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TechnoServe: Serving Promising Agri-business

TechnoServe works in places that are low in conflict and high in potential.

To be on TechnoServe’s radar, local market systems must have a specific unmet demand for a product or service, a potential for inclusive growth that promotes positive development for poor populations and a potential for significant impact.

Since TechnoServe works in high-potential places, it avoids regions prone to conflict, where market systems are at a point of nonexistence and, subsequently, of little promise for change.

The international nonprofit is a “catalyst” for improving competitive markets beyond current capacities.

In partnership with local entrepreneurs and businesses, TechnoServe identifies poor market behaviors both internally and externally. More specifically, it addresses weaknesses in “skills, technologies, availability of information, market linkages, access to finance, infrastructure and governance or policies.”

Furthermore, its target goals are to develop capacity, strengthen market connections and improve the business environment of self-sustaining economic progress. This three-piece system leads to a “cycle of development that helps people lift themselves and their communities out of poverty.”

In order to create a successful market system, there needs to be a network of mutually cooperative buyers and sellers. The TechnoServe website lists the participants needed: direct market plays like producers, buyers and consumers; suppliers that provide the tradable goods and services; and entities that mold the business environment, such as regulatory agencies, infrastructure providers and business associations.

In 2014 alone, TechnoServe reached 1.7 million people across 29 countries. Projects aimed at improving farms, businesses and industries.

To be more precise, 325,200 farmers were helped by TechnoServe, amounting to a $37.9 million increase in farmer revenues. Likewise, 3,000 businesses were reached, amounting to a $16.5 million increase in business revenues. TechnoServe also created 5,610 new jobs, leading to a $7 million increase in wages paid. TechnoServe impacted approximately 1.7 million total men, women and children with its good work.

By 2017, TechnoServe hopes to double its impact. To achieve this goal, it set goals to be accomplished within five years. Staring in 2013, TechnoServe began to reach one million people with an entrepreneurial drive to improve their surroundings. Of these one million, approximately 35% will be women.

Goal two is to generate $500 million in net financial worth by adopting efficient farming and business practices. The expected results are widespread and significant wage increases as well as lasting economic growth.

With its partners, TechnoServe develops projects around the globe. In Nicaragua, the Ganadería Empresarial Project supports livestock production by reinforcing producer organizations and introducing local agri-markets to higher-value markets.

Similarly, the cotton trade in Uganda, dairy trade in East Africa and coffee trade in Eastern Guatemala receive developmental assistance from TechnoServe.

The Haiti Hope Project alone enrolled 27,000 new farmers into the agricultural sector, 47% of which were women. It also produced a market where 43% of business advisers were women, and of the 269 new producer business groups made, 31% of the leadership roles were held by women. Of the $2.3 million in loans disbursed, a majority 52% of loans issued were given to women.

TechnoServe promotes self-sufficient business development in places of greatest impact. The company’s training programs cover how to create and compete in planning businesses and how to become a successful entrepreneur. In the developing world, these skills are often overlooked, so TechnoServe develops responsible business environments that, in effect, help other developing regions rise out of poverty too.

Lin Sabones

Sources: Technoserve 1, Technoserve 2, Technoserve 3, Technoserve 4, Bloomberg
Photo: Technoserve