Business Support Facility endorses 73 innovative projects in 22 OACPS member states

GIZ implements Component 1 “Business Support Facility for Resilient Agricultural Value Chains” of the OACPS-EU Framework Programme for support to ACP Agriculture Value Chain Development. This Joint Action is a combined effort of the EU Directorate-General for International Partnerships (INTPA), the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and German Government through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It is implemented along three Outputs: (1) Skills for agribusiness: aims to provide accessible e-learning and blended learning approaches to enhance agribusiness skills; (2) Competitive MGF: focuses on implementing 85 projects to promote resilient agricultural value chains; (3) South-South exchange: emphasizes on knowledge sharing, learning, and policy dialogue to scale and institutionalize the Joint Action’s approaches. Overall, these outputs aim to contribute to economic and climate change resilience of the cashew, cocoa, maize, and livestock (cattle, sheep, and goat) value chains and to food security, increased income, and employment in the 79 OACPS member states under the Samoa agreement.

Matching Grant Fund for climate resilient value chains

A year ago, the team from Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH responsible for the implementation of the Business Support Facility was concerned that too few innovative project proposals would be received as applications. The funding for the proposals for multi-actors-partnerships to improve the cashew, cocoa, maize, and livestock value chains is channelled via the Matching Grant Fund (MGF) of the facility. However, the response was overwhelming. From Haiti to many countries in Africa to Vanuatu in the Pacific, more than 500 qualified proposals were sent during the application period. 73 projects from 22 OACPS member states were endorsed for the 4 value chains. This was made possible by an intensive programme of webinars to explain the application procedures to applicants in four different languages. Currently, the commercial and legal eligibility assessment is still ongoing for some projects while others are already starting with implementation. In July 2024, the next and final calls of this MGF for all value chains will be launched.

To support the MGF multi-actors-partnership projects, new training approaches were introduced under Output 1. This included the launch of Gender makes Business Sense + with its inaugural training session held in Ghana. Additionally, Farmer Business School (FBS) Climate was introduced in Namibia, building on the successful FBS approach. Furthermore, the Agribusiness e-Academy on expanded its offerings with the Business Model Canvas for Agribusinesses course among others. More courses, including Climate-smart Agribusiness and Cashew Processing are currently under development. Over 4,600 certificates have been issued to learners from OACPS member states. The Cashew Master Training Programme (MTP) implemented by the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) and supported by GIZ held 2 MTP editions (15 and 16) last year graduating 144 Master Trainers. “This training has already had a real impact on my private life and has enabled me to improve my professional efficiency. I really appreciated the ease of interaction and the communicative qualities of the trainers”, stated Eva Josiane ONADJA, Agricultural Engineer, Burkina Faso, participant of the 15th edition. Currently, there are MTP editions 17 and 18 being held with 158 participants from 13 African countries. For edition 19 that will take place in East Africa, efforts will be strengthened to include participants from the Caribbean.

Under Output 3, several policy and industry-related dialogues have been held through the 4th edition of International Exhibition of Processing Equipment & Technologies (SIETTA), the Consultative International Cashew Council (CICC, technical committees and Ministerial meetings) in Côte d’Ivoire, the ACA Annual Cashew Conference & Expo in Senegal, and the World Cashew Conference in Cambodia in February 2024, where the Business support facility  facilitated a panel on Development Cooperation and a CasheWomen event. During the Master Trainer Network Conference held in South Africa, the International Agribusiness Practitioners Association has been initiated with the purpose of institutionalizing all the face-to-face training approaches.

MGF cocoa value chain partners are set to participate in a dialogue event, the Cocoa Agripreneur’s Day, after the World Cocoa Conference in Brussels in April 2024, showcasing collaborative efforts and initiatives within the agricultural sector. The 6th Council of Ministers of the CICC will be hosted in Ghana on April 20, 2024, preceded by technical meetings of experts and a research conference.