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Not by technology and money alone

The importance of strengthening functional capacity in agribusiness partnerships

Smallholder farmers and related business actors in the value chain need strong business relationships and networks and a deeper understanding of how value chains and markets work. Functional capacities give them the skills and confidence that are required to achieve these. This has been our main take-away after four years of facilitation and coaching experience through the 2SCALE project. Here are just a few of the many stories from the field demonstrating these learnings.

These stories highlight important business breakthroughs from 2SCALE’s interventions related to our support or various business actors. The 15 short stories have been written by our trainer-mentors and partnership facilitators themselves. They are personal experience of how their work impacted a particular person or group in the value chain.

The writers discovered that, contrary to popular belief, access to better technologies and money is not sufficient to make smallholder value chains work. Farmers and related business actors really need a deeper understanding of how value chains and markets function, in addition to developing an ability to forge business relationships that allow them to operate in strong local networks.

Some of the other common themes in the stories are: why building relationships and strengthening functional capacities (or soft skills) are necessary pre-requisites to technical improvements; the importance of empowering organisations; sustaining support services after the project has been completed; and a focus on gender and youth issues.

Read the full paper here.

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