Agribusiness Advisory Services

One of the most crucial challenges developing countries face in their endeavour to end poverty and hunger is accelerating sustainable agricultural growth and innovation.

Farmers need access to effective advisory services in addition to appropriate agricultural inputs to overcome this. For decades people have looked to their governments for support; now, agribusinesses worldwide play a vital role in providing farmers with important information, training, and new insights that guide their innovation.

However, agribusinesses providing advisory services face multiple challenges such as:

(1) How to increase acceptance and encourage adoption? 

(2) How and whether to integrate their advisory services with their commercial activities? And,

(3) How to make their advisory services efficient and economically sustainable?

Existing literature provides very few answers to these pressing questions. Therefore, in 2017, KIT launched its own programme to better understand and optimize agribusiness advisory services (ABAS). We work closely with development partners like Agriterra, cooperatives and the private sector actors to provide customised support to agribusinesses to strengthen the efficiency, impact, and economic viability of their services.

Our Approach & Expertise

KIT offers specialised, expert analysis of all knowledge related services. Consequently, we are able to cover all aspects of the extension provision, from targeting and categorizing farmers and inclusion, to extension communication tools such as video, monitoring and evaluation, and organisation and management. Every effort to strengthen these advisory services needs to be driven by a thorough understanding of our clients’ current performance as well as the need of their own client base, the farmers. Our experts assist agribusinesses by analysing their current performance using tools such as the ‘ABAS Health Check’. 

Using a combination of approaches to address challenges

KIT’s analysis is always combined with direct support, capacity building and coaching to address challenges identified. In this way, we address the bottlenecks in the system, the organisation, and at the management level as well as a field staff and implementation level. The ability to work and provide focused support at all levels in an integrated way is crucial for making lasting change. 

For instance, we observed in one of our projects in Kenya, with BAMSCOS, a co-operative, that the increased presence and quality of extension following the collaboration with KIT increased the visibility of the service and created a more demand-driven dynamic. Furthermore, it also led to significant increases in volumes of produce processed. (Graphic representation of the results from the BAMSCOS project in Kenya below)

Easily accessible expertise

KIT is renowned for its experts and its vast network of highly qualified locally based experts in various countries. Hence, where needed specialized additional expertise can be mobilized easily from within KIT, its close allies or its vast network of local consultants. Our experts can help answer detailed questions, for example, on digital communication tools or video design, on addressing gender concerns or on realizing financial inclusion. In the post-COVID era, KIT has also developed a hybrid way of working where face-to-face interactions are combined with virtual forms of support.

Our services

Education, training and coaching

There is probably no better contribution towards sustainable development than investing in people and building capacities at all levels. KIT Royal Tropical Institute plays a major role in this by offering a range of education and capacity building services, from formal education at masters level to client-oriented training and coaching support. Our training and coaching programmes are tailor-made to address the unique objectives and capacities of the requesting organisation.

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Monitoring, Evaluation & Impact Assessment

Monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment are powerful tools to assess health, social, and economic impact. They allow us to learn what works and why. Our expertise and track record in these areas make us well-equipped to evaluate your work. 

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Knowledge Management

Development and research organisations are often so focused on achieving their objectives that they find it difficult to create the time to look back, analyse and learn from what they experienced and share their results.

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Applied research

KIT Royal Tropical Institute addresses development challenges at local, regional and global levels through research that generates new insights and knowledge in our areas of expertise: health, sustainable economic development and gender.

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Publications

Towards demand-driven services? The role of feedback mechanisms in agribusiness-based advisory services for smallholder farmers

In many developing countries, agribusinesses are highly engaged in providing services to smallholder farmers, including agricultural advisory services or extension. As private service providers depend on farmers’ choices, eliciting farmer feedback and learning from farmers’ demands are important.

Understanding agribusiness-based advisory services: Findings of a learning trajectory

In many low- and middle-income countries, agribusinesses are deeply engaged in providing services to small- and medium-scale farmers. Such services can include agricultural advisory services or extension. Yet this phenomenon of agribusiness-based advisory services (ABAS) has received relatively little attention in the study of and discussions on advisory services (Babu & Zhou, 2016; IDH, 2016, 2017). This is a critical oversight, as agribusinesses are increasingly present as service providers, and hence shape the prevailing service landscape for smallholder farmers. Importantly, agribusinesses face various challenges in their role as service providers, with impacts both on the agribusinesses themselves and on their ability to contribute to inclusive agricultural development.

Towards a Typology for Agribusiness-based Advisory Services

Authors
L. van Veldhuizen, R. Njunge, D. Romney, L. Seelmann, E. Smits, J. Watiti
Year of Publication
2020
Downloads
Download CABI_Towards a Typology

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