Agriculture

About Inclusive Value Chains


WHAT WE DO

"Grow" is the final level of CRS’ Pathway to Prosperity. Our agro-enterprise approach increases income, grows assets and generates local employment. As farmers learn new skills and build their self-reliance, we assist organized, market-ready farmers so they can better engage in competitive markets. 

This programming is committed to a triple bottom line that prioritizes people, the planet and profit. We prioritize people by supporting agro-enterprises to generate local employment, mitigate risk and decrease barriers to entry. We work with smallholder farmers to strengthen their economic viability and promote inclusive value chains that are profitable for everyone involved by linking them to equitable markets. Simultaneously, we improve environmental sustainability by prioritizing perennial crops and agroforestry systems.

CRS helps farmers build relationships with traders, processors, exporters and lead firms, including Keurig, Green Mountain, Walmart and Ben & Jerry’s, so farmer organizations can act more as competitive businesses in value chains. We regularly partner with rural finance institutions such as Root Capital to help farmer organizations access lower interest social investment capital. 

 

Our Approach

  • Farmer aggregation: To participate in markets, farmers need to produce agricultural products in sufficient volume and quality. We facilitate the process of integrating farmer groups into aggregated business entities. As they cultivate relationships and professionalize their businesses with our support, farmers can better negotiate with buyers, government entities and supply-chain service providers to achieve greater sustainability. 

  • Market-based production: Farmers often don’t have the market information they need. We work with farmers to conduct mapping exercises and value-chain analyses at the local and national level. We also accompany farmer groups through the process of planning and managing their businesses. As groups increase their skills and experience, they conduct these activities on their own. 

  • Postharvest management: By engaging in postharvest management, farmers can add value to their agricultural products and increase their margins. We work in partnership with farmers to improve their facilities for crop storage, processing and packaging. This contributes to a higher price point and more local employment. 

  • Access to markets and services: We make connections happen. Smallholder farmers can increase their productivity and profitability by accessing new markets and services. We connect farmers to producer groups, technical service providers, agriculture input suppliers, postharvest processors, local governments, buyers, financial services, market-information services and third-party certification bodies. By working in partnership throughout the value chain, we help create conditions for equitable business relationships.

  • Value-chain governance: We work with local partners to regularly convene discussions with value-chain actors. This creates opportunities to enhance the competitiveness of specific value chains for all participants. As supply-chain actors learn about each other’s needs, they can work together toward common goals and establish sourcing relationships with leading firms. Good governance often leads to better business practices and public policies, which create better conditions for farmers to scale up. 

  • Risk management: By strengthening risk management, agro-enterprises become more resilient and more sustainable. We help farmers utilize crop diversification and climate-smart agricultural practices. We have carried out studies to forecast the impact of climate change on important rain-fed crops, such as coffee, cocoa, beans and maize. Our holistic approach addresses gender issues, social justice, crop theft and other social risk factors.