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.
Private Seed Sector Development Burundi
The Private Seed Sector Development (PSSD) project aims to double the production and incomes of 108,000 farmer households in Burundi. KIT is working with private and public sector partners to promote the development of a private sector-led seed industry that is able to provide farmers with sustainable access to high-quality seed and agricultural advisory services. PSSD is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Burundi.Read more about Private Seed Sector Development Burundi
Understanding Agribusiness Based Advisory Services: Research, Report and Workshops
In 2018, KIT Royal Tropical Institute, Agriterra, Moyee Coffee, and the Food & Business Knowledge Platform came together to try and better understand the functioning of agribusiness-based Advisory Services. The partnership focused on companies buying or selling agricultural produce, equipment and goods. In addition, the study also included farmer cooperatives operating as an agribusiness.Read more about Understanding Agribusiness Based Advisory Services: Research, Report and Workshops
Strengthening a dairy cooperative’s extension services in Kenya
Integrated Seed Sector Development in the Sahel
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.More about Education, training and coaching
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.More about Monitoring, Evaluation & Impact Assessment
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.More about Knowledge Management
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.
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.
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.