Partnering with the Private Sector to Reach Smallholder Farmers
Smallholder farmers are critical to global food security and economic growth, however they have largely been overlooked by the private sector, constraining their productivity and income potential. To successfully engage the private sector and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, it is critical to gain a refined understanding of which solutions work – and which do not. There is a need to ascertain the extent to which donor support to private companies can catalyze entry, expansion, and commercial sustainability within the smallholder market segment. It is also important to examine how design and implementation of these programs can promote (or inhibit) their impact on partner companies and smallholder farmers.
Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation (P4I), a USAID-supported program, provides a rare opportunity to delve deeper into these questions. Over the last six years, the program has supported 50 private sector companies with over USD 92 million to scale and market innovative agricultural technologies and services to more than a million smallholder farmers. Partnering for Innovation provides companies with investments tied to milestone-based outcomes, and tailored support services designed to build managerial and operational capacity. The ultimate goal is to sustainably improve smallholder farmers’ income and food production.
USAID enlisted the Investment Support Program implemented by Dalberg Advisors (“the ISP team”) in early 2019 to conduct a review of P4I to expand the evidence base around engaging the private sector to achieve development outcomes. Through interviews with nearly half of the P4I partner companies and investors, the team produced a report: “Partnering with the Private Sector to Reach Smallholder Farmers: Lessons on Private Sector Engagement from USAID’s Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation Program.” Members of the ISP team will be presenting insights and lessons from this report during a webinar on Wednesday Aug 7, 2019 from 9:30-11am ET.
Emily is a Senior Consultant in Dalberg’s Washington, DC office. She has experience in areas spanning agriculture, financial inclusion, gender, and health. In addition to her work on the USAID Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program, she recently worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to define a strategy to improve inclusion of women smallholder farmers in agriculture markets. She also worked with a German development bank to estimate the unmet demand for agricultural finance in sub-Saharan Africa. Emily holds a Master’s in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, in addition to a Bachelor’s of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Jeff Berger is an Associate Partner at Dalberg Advisors, Co-leader of the firm’s Latin America practice, and Office Director in NY. Before leading the review of USAID's Partnering for Innovation program, Jeff led a project for USAID’s Center for Transformational Partnerships, which assessed USAID’s partnerships with the private sector to better understand what results and/or activities from these partnerships endured two years after a given partnership’s formal award period ended. Jeff also recently advised The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on taking a systems approach to pursuing agricultural transformation and helped the Millennium Challenge Corporation develop a strategy to attract private sector investment in El Salvador. Prior to joining Dalberg, Jeff was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company where he advised public and private sector clients in Brazil and the U.S. Jeff holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University.
Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation
Laura Harwig is the Program Director of Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation where she catalyzes the expansion of private sector companies and entrepreneurs into rural, agricultural markets. Working with input providers, off takers, financial institutions, and technology firms, Laura co-designs solutions to commercialize their agriculture technologies that have so far transformed the lives of more than 1 million smallholder farmers worldwide. She is an expert in using pay-for-results approaches and market-based interventions to achieve food security goals. Prior to joining Partnering for Innovation, Laura was Fintrac’s Vice President of Field Activities and oversaw implementation of market systems and value chain development programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
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Partnering with the Private Sector to Reach Smallholder Farmers: Lessons on Private Sector Engagement from USAID’s Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program