entrant) responds to growing/intensifying competition by working along the chain; understands and believes in the strategic value of competing  on chain vs. chain level instead of the firm vs. firm level only; and/or firms using the farm-firm relations/understanding to position themselves differently in the market or in response to new demands from the consumer market.

Latent margins may be tapped by increasing productivity at the different levels from the farms to the firm, however in most cases, it is the productivity at the farm level that is often below industry standards due to wrong practices, inaccessibility to technology, financing and in extreme cases basic infrastructure.   

The better production practices and access to technology/finance allows the farmers to negotiate not based only on price but seeks for arrangements that are durable and long-term. Negotiations that asks for better prices alone without looking at the level of productivity at the farm level is too one sided and cannot be sustained as the push will always be to increase prices in order to get better net income. In a seaweeds value chain in the Philippines, one processor does not offer the best price but the company’s offer to provide technical services and incentives as the level of trade increases ( like pick-up of products at farm gate, investment on drying facilities) made the company the choice of the farmers to sell to.

Presence of new technology also allows for the possibility of reaching mutually beneficial understanding between farms and firms.  Take the case of organic rice value chains in the Philippines. The most that better markets and thus better prices could offer is a 15% increase as the cost of marketing rice as a finished product vs. a commodity eats up the higher price the end consumer market pays for. But addressing productivity (costs and yields) using better technology and access to finance would result to another round of increase. Bulk purchases of inputs could be translated to anywhere between 5% to 10% savings in costs. The technology of using ducks to increase the uptake of nutrients by the plant and to ward of pests would result to further reduction on costs (another 5-10%)  while the net effect would result in better yields ranging from 10% to 20%.  Finally, the new technology does not require so much labor on the part of the farmer which is the main drive for other organic farmers to ask for higher prices because even if their costs decreased their labor input has increased.  The new technology thus allows the possibility for organic rice to be sold affordably to a wider set of consumers.

Finally, while this is not a market condition, it has a very big impact on the negotiations. Its recognizing how much income contribution the product can only offer. There has been cases where farmers believe or led to believe that all their income needs can be obtained on a single specific commodity and thus the constant push to seek the highest price possible. Recognizing the limits of a products income contribution levels off the expectations of the farmers and makes negotiations realistic.

5 years 9 months ago

Pascale Schuit

I would be very interested if producers organizations and companies could share their experience on the statement made by Ms. van Benthum above:

 “The guarantee of a market for part off their product will offer them long-term security of income, for which they might be willing to accept a slightly lower price. This while with the other part of their produce they can still speculate on the spot market.”

In my experience is that this exact point often is a bottleneck for cooperatives or producers organizations when commercializing their product. Especially during the first years of exporting their product.

Many smallholders will sell a part of their coffee at the spot market to obtain the so hardly needed cash (to pay the coffee pickers, buy food, repay dept etc.) and they sell a part to the cooperative. Not always the coop is able to pay prices above the local market price.

In the case of coffee: because of economies of scale and years of experience the competition often has lower operational costs compared to cooperatives. When cooperatives are paying higher prices compared to the competition, the competition often raises prices. This is good for the farmer on the short term but it is likely that the competition tries to outcompete the coop and once the coop is gone prices will be lowered again.

To go back to the point of Lisette, do smallholders understand all this? Or if they understand: does their socio-economic condition permits them to accept slightly lower prices for the sake of long-term strategy and benefits? E.g. can you say to a smallholder this year we pay you $0.9 /kilo whilst local market prices are $1,-. But we can assure you that we buy from you next year. How many smallholders will participate in your project? The next year, the coop pays $1,- and the local market $0.80 increasing the amount of new membership applications. This is difficult for cooperative management that often operate in fragile and extremely complicated context.

If prices offered by coop’s are similar to or slightly lower than local spot market prices producers often sell large parts of their harvest to others. In cases were cooperatives work with contracts between producers and the coop, contract failure will occur or farmers will start to report “less production than expected” “stolen crops” etc. If prices paid by the cooperative are higher than the local market (because for example after the first 2-3 years the cooperative was able to reduce the costs made during exporting or processing) then farmers suddenly start to report “more production than expected” and wish to sell all their production instead of just 25% to the cooperative. This causes problems for the person in charge of “selling the coffee”. Expecting 4 containers to sell and know there is coffee for 8 containers. Probably, you can find buyers for your coffee but you wish to sell to buyers that recognize the quality of your product and pay a price differential.

I am interested in the experience of the participants in this discussion:

“Are producers willing to accept slightly lower prices knowing this will result in long-term security of income”

How does this work? What are the conditions?

5 years 9 months ago

Lovemore Christopher Gwiriri

Interesting discussion. I agree with John and Inger. However I would like to add another dimension which often derails trust in contractual relations. In my experience when I carried out this research in Uganda, the issue of trust was raised. However it was also closely knit with the context of non-enforcement of contract breach. Farmers did state that they had penalties put in place by the farming organisations they belonged to, however they did not believe anything can be done to firms for breach of contract. This was invariably a point where the lack of trust stems from. This context often holds true in most contractual agreements and could very well be a starting point in creating trust between firms and farmers. For a farmer the agreement binds him to the firm and he/she can have penalties for breach of contract, but what happens in the reverse situation?? What happens to firms that breach a contract? What do I do as a farmer if I give the firm all my produce and they do not pay me in time or the agreed price? 

5 years 9 months ago

Pascale Schuit

Thank you, Alexander your reaction is very valueble, the example you give are very intresting. I appreciate it.

5 years 9 months ago

Posted By in organised-farmers
Posted 2 April 2013 at 09:14

‘Firms understand Farmers, but Farmers do not understand Firms’

…or is it the other way around?


To kick-off our discussion on Farm-Firm Relations, we present to you two different views on the issue.

‘Players in the various market chains have been working in isolation which precipitates inadequacies in understanding each player’s challenges and realities of operations. This brings about suspicions against each other on prices and quality assurance where they point at one another as exploiters and quality adulterators which turns the relationships into a blame game and in the process further compromises the effectiveness and efficiency of the market chain’, states Mr. Frederick Musisi Kabuye of the Africa 2000 Network in Uganda.


‘Firms that want to work with farms should understand that farms often operate in a context where there exists inadequate infrastructure, a la

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leo van Mulekom

I read both paper contributions, and I agree with the message contained in both papers that a lot can be improved through direct dialogues (get to understand each others realities) and that these dialogues best include all actors within a value chain. It feels a bit that both writers are aware of what I share below. I just use different words.

My perspective includes “both sides” of the value chain (Philippines and Zambia in the village; and with GlobalGAP and some of its retail-members at the higher end of the value chain; and in standard setting dialogues intensively discussing production-quality-price parameters).

I picked up that farmers seldom realise the logistical constraints processors have (small may be beautiful but is expensive to transport), and seldom realise the strong pressure on timing and volume in deliveries, and the fear processors/exporters live with to fail quality assurance criteria (either set by law or by a demanding end-buyer like a supermarket chain). An unpredictable element in this is that end-buyers may change or even cancel contracts for delivery at a moment notice. Life is riddled with insecurities. It is because of this that buyers at the farmgate often negotiate for a margin for risks in the buying price (spilling a handful of beans before weighing the sack), and also will hesitate to commit to further purchases (the next cycle and the cycle thereafter).

On the other hand, farmers work in/with significant risks. Crops may fail anytime, and often through no fault of the farmer. Prices are never guaranteed. And the first thing she would think of is the food of the family, then the social glue that keeps relations with the neighbours (payments in kind and/or in time), and only the third consideration is the actual market. So, dependency on the sale may actually vary or not be fully realised, but the path towards a successful sale is always paved with insecurities. It’s a scary profession to be in. And farmers will try to negotiate the price up….sometimes with street smart tricks (like a few bebbles at the bottom of the same sack of beans) if the power of words appears insufficient.

The farmer seldom realises to what extend the buyer at the farmgate actually depends on her in delivering the volume and quality that is desired and to do that at the exact time the buyer needs it. The buyer seldom grasps the risks associated with farming and the need a farmer has to hear the buyer speak about longer term commitments to come back and buy again in future. Any serious/significant farm improvement will easily require an investment that can only be recuperated through a series of successful sales over several harvest cycles. This time horizon is very risky to contemplate for many farmers. It is also very risky for the farmgate buyers. They both are in a situation wherein trust becomes essential, yet wherein both also have different needs and only have an incomplete picture of the needs in the other party. The farmer responds to this by often not committing to the farm and the farming as best as she could and most certainly not to focus solely on the specifications of the buyer. Sell as opportunity comes, she thinks. The buyer responds by thinking short-term and always keeping a lookout for alternative places he can get his supply from. Keep my options open, he thinks.

Trust is the commodity that is really in short supply here. Getting better acquainted with each others realities and needs may help a lot. Contract farming arrangements can be a solution to this. But that too is often perceived as too risky. Risk management attempts then leading to skewed/biased/unfair arrangements from the side of the buyer and/or illicit side-selling from the side of the farmer. Price pressure (by retail) is certainly an issue. But, I believe, (absolute) price is not. With the certification systems I have had experience with I see extra costs of doing things better amply offset by potential savings through the reduction of transaction costs and inefficiencies. Retail, as one paper argues, could certainly help a lot by letting go of the desire (in my view quite artificially kept alive through single message marketing) to be the cheapest on the block.

I have the feeling (but nothing concretely to back this up) that if all parties in a given value chain would see and understand each others realities and needs, they would possibly find it easier to work together on mutual wins in the sequence of business transactions that food from farm to fork goes through…..and build up the trust that is essential for the longer term business deal they could all benefit from.

5 years 9 months ago

HELVETIUS Heriniaina

j’ai suivi la discutions comme prévu et mon point de vue est le suivant
effectivement il y a une incompréhension qui se traduit par des soupçon de la part des fermiers, ils ont raison jusqu’à la limité où on (les entreprises) n’arrive pas à leurs expliquer la chaine du marché, le but c’est de s’appuyer sur la transparence surtout sur le prix et la partage équitable des marges. En effet, le fait de ne pas savoir qui gagne combien pourrai être une source de problème

5 years 9 months ago

HELVETIUS Heriniaina

En tant qu’acteurs dans la chaine je pense qu’il est impératif de savoir ce qui se passe dans l’autres camps, cela faciliterai une relation durable

5 years 9 months ago

HELVETIUS Heriniaina

Je n'irrai pas jusqu'à dire que cette incompréhension résulte d'un niveau d'étude ou de savoir, ces sont les entreprise en fait qui doivent informer (former ?) les fermiers sur les exigenace du marché et de faire en sorte que les fermiers savent comment repondre à ces critaires du marché.

L'autre formation ou renforcement de capacité doit se focaliser sur la mise en place, la gestion d'une coopérative de producteurs a fin que les ventes soient groupées

5 years 9 months ago

HELVETIUS Heriniaina

Vous avez raison et je pense que l'une des façons d'augmenter les marges pour l'entreprise c'est la diversifiaction des produits (finis ?) mais non pas seulement diminuer le prix des matières premières.

Effectivement les fermiers pensent que les nouveaux investissements faites par les entreprives viennent d'eux, ils n'ont pas tout à fait tord ! et ne demandent pas non plus à avoir un nouveau véhicule tous les deux ans mais c'est à l'entreprise de prevoir dans son budget l'achat d'un ou plusieurs matériels agricole qu'ils pourront gérer en CUMA par exemple

5 years 9 months ago

Posted By in AgriProFocus Ethiopia
Posted 27 March 2013 at 06:24

Dear all,

The Food Security and Rural Entrepreneurship Fund (FSRE-Fund),financed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and managed by ICCO on behalf of Agri-ProFocus and the Agri-Hub Ethiopia, aims to receive innovative projects which have a potential to contribute to improve food security and rural entrepreneurship in rural Ethiopia.

Please refer to the attached document for the details here under.

FSREF 1st Call for Proposal Advert Final.pdf

Dr. Hassen Beshir

Dear colleague,

the proposal could not be opened.

5 years 9 months ago

Dr. Hassen Beshir

Dear Colleague,

I have get it. Thank you

5 years 9 months ago

Kalekristos Yohannes Dear Amarech I have tried to see the link for the pdf but it is not working. can you attach it again? or is there other way to see it

5 years 9 months ago