Focus Group session on Value Chains



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Organizers/ Focal Point(s)

Eva Smulders, representing Agri-ProFocus in Ethiopia.
(general Manager and lead advisor of F&S Business Development Service Plc, Addis)



Some outputs




    Aims of the session

    1. sharing of our experience: the Ethiopia Learning Alliance on Farmer Chain Empowerment.

    Between 2007-2010, Agri-ProFocus members SNV, ICCO, KIT, Cordaid, Agriterra and partners IIRR and FFARM organised a learning-by-doing process in value chain development. The learning alliance of 18 farmer organisations and service providers aimed to upgrade their business and market position in the value chain. Read more in background.

    2. your feedback on the documentation phase of this experience.

    Currently we are documenting our experience. We have lessons at e different levels:
    • Farmer organization engaging in value chains.
    • NGO/Service Providers facilitating chain development
    • dutch and ethiopian development partners coordinating/coaching this network
    We hope to receive your feedback and ideas how we best can document and share our lessons.

    Process


    1. Agenda for the session

    We aim to have three short presentations.
    a) Introduction on the Ethiopia Learning Alliancea - the farmer perspective.
    b) The lessons learnt
    c) The documentation
    After the presentations we have time for discussion and feedback.

    2. Facilitators:

    • Content - Tarekegn Garomsa, Facilitators for Change
    • Process - Eva Smulders, Agri-ProFocus/Fair&Sustainable

    3. Knowledge Sharing technique used (if any):

    In the session we like to use your creativity to help us formulate the lessons learned.
    We think of a technique called "making newspaper headlines', asking you to write headlines based on the presentations.
    Best headlines will be awarded and used in the documentation phase.

    The Learning Alliance itself is a knowledge sharing technique developed by CIAT Rural Agro-Enterprise Project.
    The Ethiopia Learning Alliance used workshops, assignment and coaching. Products so far are
    - a 2 page fact sheet:
    - a wiki: http://ethiopialearningalliance.net

    Speakers/Talents

    • A farmer participant in the Learning Alliance
    • Tarekegn Garomsa, Facilitators for Change
    • Eva Smulders, Agri-ProFocus/Fair&Sustainable
    • Ben Addom, (Ghana) and PhD Candidate Syracuse University School of Information Studies, USA

    Notes


    The Ethiopia Learning Alliance consisted of workshops, assignments and coaching visits by the coordination team. All 18 clusters successfully completed the assignments on Basic value chain analysis, Self-analysis for trade partnership, Financial analysis and coaching, and Cluster action planning. The final stage of the Learning Alliance is a business planning contest and documentation of lessons learned. The Learning Alliance has the support of 5 members of Agri-ProFocus: SNV, ICCO, KIT, Agriterra, Cordaid and from FFARM and IIRR in Ethiopia.
    Learning-by-doing
    The learning process is organised between farmer organisations and service providers along existing working relations. Each of these clusters identified a product for learning purposes. The approach follows the 4 phases of value chain development: mapping and assessment of the value chain, building of engagements between the chain actors, upgrading of the chain, and monitoring and evaluation. The learning process is based on practice by integrating training -and working activities in a continuous loop of learning, applying, and reflecting. Coaching on assignments and the financial situation in between the workshops proves to be a powerful intervention to link up between learning in workshops and action.

    Results
    During coaching changes in entrepreneurial attitude were observed: the confidence level of the farmer organisations is increasing and they continuously look for new opportunities. Business planning is improving, in particular where existing partnerships are already established. The jury who presides over the business contest is still to evaluate the quality of the business plans.
    Way forward
    Learning-by-doing also applies to the organisers. Lessons learned are documented in a bulletin (End 2010). Follow-up and up-scaling of this approach to the many other farmer organisations is being discussed in the APF country focus process.

    For more information
    Mr. Wim Goris
    wgoris@agri-profocus.nl
    Ms. Eva Smulders
    esmuldersfands@gmail.com