Putting inclusive value chains at the heart of agribusinesses

10 March 2022
Public market in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines.

Improving and strengthening links between smallholder farmers and agribusiness value chain partners is the focus of a new ACIAR project in the Philippines.

The initiative aims to promote and enhance the adoption of inclusive value chains in the country and will examine the roles, conditions and specific interventions that further add value to the engagement of farmers, traders, agribusinesses, transport providers, wholesalers, retailers, and other marginalised groups to benefit and improve their livelihoods.

ACIAR Research Program Manager for Agribusiness, Mr Howard Hall, said the new project is taking a holistic approach to understanding the drivers of productivity along the value chain.

‘Many agricultural research for development initiatives today focus on building the capacity of smallholder farmers to engage in markets – providing them tools and knowledge so that they are able to better understand the market potential and returns of their products,’ said Mr Hall.

‘However, there are also other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain whose needs, priorities, and roles need to be understood and enhanced. Striking a balance between the farmers and the agribusinesses so that they are able to better understand and engage with each other is what we are aiming to do in this project.’

Led by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the project will aim to identify the motivations and barriers for smallholder farmers, households, communities, and their agribusiness partners in participating within inclusive value chains. The research team will then co-develop tools for investment planning and strategies of agribusiness-led vegetable production and coffee-coconut intercropping farming systems in southern Philippines.

Public market in Mindanao, Philippines.
Public market in Mindanao, Philippines.

Ethical community engagement will underpin all the community and stakeholder engagement processes in this project, ensuring that all stakeholders understand each other and work together in identifying issues, challenges, and interventions in improving livelihoods, which are at the core of inclusive value chains.

CSIRO Project Leader, Dr Lilly Lim-Camacho, said the research effort will focus on developing an environment to foster greater understanding and collaboration between value chain actors.

‘Through this project we aim to create an enabling environment where smallholder farmers and agribusinesses work together towards the same goals: profitable and sustainable livelihoods and businesses.

‘We also hope this will help further empower smallholder farming communities in strengthening their roles in inclusive value chains through enhanced entrepreneurial and partnership mindsets.’

The project is part of the broader partnership between ACIAR and the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) that is working to improve and deepen links between the agriculture and private sectors through agricultural research for development.

The new initiative builds on the recently concluded Agribusiness Masterclass project and will contribute to DOST-PCAARRD’s newly established Agri-Aqua Business Hub in supporting research and technology adoption through value chain approaches.

Led by the CSIRO, the new A$2.55 million project is scheduled to run until 2025 and will work in partnership with researchers from the Australian National University, Foodlink Advocacy Cooperative – Philippines, University of the Philippines Mindanao, University of the Philippines Los Baños, and Visayas State University.

Learn more via the ACIAR website.