Since 2013, IGD has been partnering with the Rockefeller Foundation’s YieldWise Initiative, a multi-year program that seeks to cut total food loss in Africa in half by 2030. After several years of engaging the private sector to understand where and why food waste happens from an agribusiness value chain perspective, we’ve come to understand that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role.
The Role of Agribusiness SMEs
SMEs are a critical component to catalyzing inclusive agricultural growth in Africa. When smallholder farmers (SHFs) begin to produce at higher quality, efficiency, and volume, SMEs in offtake, processing, manufacturing, transportation, and distribution are the crucial links farmers need to access markets for their products.
But, these SMEs can’t take on more products if they don’t have the resources to grow their capacity. Without asset financing, working capital, debt facilities, growth investments, market linkages, access to new technologies, and the knowledge necessary to access said resources, SMEs become roadblocks for inclusive agricultural growth instead of the facilitators they should be.
Accessing Finance – Connecting the Dots
To address this challenge, IGD has been working with SMEs to connect them with the resources they need.
IGD, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, hosted a workshop on October 11, in Nairobi with SMEs in Kenya’s mango value chain, finance providers and business advisory service providers with innovative product offerings. The goal was to foster connections and learning around available financial resources and how to access them so that SMEs can grow their businesses, ultimately increasing offtake from smallholder farmers and reducing postharvest losses through better business practices.
Direct feedback and survey results indicated that attendees found the workshop very useful, made meaningful new connections, and are interested in future IGD programming.
SMEs were able to:
- Meet and showcased their products to potential investors and partners
- Learn about different types of finance, their costs, and their pros and cons
- Understand the role of business advisory services, their fee structures, and how they measure success
- Identify gaps that still exist in the market and how specific SMEs or cooperation amongst groups could help solve them
“Our challenge has been getting to know which investor will be the right fit for us…This particular workshop has been able to open up our eyes to some of the other options available”
– Yvonne Otieno, CEO, Miyonga Fresh Greens
Finance and business advisory service providers were able to:
- Make useful connections to potential clients and partners
- Understand the seasonality and cash flow needs of businesses in Kenya’s mango value chain better
- See the high demand and potential for growth in Kenya’s mango value chain
- Call for resources to help SMEs navigate their financing options, recognizing that offerings and requirements can be opaque and time-consuming to access
“I really liked this event – it was nice, intimate, and on point…do this for 10 other sectors!”
– Kyle Denning, Investment Director, Voxtra
IGD will be following up to make direct connections to finance providers and will continue to engage and support SMEs in Kenya’s mango value chain with informational newsletters, videos, and webinars.
The Advisory team will also be replicating this workshop series with SMEs and finance providers in other YieldWise target value chains, including Tanzania’s maize value chain and Nigeria’s tomato and cassava value chains.
Stay tuned for news on upcoming webinars and events!