Technical Assistance Facility

TechnoServe serves as the manager of the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), which supports the African Agriculture Fund, a private equity fund, to address food security challenges across Africa. TAF provides technical assistance to small and growing businesses (SGBs) invested in by the African Agriculture Fund, and improves linkages between enterprises and smallholder outgrowers.

Context

Small and growing businesses (SGBs) play an increasingly critical role in efforts to improve food security and reduce poverty for growing rural populations across the developing world. Agribusiness SGBs can provide key products, services and income opportunities, but in rural Africa, agribusinesses face an unpredictable financing environment. These businesses are often considered too large for microfinance and too small for bank loans. Financial institutions typically lack the rural officers, management experience in agriculture and willingness to assume agribusiness-related risks, while local lenders often base loan eligibility on available collateral, which smallholder farmers may lack. Without intervention, high potential agri- and food-focused SGBs will struggle to get off the ground.

Opportunity

With access to finance and technical assistance, outgrowers and agri SGBs can build sustainable, profitable enterprises that create opportunities in their communities.

Strategy

The Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) was designed to support the African Agriculture Fund (AAF) in addressing food security challenges across Africa. The AAF is a fund managed by Phatisa, an African private equity fund manager, focused on the agriculture and food production sectors.

The purpose of the TAF is to provide technical assistance to agribusiness SGBs that receive investment through the African Agriculture Fund and and improve linkages between enterprises and smallholder outgrowers. This allows AAF-supported SGBs to create new opportunities for smallholder farmers, farmer business groups and rural communities.

By providing technical assistance to SGBs and smallholder farmers supplying AAF portfolio companies, TechnoServe aims to boost productivity, increase incomes and improve access to finance and markets across the continent.

Contact 

If you require more information on the Technical Assistance Facility or the African Agriculture Fund, please contact:

Sarah Marchand
Program Director   smarchand@tns.org

Results

The project launched in September 2011 with a six-month inception phase focused on establishing the systems and processes required to run a smooth grant management process. The facility is now in full implementation. To date, The TAF has approved funding for nine technical assistance projects and project scoping has been completed for an additional three opportunities. In addition, TechnoServe has processed approximately 150 expressions of interest and established a robust database of technical assistance providers across a range of sectors, countries and areas of expertise. Overall, the project aims to impact more than 20,000 smallholder farmers and directly create between 2,100 and 4,300 jobs across Africa.

Partners

Technical Assistance Facility is funded primarily by the European Commission, overseen by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and co-sponsored by the Italian Development Cooperation, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the African Agriculture Fund (AAF).

The African Agriculture Fund (AAF) is a food and agri-focused pan-African private equity fund managed by Phatisa.