Towards Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Learning in Entrepreneurship

IFDC, the International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA) and Base of the Pyramid Innovation Center (BoP Inc.) are promoting sustainable agricultural production and commodity chain development across Africa through the five-year (2012-2016) Toward Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Learning in Entrepreneurship (2SCALE) project. Funded by the Netherlands’ Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS), the project focuses on the development of competitive rural agricultural systems, viable agro-enterprises and the use of public-private partnerships (PPPs).

2SCALE targets eight countries with which the Netherlands has multi-year bilateral development relationships – Benin, Ethiopia,Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, South Sudan and Uganda. 2SCALE also targets Nigeria because of its importance to the West African economy and to the development of Benin’s agro-food sector and because of the potential to implement successful PPPs with private sector partners. In addition, ongoing agribusiness cluster activities will continue for approximately two years in Burkina Faso, Niger and Togo.

In each country, 2SCALE staff members work with local, national and international partners to improve rural livelihoods, nutrition and food security. The project’s strategic objective is to develop a portfolio of 500 robust and viable agribusiness clusters (ABCs) and value chains, supplying food to regional, national and local markets as well as to the least fortunate (also known as base-of-the-pyramid [BoP] consumers). 2SCALE will also transfer knowledge on best agricultural practices and leverage the impact of its activities through collaboration with other projects and related activities of the embassies of the Netherlands.

CASE approach (2SCALE)- LR vs door moovon


Other successful projects have emphasized IFDC’s Competitive Agricultural Systems and Enterprises (CASE) approach and the benefits of PPPs. 2SCALE will expand the CASE and PPP solutions in the nine target countries. IFDC and others have shown that private sector-driven interventions can significantly improve agricultural development in Africa. Using CASE, IFDC proved that participants in an ABC can generate substantial, successful and sustainable smallholder-based agricultural development. In IFDC’s From Thousands to Millions (1000s+) project, nearly 425,000 farmers and over 1,500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in seven West African countries were linked effectively to markets. Farmers’ agricultural productivity almost doubled, while their incomes increased by 30 percent.

2SCALE will emphasize ‘going to scale’ – increasing the number and size of ABCs, strengthening the role of the private sector contribution in cluster activities and enlarging the impact on food security by tripling the number of smallholder farmers involved. 2SCALE will leverage private sector investments (up to 50 percent of the total project budget) to generate innovations in local, national, regional and BoP markets.

Achievements to date

  • The project has taken off with a first workshop from 25 August till 12 September 2012 in Accra, Ghana, on CASE. For ICRA, Toon Defoer and Marie-Jo Dugué were the main facilitators.
  • 27/8 to 5/9 2012: Workshop for Cluster Advisors of West and East African 2SCALE countries, including Burkina Faso, Niger and Togo. Cluster assistants of all West African countries also participated, as well as the Dairy Public Private Partnership (PPP) manager (based in Nigeria). The regional IFDC agribusiness coordinators and two ICRA Regional Capacity Strengthening Coordinators also participated.
  • 6/9 to 8/9 2012: Workshops for 2SCALE cross-cutting staff of West Africa, including the West Africa Capacity Strengthening Coordinator.
  • 28/10 to 4/11 2012: Team building workshop, Nairobi, Kenya. Facilitators: Toon Defoer, Marie-Jo Dugué, and the two ICRA Regional Capacity Strengthening Coordinators
  • 28/11 to 5/12: Design & Management of Capacity Strengthening Programmes training for 2SCALE trainers in West Africa, Benin. Facilitators: Toon Defoer, Marie-Jo Dugué, and the two ICRA Regional Capacity Strengthening Coordinators
  • 12-15 Feb 2013. Uganda. Training of 2SCALE trainers
  • 10 April 2013, Utrecht. Business Meeting. The meeting attracted over 80 participants including Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation; members of two ‘topsector’ boards mandated by the Dutch government to stimulate private investment in high-priority sectors of the economy; and a range of private firms, from medium-scale to multi-national.

2SCALE Project Overview (English and French)

2Scale is presented in the last volume of the IFDC Report (Quarterly Newsletter): page 17 to 25
Download Volume 38, No 1 (English)

PAEPARD video interviews
Interview with Dr Arno Maatman (economist, coordinator 2SCALE programme based in Ghana, former ICRA Director) has been involved in interdisciplinary research on food-security policies and farmer strategies in sub-Saharan Africa, with emphasis on risk management, with a long-term tenure with IFDC as team leader of the Agribusiness Development programme. He has worked for over 15 years in West Africa and has ample experience in facilitating multistakeholder platforms. His expertise areas include institutional economics, empowerment and transformational change, competitiveness and value-chain development.

Arno answers following questions:

  • How do you accompany an agro-entrepreneur in 2SCALE?
  • Do you support individuals or cooperatives & producers’ organisations?
  • You don’t become an entrepreneur but you are born an entrepreneur?
  • Is there a danger to support wrong or opportunistic entrepreneurs?

Interview with Toon Dufoer, coordinator Capacity Strengthening activities in 2SCALE.

Toon answers following questions:
  • How is 2SCALE organised?
  • How can an entrepreneur from Benin, working around soja get a support?
  • When is the next 2SCALE call?

Interview with Richard Hawkins, Director ICRA, about 2SCALE.

Richard answers following questions:
  • Do we need a new class of service providers?
  • What is the rationale of clustering agribusinesses?

Interview with Jane Tum, Regional Capacity Strengthening Coordinator (RCSC) based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Jane answers following questions:

  • How does 2SCALE goes about capacity strengthening?
  • How much time do you need to upgrade an agricultural entrepreneur?
  • What is an agricultural entrepreneur?

Interview with Beatrice A. Obara Regional Access to Finance Specialist, IFDC – East & Southern Africa Division, Icipe campus – Kasarani Nairobi.

Beatrice answers following questions:

  • What is important to know in the livestock value chain from a financial perspective? 
  • What means understanding quantity and quality? 
  • At the level of slaughter houses what financial products are available? 
  • Do we need research in the meat value chain?


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