Originally posted on the DAPA blog
CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) has worked successfully for many years on the development of models for inclusive business culminating in the LINK method. Though this work we collaborate with a range of partners to support the design and testing of novel, more inclusive approaches to agribusiness with the end goal of shifting business practice in ways that benefit small farmers, agricultural laborers and other marginal groups along the value chain from production to consumption while at the same time adding commercial value to the relationship.
Despite uptake by international NGOs, large multi-national companies and use as an evaluation tool, identifying how to engage effectively with the broader national private sector and shift practice beyond lead firms remains a major challenge.
Changing individual company or producer organization practices is one thing and shifting business culture quite another. One possible long-term solution to this impasse is through national universities and the formation of the next generation of agribusiness leaders.
To this end, on February 9-12, VECO, a key global learning partner on inclusive agribusiness, convened a week-long workshop with the Universidad del Pacifico, Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú, Universidad Nacional de Piura, Universidad de San Martin Tarapoto, the Belgium supermarket Colruyt, the German chocolate company Ritter Sport, the Centre for Development Innovation from Wageningen University and its Seas of Change initiative, the Sustainable Food Lab, and CIAT in Lima, Peru. The goal of this workshop was to transfer approaches for inclusive agribusiness to local actors in Peru and, at the same time, apply these approaches to banana production in Piura between the Central de Baneneros del Norte (CENBANOR) and Grupo Hualtaco S.A.
With theory, methods and cases in the morning and more focus on the LINK applications in the afternoon, the workshop sought to provide lessons and insights from other LINK users as well as build the capacity of the workshop participants in the practical use of the approach. The first two days of the workshop included video conferences with both Coltuyt and Ritter Sport explaining the benefits they see in using LINK and their experience with inclusive business approaches more broadly.
Following the workshop, VECO and a group of four students from the Universidad del Pacifico will work directly with CEBANOR and Grupo Hualtaco to assess the current state of the business relationship, identify areas of concern for improvement, co-develop and test interventions to improve the relationship and document the outcomes from this process. By the end of 2016, we expect to see the results of this collaboration in the form of a well documented case of how an existing business relationship can be made more inclusive.
Keep your eyes on this space for results as this innovative process advances. Only time will tell if investing in educational programs will contribute to the broader goal of redefining “good business” as one that benefits all parties, is resilient over time and provides commercial benefits that outweigh the costs.
This work is supported by the CGIAR research program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets.
Author: Mark Lundy is PIM's Focal Point at CIAT and a member of the multi-CGIAR-Center research team of Flagship 3: Inclusive Value Chains and Efficient Trade.
Photo credit: Ramón Alcedo