Training manuals on business and marketing for agriculture

The CRS guides listed below explain how to help farmers strengthen five skill sets to successfully engage with markets. The documents are in their first year of beta testing.

The five skill sets are:

  1. organizing democratically for collective decision-making; 
  2. managing savings and lending to protect key assets, smooth consumption and encourage investment; 
  3. selecting, establishing and growing an enterprise; 
  4. managing natural resources for sustainable agricultural production; 
  5. and managing knowledge to innovate and maintain competitiveness in a changing market.

The guides were created through the support of 130 practitioners from 19 organizations and 12 countries. The manuals have been prepared for use by development facilitators, field extension agents and community leaders working with poor rural communities.

USAID and MEAS provided financial support for the editing and graphic design of the guides and for the development of e-learning courses.

Download the guides

Introduction to the Five Skills for Rural Development

This manual describes the multiple-skills approach and how to use it in rural development projects. It is made up of six sections:
  1. Using a skills-based approach
  2. A closer look at the five skills
  3. Organizing the team
  4. Working with the community
  5. Ensuring sustainability
  6. Building a training plan
Skills Farmers Need for Organizing and Managing Groups

This manual describes the skills farmers need to successfully organize themselves in groups. It also explains how to manage a farmer group. The manual contains four sections:
  1. Working with groups
  2. Organizing and managing a group
  3. Planning and implementing activities
  4. Communicating and networking
Field Agent Guide: Savings and Internal Lending Communities

This manual describes a robust methodology for establishing savings and lending communities. This guide is made up of five sections:
  1. Introduction to the Field Agent Guide
  2. Review of the SILC methodology
  3. SILC implementation manual
  4. Record keeping structure
  5. Field Agent Monitoring Forms
Natural Resource Management: Basic Concepts and Strategies

This manual describes the theory and concepts of natural resource management. The document contains 10 lessons and includes the following concepts:
  1. The importance of NRM
  2. The water cycle
  3. Watersheds and watershed management
  4. Soils and soil fertility
  5. Plant health
  6. Sustainable systems
Natural Resource Management: Tools for Planning and Implementing Participatory NRM Projects

This manual describes a process for designing and implementing an NRM plan. It includes seven lessons:
  1. Engaging the community
  2. Understanding the community context
  3. Identifying and engaging stakeholders
  4. Mapping natural resource problems and opportunities
  5. Making an NRM plan
  6. Managing an NRM project
  7. Monitoring progress
Marketing Basics: Course on Agroenterprise and Market Development for Field Agents

This manual describes the theory and concepts of marketing and agroenterprise development. The document contains 10 lessons:
  1. What is agricultural marketing?
  2. Supply and demand
  3. Costs, income, prices and profit
  4. Types of markets
  5. Changes in markets
  6. The value chain
  7. Developing marketing strategies
  8. The four Ps of marketing
  9. Entrepreneurial spirit
Seven Steps of Marketing: Course on Agroenterprise and Market Development for Field Agents

This manual describes a process for designing and implementing an agroenterprise business plan and assessing market performance. The document gives seven steps you can follow to help farmers develop their agroenterprises:
  1. Getting organized
  2. Identify products and organizing groups
  3. Collecting information for the business plan
  4. Building a business plan
  5. Marketing as a group
  6. Reviewing agroenterprise performance
  7. Scaling up
Promoting Innovation: Course for Field Agents on Promoting Innovation in Rural Producer Groups

This manual takes you through the steps that a group of farmers undertake during a process of innovation. It includes the skills and knowledge you will need in order to lead a group of farmers through that process. The manual is made up of seven lessons:
  1. Introduction to innovations
  2. Identifying and understanding problems
  3. Exploring possible solutions
  4. Designing experiments
  5. Analyzing and evaluating the results
  6. Applying findings and sharing knowledge
Financial Education curriculum

Financial Education curriculum
This 11-lesson financial education curriculum has two main purposes:
  • To provide trainers with the tools to teach groups about financial management.
  • To help group members improve their financial and money management skills.
The curriculum is appropriate for development facilitators, field agents and SILC private service providers.

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