Supporting ProAgri in improving value chain performance
As of December 2018, iCRA partners with GIZ in the Promotion de l’Agriculture (ProAgri3) programme in central and northern Benin. The mandate of the GIZ-funded ProAgri3, programme, is to improve performance of the rice, soybean, cashew and shea value chains in 16 selected communes in the Atacora, Donga, Borgou and Collines departments of Benin. The collaboration of iCRA and ProAgri3 starts with a one-year pilot focusing on the shea and soybean value chains. The aim is to use this pilot to integrate iCRA’s sustainable agribusiness coaching approach within ProAgri3 before scaling it within the other value chains of the program.
Integrating local agribusiness cluster-coaching
ProAgri3 works with iCRA on the following:
- The setting-up and support of local agribusiness clusters within the ProAgri structure;
- The strengthening of coaching and facilitation capacities of program field staff, partners and extension officers who act at the grassroot level in the shea and soybean value chains. By training them to take on the role of coaches in agribusiness clusters, the project will be able to increase impact and ensure a sustainable knowledge transfer – even long after ProAgri3 ends.
The coaches are instrumental in translating the key lessons, expertise and knowledge that ProAgri3 has gained over the years. The coaching skills developed not only helps to take their own abilities to the next level – coaches will also be able to identify, train and support more local value chain coaches This ensures the continuation of business support in shea and soybean value chains, as well as scaling into others. The approach diversifies the roles local actors can take within the cluster setting and creates new employment opportunities.
iCRA works with the new coaches to develop sustainable and profitable business relationships in local agribusiness clusters. iCRA facilitates a series of action-learning cycles based on a participatory needs-assessment in the shea and soybean value chains. The coaches are equipped and mentored on how to facilitate collaborative problem-solving of business issues, action planning, financial management, marketing and inter-personal business skills, such as negotiation.