Lasting Impact by Design

TechnoServe’s work is designed to create impact that endures long after the close of our projects.

We do that by helping to develop skills, relationships, products, and services that our clients continue to use for years after we’ve left—because they continue to make business sense for everyone involved. After our programs demonstrate that a new innovation is beneficial and commercially viable, market demand and private-sector companies help to ensure that it reaches more farmers, business owners, and workers.

Combining Investment and Technical Assistance

Following food price spikes that left millions of people across Africa undernourished, private equity fund manager Phatisa joined other partners to launch the $250 million African Agriculture Fund in 2011. The fund’s goal was to provide agricultural companies across Africa with the capital they needed to expand their businesses, increase the local availability of food, and benefit farmers and consumers. To amplify the impact of these investments, TechnoServe administered the fund’s $10 million Technical Assistance Facility, providing tailored expertise to help these agribusinesses improve their operations and develop new, inclusive business models.

In Zambia, for instance, an egg producer called Goldenlay received investment through the fund to accelerate its growth. One of the firm’s primary obstacles, however, was acquiring a stable supply of soy to use as poultry feed. The Technical Assistance Facility helped Goldenlay and a local crop aggregator to implement an outgrower model, in which technical assistance, aggregation services, and input finance was provided to smallholders. As a result, farmers improved their yields and are able to access a more profitable market for their crops; the aggregator has expanded its operations; and Goldenlay has the steady supply of soy it needs to increase the production of eggs for the Zambian market.

In the initiative’s seven years, the Technical Assistance Facility worked with 12 agribusinesses to design, strengthen and/or expand inclusive sourcing, distribution, and production strategies, helping over 35,000 people to achieve better livelihoods.

Scaling Techniques for Higher Yields

In Peru, the Economic Development Alliance for San Martin was a six-year project to help farmers in former coca-growing regions transition to growing cocoa and coffee. One of the program’s innovations was the development of “TAPS,” a methodology for pruning and fertilizing cocoa trees that led to dramatic yield increases among tens of thousands of farmers. By the program’s end in 2017, the private sector had taken notice; TechnoServe helped several commodity firms, such as ECOM Agricultural, apply the TAPS approach with producers in their own supply chains, scaling up the benefits to small farmers across the region.

Digital Tools For More Inclusive Supply Chains

Between 2012 and 2016, TechnoServe helped to develop and roll out a mobile tool to facilitate sales by smallholder farmers to agribusinesses. It was so successful that after the project’s close, the private sector scaled up the platform as a commercial product; today, 100,000 farmers across East Africa are enrolled. TechnoServe is building on that success by harnessing blockchain technology to forge stronger links between farmers and profitable markets. Working with partners like AB InBev and Solvay, TechnoServe is helping to create transparent, traceable value chains for crops like barley and guar.