Our value-chain approach helps kick-start markets that will sustain themselves and grow over time

Developing sustainable agricultural production is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Poverty, hunger, malnutrition and climate change are complex challenges that require a paradigm shift in agriculture. Value chains and food systems need to become more inclusive, efficient and diverse, as well as nutrition-sensitive and climate smart, to ensure that people have access to food at affordable prices and opportunities to shift to healthier diets.

As agriculture is primarily driven by the private sector we take a market-based approach. During 2019-2022, we will make a significant contribution to systems change in at least 16 of the countries where we work by kick-starting and strengthening agricultural markets in selected commodities. We will deploy our tested tools and approaches – such as using a food systems lens to identify key bottlenecks, developing inclusive business models, working with public-private partnerships and launching innovative finance – to address the root causes of why markets fail to meet the needs of people living in poverty.

This approach will help farmers to grow more food sustainably, will create jobs at different stages of value chains, will put women and youth at the centre of development, and will strengthen the climate resilience of both farms and markets. We will endeavour to help farmers and agri-businesses to secure (soft) loans to expand their businesses by working with financial institutions to make financing available on reasonable terms and by working with farmers and agri-businesses to develop sound business cases.

In agriculture, our projects will contribute to achieving the SDGs through inclusive value chains, sustainable nutrition for all, and climate and business. In our agricultural projects, we will use our balancing benefits approach to close the gender gap. This approach addresses the root causes of unequal development, such as inequitable norms, and unequal access to resources and market opportunities.

Targets for agriculture 2019–2022

  • 1.3 million people with increased resilience to climate change
  • 7.5 million people with increased income
  • 700,000 people with increased food and nutrition security

Sustainable Nutrition for All (SN4A)

We will grow our sustainable nutrition portfolio. Our projects tackling malnutrition will encourage diverse, more nutritious diets. We will build local capacity to trigger demand for diverse diets by working with communities, raising awareness on the risks of stunting, and enabling them to create solutions to improve local hygiene and nutritious behaviour. We will also empower local authorities to continue to implement this community work. On the supply side we will help smallholder farmers to diversify into nutrient-rich vegetable and food crops. By working to understand the multiple factors involved in improving nutrition, we will learn how best to induce behavioural change. In particular, we will focus on the influence of gender relations on nutrition.

Inclusive value chains

We will consolidate our inclusive value chains portfolio, focusing on smallholder farmers, and small- and medium-sized agri-businesses. We will help enterprises to strengthen their supply chains, use resources more efficiently and to become competitive while ensuring environmental sustainability. Support for businesses will involve strengthening their supply chains by bolstering working relationships between producers, processors, distributors, small-scale farmers and service providers. Our focus will be on seven commodities: dairy, livestock, horticulture, cassava, coffee, cacao and palm oil. We will focus on these commodities because of their economic importance in the countries where we work, the economic opportunities they provide for those living in poverty and their potential for export markets.

Climate and business

Our projects on climate and business cut across agriculture and energy. We are growing our work on climate-smart agriculture through a number of transformational projects that could make a large-scale impact. We bring together value-chain actors – authorities, research partners and investors from the private and public sectors – to speed up the adoption of proven, climate-smart agricultural practices and business solutions that address both adaptation and mitigation along value chains. We also incubate innovation to contribute to increasing the spectrum of measures to build climate resilience.

Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE)

In this strategy period we will scale up our work on creating job opportunities for young people across agriculture, energy and WASH. Our opportunity for youth employment (OYE) approach includes creating employment opportunities (pull), basic skills training (push), and market placement and enterprise development (match). We help young people to find jobs by getting our network of companies in agriculture, energy and WASH interested in offering vocational training and on-the-job learning, and offering concrete employment opportunities. We will also help young people to fulfill their entrepreneurial aspirations by developing their skills and knowledge through training, facilitating access to money to set themselves up, and by coaching them in leadership and business skills.

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