Farm Concern International, FCI in partnership with Global Agribusiness Management & Entrepreneurship Centre; a programme of United States International University Africa (USIU-Africa), are working together to build a competitive Agribusiness sector specially targeting Small and Medium Agro-entrepreneurs. This collaborative effort builds on the two organization’s long standing expertise in capacity development of Agricultural commercialization and enterprise development as sustainable avenues for unlocking opportunities for robust rural economies. This approach is anchored on the premise that Agri-entrepreneurs make better investment decisions if they are exposed to timely capacity development tools to enhance enterprise innovations and technologies in the marketplace.
FCI’s Africa Director, Mr. David Ruchiu giving opening remarks during the Agro-SMEs training session at USIU-Africa Global Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship centre (Photo: Courtesy ,USIU-Africa 29th Sept 2016)
It is on this backdrop that FCI and USIU- Africa organized a capacity development forum, targeting entrepreneurs from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia who participate in the Agricultural value chains as off-takers of farmers’ produce. The training was held at USIU-Africa’s Global Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship Centre as from 26th-29th September 2016 through which FCI mobilized 28 participants across the 4 countries earlier mentioned. This Capacity development session is part of FCI’s wider strategy to build synergistic partnerships that make African enterprises competitive in the global markets.
FCI and USIU-Africa Global Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship Centre designed the delivery mechanism in the training to match capacity gaps for the participants. The faculty drawn from Academia and field practice employed varied approaches including field exposure visits, business facilitation simulation tools, and break away sessions for group discussion among others for effective delivery. Global supply chain coordination and export dynamics for Agricultural commodity was emphasized as key to gaining competitiveness. Other topics that were covered core to the needs of the Agri-entrepreneurs included; transformative leadership as a tool for sustainable growth, Agricultural Finance and credit access as a core tool to enhance growth among Agro-SMEs. Additionally, the discussions focused on SMEs investing in smallholder farming households and building their capacity as reliable suppliers of raw material for their businesses.
FCI continues to influence Africa’s Agro-SME sector through Africa Business Incubation and graduation (Africa BIG) model; an approach that seeks to systematically graduate nascent start-ups and other Agro-SMEs into viable competitive entities in the marketplace. FCI, through Africa BIG approach has developed solutions and tailored packages for various cohorts including Agro-processors, village agro-Input dealers, formal and informal market buyers as well as youths in Agricultural enterprises. This incubation and innovation approach works to support Agro-SMEs in business start-up processes, access to capital, planning and strategy development, technology coaching/transfer, acquisition of packaging technology and quality assurance programmes. FCI, in collaborative efforts with partners like FAO’s Agribusiness Support Services (ABSS), government line Ministries in Eastern Africa, USIU-Africa’s Global Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship development centre among others has impacted over 103 Agro-SMEs to compete effectively in the marketplace.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond