Equitable growth through competitive and sustainable agribusiness

ACDI/VOCA is a nonprofit that means business in our fight against poverty. We use a comprehensive, market systems approach to increase efficiencies along entire value chains—from crop production through processing and marketing. We strive to quickly—and sustainably—improve livelihoods through increases in productivity and profits of smallholder farmers and agribusinesses in developing countries.

Our interventions minimize market distortions and empower private and public sector stakeholders to act on their own behalf in a lasting and competitive fashion. We build the capacity of local farmers and agribusinesses and enable them to be market-oriented in all that they do. As a result, they can realize new business opportunities, adapt to market shifts, and sustain success.

Increasing Competitiveness, Service Linkages, and Market Access

ACDI/VOCA identifies and targets weaknesses in value chain support services, the enabling environment, and infrastructure to increase opportunities and profits for entire regions and subsectors.

At the policy level, ACDI/VOCA helps draft pro-growth legislation and regulations that facilitate cooperative formation; secure land and resource rights; and promote trade liberalization, food safety, education, research and extension, and other aspects of the enabling environment for agribusiness development. We develop efficient, sustainable systems for building and maintaining rural road and irrigation infrastructure while creating new employment opportunities.

Our financial services approaches mitigate rural finance constraints. We are a leader in introducing warehouse receipts and inventory credit systems that enforce international quality standards. These measures allow farmers to use their commodities as collateral for loans and reduce seasonal price volatility. Our innovative mobile money platforms increase access to financial services in rural areas, along with access to SMS and internet-based market information systems tailored to the needs of farmers, intermediate traders, and end-markets.

We also work closely with local communities to reduce vulnerability to environmental shocks, including those attributed to climate change. We teach climate-smart agricultural techniques through our farmer field schools and employ innovative techniques to help diffuse knowledge throughout local communities.

Fostering Gender Integration and Tomorrow’s Generation of Farmers

Gender equity is part of ACDI/VOCA’s vision to empower people—both women and men—to succeed in the global economy. We employ gender mainstreaming throughout all of our programs. Engaging with women farmers is crucial for the success of agricultural development. Research and our own experience show that increasing women’s access to the same agricultural services, inputs, and training as men pays off in dividends for women, their families, and their communities.

In addition, we actively engage with youth in our programs. The youth we work with today are the farmers of tomorrow. Their enthusiasm and openness to employing new techniques bring new vibrancy to activities and help to foster innovative thinking and better business skills for managing their families’ farms and agribusinesses.

Associations, Cooperatives, and Capacity Building

To help farmers capture a larger market share and boost their incomes by earning higher returns, ACDI/VOCA trains farmers to master crop-specific technical skills, acquire market knowledge, and approach farming as a business. We focus on helping farmers grow more, higher quality, and safer food for their families and their markets. We balance introducing new production technologies with sustainability by ensuring our interventions protect and complement effective indigenous knowledge and practice and are supported within the local supply chain.

We also help farmers gain power through numbers by organizing themselves in associations and cooperatives. These and other types of producer groups increase their own competitiveness in the value chains and enhance their bargaining position so they can negotiate more competitively priced inputs, finance, transportation, and other services.

Such shareholder-owned businesses provide an efficient vehicle for diffusing technical and business knowledge, promoting gender equity, protecting the environment, and addressing health challenges such as HIV/AIDS and malnutrition.

Public-Private Alliances

ACDI/VOCA helps leverage public and private sector resources to achieve positive, sustainable development impact. In support of our specialty coffee project in Colombia, ACDI/VOCA has joined forces with International Coffee Partners under USAID’s Global Development Alliance to improve farmer business skills and coffee production standards. Our multinational SUCCESS Alliance cocoa development project involves USAID, USDA, the World Cocoa Foundation, and Mars, Inc.

ACDI/VOCA’s food and agricultural programs are achieving a sustainable increase in the purchasing power of hundreds of thousands of rural households worldwide. These programs not only ensure food security but also trigger a virtuous cycle of asset accumulation and expanded opportunities for income, health, and nutrition, as a growing number of commercial enterprises are motivated to provide this new consumer base with goods and services.


A Selection of Past Projects