Making Agribusiness Work: the 5 most impactful things iCRA’s participants learnt!

May 23, 2023

Celebrating an Impactful 8 Months of ‘Making Agribusiness Work’! 

Today we are celebrating a big achievement! The twelve participants from iCRA’s recent edition of the course ‘Making Agribusiness Work’ are receiving their certificates. Ten participants followed iCRA’s 8-month learning trajectory, five of whom are moving on to ‘Making Leadership Work‘ to enhance their leadership skills. Two participants joined us for four months to benefit from the facilitation and coaching modules. 

The participants have been applying new skills to their professional lives since day one. Bolstered by refined practical skills, including conflict management, negotiation, writing quotes, and facilitating workshops, they are prepared to deliver highly impactful agribusiness coaching and training. 

To celebrate, we spoke to six participants about the impact of this course on their professional lives. Keep reading to discover the 5 most impactful things our participants discovered in ‘Making Agribusiness Work’! 


1. Participation promotes impact! 

Oluwatoyin Zaka has developed skills to translate her professional expertise into stronger, more tangible impact for agrifood actors in Nigeria. Working for a research institute and training stakeholders on business development, she endeavors to alleviate poverty by supporting Nigerian farmers to build a stable livelihood. She has found herself grappling with frustration as her hard work failed to create the impact she aspires to. While she recognized the pressing need for innovation in the agri-food sector, she often witnessed these innovative ideas falling short in long-term implementation. 

“Many a time l spun into action to solve my clientele’s challenge as soon as l knew their felt need or challenge. And over the years little can be recorded to have been achieved” – Olywatoyin Zaka, Nigeria 

Recalling a previous project in Ijebu, Ogun state, Nigeria, Oluwatoyin described how the team sought to support farmers. The project introduced equipment to enhance the value of the farmer’s products and minimize waste. Yet, to her disappointment, the farmers remained unconvinced by these interventions.  

Oluwatoyin no longer rushes to implement solutions quickly; instead, she recognizes the importance of taking time to accurately assess the needs of her stakeholders. Armed with facilitation techniques and active listening skills, she tailors her expertise to the specific context, enabling her to craft lasting and impactful solutions.  


2. Competitors in business can enter win-win partnerships too. 

Epaphras, an agronomist from Burundi, described his changed mindset since completing ‘Making Agribusiness Work’. He had previously assumed that business competitors are inherently at odds and so can’t collaborate!  He has now witnessed cooperation providing a competitive edge to all parties, even between competitors! 

 Epaphras now also has the facilitation skills necessary to broker such partnerships.  His ambition is to facilitate partnerships in the poultry value chain in Burundi. He notes that there is little willingness amongst actors but will use his strong facilitation skills to trigger motivation and commitment.  

 “Before, I couldn’t even believe that businesspeople who are competing on one product and in the same area could collaborate.” – Epaphras Ndikumana, Burundi 

Iyabo also described his facilitation process as changed.  Searching for common ground and focusing discussions there was invaluable to help him build strong foundations for partnerships. 

“Benefit from the practical and real-life approach of iCRA organized trainings.”- Iyabo Adeoye, Nigeria 


3. Networking is key!

Making Agribusiness Work focuses on building professional skills and applying them to real professional cases. However, iCRA participants valued the course as an opportunity to network too! The twelve participants got to know each other well as they met live online every week! They also worked with several experienced iCRA trainers. These connections, alongside their connection to the global iCRA community, is a valuable resource and a source of inspiration which will stay with them for years to come! 

“I learnt so much with colleagues from different countries, available and competent facilitators and also with my field case actors.” – Sibiri Nicolas Yameogo, Burkina Faso 


4. You can grow a business-minded approach. 

iCRA’s course ‘Making Agribusiness Work’ is popular amongst agribusiness professionals, but it is also an opportunity for researchers and other actors in the agrifood sector to develop a more business-minded approach and diversify their expertise. This was the experience for Angela Mkindi, a university researcher, lecturer and incubation officer from Tanzania in the field of ecological pest and disease management. 

Angela’s main professional challenge was bridging the gap between science and business. Angela provides training to farmers and stakeholders on implementing ecological pest and disease management. Without a business background she struggled to speak the language of commercialization to farmers and “sell” approaches to them. Angela identified this as a barrier to ensuring that her expertise results in tangible impact. 

Angela now feels more competent as a consultant. She has gained practical skills including writing quotes, actor mapping and negotiating which make her feel more comfortable in business settings.  

“Each module is practically related to work. It upped my game.” – Rahmat Eyinfunjowo, Nigeria 

Epaphras has recently used the commercial skills he practiced to successfully negotiate a salary increase for the first time in five years! He achieved this using his improved negotiation skills and by demonstrating the tangible results of his new practical skills.  

“The negotiation skills module gained helped me to negotiate my salary increase with my employer.” – Epaphras Ndikumana, Burundi 


5. Professional skills translate to personal life! 

It is common to struggle with managing conflict at work and disagreement can cause discomfort. Indeed, Angela viewed conflict as unconstructive and unpleasant, but her perception of conflict is now changed. Angela is no longer avoids difficult conversations and has  tools to manage conflict constructively. She tested these skills at her work, where she was able to negotiate, speak openly, listen and build a better working relationship. 

“This course has impacted me professionally, but also as a mother, wife and colleague.” – Angela Mkindi, Tanzania 

Negotiating, actively listening and navigating are conflict are transferrable soft skills essential to any industry. Indeed, Angela and her colleagues Sibiri Nicolas and Rahmat, even noted that their newfound conflict management skills diffused into their personal lives to the benefit of their relationships. 


Are you inspired by the stories of our Making Agribusiness Work participants? Are you interested in finding out more about this course? Then visit our website and subscribe to our email community to receive course information and free expert tips!  

Are you ready to apply? Enrol and learn more about the course here!