Using data to support country-led inclusive agricultural transformation
Together with NewForesight Consulting, SCOPEinsight has been working to adapt its tools and methodology to assess an initial cohort of agri-food industry organizations, or AFIOs. The intent of this work is to identify how best these organizations can become change agents and bring their capacities, capabilities, and networks to bear in support of Inclusive Agriculture Transformation (IAT).
Creating positive structural change
Agri-food Industry Organizations (AFIOs) are representative of a group of value chain actors that work towards producing, marketing, processing, and/or exporting crops, products, and services. AFIOs are critical market actors that provide market facilitation services. They also advocate for policy reforms that render the sector more competitive and provide critical services to its members. For decades, development partners in the African continent have supported food security efforts. They have done this by prioritizing increasing productivity at the farm level and among small-scale producers (SSPs). However, due to sustained economic growth, urbanization, and increased purchasing power, demand preferences are shifting, as is the way agri-food markets function. The logical next step is to focus on strengthening institutions that are focused on improving the added value for the sector: SSPs, SMEs, and other value chain players.
For the sector to gain the maximum benefits of this approach, market institution like AFIOs need to be empowered to play a more prominent role in supporting IAT efforts. It is also important that they complement government efforts. The focus is shifting from food security to the development of a private-sector led and public sector enabled agri-food system. With this shift, the voice and efforts of the ecosystem of private sector actors grow more important. AFIOs are well positioned to provide a vision for the sector, while making critical investments to make that vision a reality.
Furthermore, private sector industry associations are well placed to harmonize the required efforts of the supply and demand side from a market perspective. They are also able to develop the structures for vertical coordination. There are decades of lessons from Latin America and Western Europe on how this can be done, as well as encouraging recent examples in Africa (e.g., Rwandan horticulture and Nigerian cassava). As the agricultural sector transforms, certain organizations gain prominence and create additional value. As AFIOs gain importance, opportunities arise to support them in creating massive structural change in the agri-food sector. To do this effectively, it is first important to understand what these organizations do well, what they need to improve, and what interventions could facilitate a process of institutional strengthening and greater impact.
Incorporating NewForesight and SCOPEinsight
In 2020, NewForesight Consulting, in collaboration with SCOPEinsight, conducted an assessment of an initial cohort of 32 AFIOs. The goal was to determine the role they can play to contribute towards IAT in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. The first step in assessing the AFIO’s capacity to lead the sector was to measure its capacity to operate as a sustainable, mature, and professional organization. For this assignment, SCOPEinsight adapted its SCOPE Pro assessment tool and executed the assessments with local business service providers.
The data from these assessments was mined to find relationships between different aspects of professionalism. This was done both specifically in the data collected as part of this study and in SCOPEinsight’s global data. The correlations found were between internal management and financial management, sustainability and enabling environment, and operations and sustainability. In essence, with each pair of aspects, a higher score in one often predicted a higher score in the other. For example, an AFIO with good internal management is likely to also have good financial management. These correlations were also verified with insights from the local consultants.
Using the data to build a business case
The overall goal of collecting all these data was to determine the level of maturity and effectiveness of these institutions, while also highlighting areas that require additional technical support and investment. The results of the SCOPE assessments showed which areas in each organization require assistance. Between NewForesight, SCOPEinsight, and our local partners, we developed a set of recommendations to strengthen the capacities and competencies of these AFIOs. We also developed a set of reforms in the enabling environment that would help these institutions reach their fullest potential.
Are you a donor interested in this research? Contact us today to find out more about the models developed by NewForesight and how this can be implemented at scale.Back to news