Agricultural small and medium enterprises (agri-SMEs) play a crucial role in the economic development and advancement of emerging markets. Despite their significance, agri-SMEs still encounter formidable challenges in achieving key growth objectives such as generating revenue and creating employment opportunities. Business Development Services (BDS) are integral in supporting agri-SMEs to grow and thrive, but the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of such programs remain poorly understood.

To address this barrier, ISF analyzed BDS tools and methodologies provided to agri-SMEs in East and West Africa. This report presents findings from an extensive desk review of existing research, an analysis of data collected from 15 BDS provider case studies, and interviews with stakeholders in the space.

This work builds on previous learnings to deepen best practices related to the needs of agri-SMEs and the tools and approaches that could lead to improved BDS provision models. If you’re a BDS provider interested in analyzing the effectiveness, cost-efficiency, and fee coverage of your own services, you can download and utilize our measurement tool here.

Read the full report below, and watch the webinar discussion about this research here.

Related Research

SMEs in Food Systems: A Framework for Engagement

Our framework developed around the structure and key dynamics of food systems – focusing in particular on the role of agri-SMEs – and applied through two country studies in Colombia and Uganda to support the Argidius Foundation.

View Report
Assessing the Cost Efficiency and Effectiveness of Business Development Services for Agri-SMEs

A summary of key findings from our analysis of BDS tools and methodologies provided to agri-SMEs in East and West Africa.

Read More
Landscape Assessment of Agro-Industrial Parks in Uganda

Our landscape assessment in partnership with USAID’s Market Systems and Partnerships (MSP) Activity explores the primary opportunities for donors to further support the Government of Uganda’s ambitious agro-industrialization agenda, a key goal in its latest National Development Plan (NDPIII, 2020).

View Report

Want to learn more?

Contact us or sign up for our newsletter.