Program Design in the Maize and Fresh Vegetable Value Chains: AFE led a value chain (VC) analysis/program design exercise with Global Communities (GC) staff in Rwanda in the maize and fresh vegetables VCs. Activities included conducting orientation sessions and field training for GC local staff, field interviews, end market assessments, VC mapping, identification of constraints and corresponding market-based solutions, focus group discussions, invitations for applications (to solicit initiatives from targeted Lead Firms), and the identification of program facilitation strategies. (2014)

Staff Training and Program Design for the Green Bean and Pineapple Value Chains: AFE was contracted by CHF International to provide value chain training to its local staff and to conduct a value chain program design exercise for the green bean and pineapple value chains in Rwanda. Two AFE consultants worked with local staff to conduct interviews with over 80 market actors and key informants, and conducted additional interviews and focus group discussions with market actors to identify potential project activities that will ultimately have a positive and sustainable impact on targeted MSMEs. (2010)


Development of Private Seed Industry: As part of a one-year planning grant with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) AFE carried out a variety of activities to support the private sector seed industry in Nigeria. These included: a) secondary research; b) meetings with local seed trade association (STA) leadership; c) a review and revision of the STA's articles of incorporation (constitution), and; d) a two-day workshop with over twenty private seed companies to assess industry challenges and potential solutions to those challenges. AFE also developed a multi-year action plan to support proposed solutions. (2013)


Development of Seed Trade Associations and Private Seed Industry: As part of a one-year planning grant with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) AFE carried out a variety of activities to support the private sector seed industry in Tanzania. These included: a) a series of meetings with the seed trade association (STA) leadership; b) a comprehensive survey of more than 40 STA members and seed industry stakeholders; c) presentation of survey results to the STA membership; d) a strategic planning retreat with elected leadership of the STA which resulted in a strategic plan for the association; e) support to STA leadership in presenting the new plan to the membership. AFE also developed a multi-year action plan to support the capacity building of the STA and its members. (2013)


Expanding Impact on USAID/Zambia Supported Value Chains: Under this $2 million grant from USAID, AFE facilitated increased learning and benefits for a wide range of micro, small, and medium scale enterprise (MSMEs) that were engaged in commercial relationships with lead firms (LFs). This was done by working with these firms (also referred to as "Inclusive Businesses") to develop or improve their ability to provide needed support to the MSMEs they source from or sell to. AFE worked in agribusiness, tourism and crafts value chains. Through its facilitation activities more than 26,000 low-income producers were positively impacted. The program also promoted increased awareness and application of value chain and market development approaches among donors and development organizations carrying out private sector development programs in Zambia. (2009 - 2013)

Illustrative activities of the AFE Zambia program included:

  • Collaboration with Individual Lead Firms - The AFE program entered into collaborative agreements 32 LFs in the agribusiness, craft, and tourism sectors. Technical and financial support was provide to support their initiatives to improve competitiveness as well as the products, services and market access they provide to MSMEs (including farmers) in their supply or distribution channels. Examples of LF initiatives supported by AFE included:
    • training materials development
    • TOTs for LF staff (to prepare them to train MSMEs)
    • MSME training programs
    • farmer field days
    • demonstration and trial plots
    • development of new products and services
    • business and strategic plan development
    • quality management systems
    • development and distribution of producer handbooks
    • exposure visits (to identify buyers, suppliers, new technologies, etc.)
    • website/marketing materials development
    • development of outgrowing operations
    • participation in trade shows
    • introduction of new tools/ technologies
    Results of these initiatives (conducted by LFs with AFE support) included upgrading of over 25,000 MSMEs (30% women).
  • "Cross-company" Initiatives - The program brought LFs together (conducting similar activities) for capacity building and lateral learning events. Illustrative examples included:
    • Low cost video production - three-day intensive training for LFs to introduce skills and techniques for producing low-cost videos for farmer training and extension
    • Rural agent networks - workshop with input supply companies to discuss findings of a learning initiative on the use of rural agent networks to promote sales rural sales
    • Identification of best practices in producer training programs - lateral learning exercise among agribusiness LFs (collaborating with AFE program) to assess their experiences in organizing and conducting producer (farmer) trainings, resulting in the identification of best practices that they then incorporated into future trainings.
  • Value Chain Training Workshops - AFE conducted a quarterly three-day workshop entitled "Value Chain Program Design: Promoting Market-Based Solutions for MSMEs" for more than 200 local development practitioners. Through these workshops practitioners gained skills to: 1) rethink the strategies of their economic strengthening programs; 2) create more sustainable activities without distortion of markets and; 3) strengthen the linkages in the value chains they work with leaving behind improved and sustainable relationships between producers and other market actors.
  • Inclusive Business Conference - AFE organized a one-day conference to highlight the successful initiatives undertaken by LFs that had participated in the project. During the event ten Lead Firms presented the initiatives that they undertook (with AFE Zambia's technical and financial support) to expand commercial relationships with small-scale producers. Special focus was put on their successes, challenges and lessoned learned.
  • Video on Inclusive Businesses in Zambia - AFE produced a 30-minute video based on interviews with Zambian inclusive business representatives during which they described the initiatives they undertook with AFE support. The video is available in the highlights page on AFE's website (click here).


Value Chain Selection and Initial Analysis: AFE conducted a value chain assessment/selection exercise for CHF International in Juba and Kajo Keji, South Sudan. The objective of the assignment was to identify and conduct a summary assessment of potential value chains for CHF consideration of further development (2007)


Value Chain Analysis and Program Design Exercise in the Fertilizer and Seed Sectors:AFE conducted a three week analysis of the fertilizer and seed sectors as part of program design activities for World Vision's country program. (2006)


Increasing Market Linkages in the Craft Industry AFE implemented this multi-year USAID grant to develop market linkages and business services between importers, exporters, and producers of crafts products in Mali. AFE worked with eight importers, six exporters, and over 1000 small enterprises (SEs). Results included an increase of over USD 1,000,000 in export sales and 100% increases in revenues for participating SEs. Over 100 new jobs were created and over 200 market linkages between importers, exporters and producers fostered. AFE used a combination of value chain analysis and market assessments to identify program interventions that focused on developing the capacity of private firms to provide market access, product design, input supply, and financial services to SEs. AFE also designed and implemented an innovative monitoring and evaluation system. (1999 - 2002)

Development of Business Solutions in the Shea Sector: AFE implemented a multi-year grant agreement with USAID to develop sustainable business services and solutions that targeted agricultural-based enterprises and increased incomes and employment opportunities for rural producers of shea nuts and shea butter in Mali. The program facilitated sustainable market links between exporters and multinational buyers that, as a result, spurred exporters to provide more quality control services and greater market opportunities to rural women producers. (2002 -2005)


Promotion of Embedded Business Solutions in Ghanaian Export Markets: the objectives of this DFID-funded project were to: (i) develop/improve the capacity of Ghanaian craft exporters to provide an array of business solutions to a large number of small-scale enterprises in a sustainable and effective manner-resulting in significant impact (income and employment); and (ii) document and disseminate learning about the facilitation of embedded business solutions with the international development community. In order to pursue this goal, AFE facilitated the development, improvement, and expansion of embedded solutions to MSMEs in the areas of market access, product development, quality control, and production training. (2002 -2003)


Impact Assessment of USAID Kenya Programs: AFE conducted a comprehensive impact assessment of two USAID Kenya-funded projects to determine the impact of their subsector/value chain approaches. Baseline work was completed in 2003 and the final round of the impact assessment will be completed in 2007. (2003 - 2007)

Enterprise Development Program Design AFE was contracted by USAID Kenya to develop a five-year strategy for promoting enterprise development. This activity included an evaluation of three previous programs, identification of high potential value chains, value chain analysis, market assessment of proposed solutions, organization of stakeholder workshops, identification of illustrative interventions, and development of strategies including contracting mechanisms and performance indicators. (2001)


Center for Strategic Policies (UNDP funding): Between January and April 2011 AFE conducted an assessment of Cape Verde's tourism, agriculture and fish sectors. The objective of this assessment was to identify constraints that limit the growth and competitiveness of the sectors and to solicit input from the private sector into how the constraints can be overcome.


Aid to Artisans (ATA): AFE assisted ATA staff to integrate a value chain and market development approach into a program design they were conducting for the Moroccan craft and tourism value chains. (2010)


Capacity Building of SEPROT: A Network of Enterprise Development Organizations in Botswana AFE implemented a two-year training and technical assistance program for a network of Botswana enterprise development organizations. This program developed the capacity of twelve of these organizations to design and implement value-chain development programs. (1998 1999)


Capacity Building of Private Sector Lead Firms, SME Intermediaries and Small-Scale Producers in Senegal In September 2015, with the support from an international foundation and the AGRA Scaling Seeds and Technology Project, AFE began implementation of a three-year project to build the capacity of agribusiness Lead Firms (LFs) in Senegal to improve: a) their business competitiveness; b) the competitiveness of the small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) operating as intermediaries in their supply chain or commercial distribution channels, and; c) the products, services and support that LFs (and their intermediaries) provide to producers that ultimately purchase the companies' products or produce the raw materials they need.

The program will work with at least ten LFs who in turn will build the capacity of 150 of their SME intermediaries to provide improved/expanded products, services, market access and support to an estimated 15,000 small-scale producers. Examples of LF initiatives that AFE will support include:

  • Company led training, field days and extension to expose SME intermediaries and producers to improved use of agricultural inputs, modern cultivation techniques, and post-harvest handling
  • Mentoring of contracted producers to produce products needed by LFs for their markets.
  • Capacity building activities for SME retailers to develop management skills, knowledge of LF products, and "client oriented" practices that will result in improved information/ services for producers they sell to.
  • Development of improved quality inputs for sale to SMEs and farmers (seeds, fertilizers, herbicides, tools, equipment, etc.) adapted to their needs and purchasing power.


Commercial Viability of Services to MFIs AFE conducted a review to determine the commercial viability of technical services being provided to microfinance institutions through the IFC-funded CAPAF program based in Senegal. (June 2004).

Community Based Natural Resource Management Project AFE participated as a subcontractor in the five-year USAID funded Community Based Natural Resource Management Project. Under that program, AFE implemented short-term training and enterprise development activities that impacted over 100 rural enterprises, village-based associations, and project personnel representing more than 1000 individuals. Activities included value chain analysis and program design, training of trainers, programs to link rural enterprises with microfinance institutions, and action-research program evaluation. (1995 2001)

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