Imani’s goal is to channel the overwhelming level of support to the agricultural sector into development that improves competitiveness in a pro-poor manner. Imani therefore approaches agriculture at both a macro and micro level – from developing national agricultural policies to linking smallholder farmers with markets for their produce.

Imani has developed a specialisation in agricultural value chain analysis (VCA) and value chain development (VCA/VCD) and has completed these for a range of clients and various crops and commodities. VCA work is often conducted as part of a wider piece of consultancy that we have delivered. A market assessment is usually undertaken to determine which value chains will be analysed and thus developed as part of a specified project or programme.

View our latest Agricultural Development Capacity Statement by clicking here.

Agricultural development principles:

  • Context Specific: Imani’s use of staff on the ground ensures we are well positioned to undertake the collection of primary data and conduct consultations that make our work grounded in the context of implementation. The thorough understanding of local nuances ensures analyses and strategies that are practical and implementable.
  • Market Based: We base our analysis on the current market structure, future growth possibilities and market dynamics. In order to be sustainable, this theory must be applied, as it is the market that dictates the characteristics of the sector and the individual value chains within it.
  • Targets Market Players: Support to agricultural development is often approached via an external player, such as an NGO, assuming the role of an internal player. Imani focuses on permanent market players to increase the project’s sustainability when the player withdraws at the conclusion of a project.
  • Time Period of Intervention:. Imani takes into account small-scale farmers hesitation towards production and marketing and recommends agricultural development programmes that are of a suitable time frame.

Project Highlights:

ENTERPRISE Zambia Challenge Fund (2020-2024)
Under the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2020) for Zambia, the European Union and the Government of Zambia have agreed on a EUR 99 million “Support to the sustainable commercialisation of Zambia’s smallholder farmers” Programme. The first and largest component of this operation aims at supporting investments conducive to strengthening the market integration of smallholder farmers into value chain developments, through innovative business models including agribusiness operators and smallholders. This project seeks to create markets for up to 150,000 small scale farmers and producers, and more than 8,000 new jobs in the sector over the next five years. Imani Development’s role in the management of ENTERPRISE Zambia Challenge Fund include technical assistance, undertaking extensive value chain assessments, reviewing business plans, as well as implementation support to successful applicants.

AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund (2018 – 2023)
The AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund is designed and implemented by Imani Development and Self Help Africa (SHA). The objective is to improve the capacity of 100,000 smallholder farmers and pastoralists to practise environmentally sustainable and climate-smart agriculture and a business in inclusive value chains. Through an innovative challenge fund approach, AgriFI Kenya will also sub-grant approximately €19 million through a competitive call for funding. Target sectors of the grant will be the agriculture, livestock, and fisheries sectors, including their respective down-stream industries. Imani’s role in the management of AgriFI Kenya includes technical design of the fund, technical assistance (including the provision of value chain assessments using the Market Systems Development and Sustainable Livelihoods frameworks), due diligence of applicants, and the provision of technical support and business development services to successful applicants.

TAF2 – Scoping the Trade Dimensions in PEPZ Phase 2 (2018-2019)
The DfID funded Private Enterprise Programme in Zambia (Phase 2) aims to build the capability and capacity of MSMEs to deliver inclusive economic growth by creating jobs and diversifying the Zambian economy. Imani Development conducted a scoping study of agri-business and tourism value chains to identify the levels, incidence, and impact of barriers to bilateral trade and regional value chain development. Specifically, the study identified the policies, standards and technical regulations, trade finance, and trade logistics appropriate and necessary for the preparation of the business case for PEPZ Phase 2.

Profiling the Agro-Processing Industry in the SADC Region (2018)
A fundamental contribution to the realisation of industrial development and market integration for the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2015-2020) was a comprehensive profiling of the agro-processing industry. The promotion of regional value chains and increasing value addition for the agricultural sector are crucial for driving sustainable industrial development for the region. In light of this, Imani Development provided technical assistance to provide a thorough overview of the agro-processing sector as well as rapid and deep-dive assessments of significant value chains. The outcome was the identification of appropriate regional value chains for investment and support promotion.

Department for International Development – Business Innovation Facility II (2014 – 2019)
This is a ground-breaking DFID programme (launched 2010) to actively identify and support inclusive business project opportunities in five pilot countries; BIF II (BIF2) is a continuation of BIF I, with a much stronger, narrowed scope focusing on Solar Products, Soya, and Pigeon Peas. Imani Development is the consortium partner responsible for Malawi, and as Country Managers has identified, and now delivers, the BIF strategy there. Imani works directly with commercial companies: agro-processors; information and communications technology firms; agricultural estates; utility companies; farmer associations; and community groups and development organisations engaging with the poor. Many of the business models identified increase smallholder farmer or other SME benefits by integrating them in the ‘last mile’ of supply chains of larger businesses, thus directly encouraging private sector development and pro-poor growth. A key principle of such projects is that they can demonstrate wealth creation through an inclusive, commercially viable approach.

Department for International Development & United Nations Development Programme – Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (2014 – 2018)
The Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF) is a US$ 8 million competitive, transparent mechanisms that provides grant finance for innovative projects proposed by the private sector active in Malawi’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors. Supported by the United Nations Development Programme and UK Aid, the MICF is designed to be a quick, responsive mechanism that is not overly bureaucratic and understands the needs of the private sector. MICF aims to support the private sector to generate and test new ideas, and help prove the viability of new business models, enhancing the ability of these innovative projects and concepts to be replicated or scaled up on a purely commercial basis. Imani Development, in partnership with Nathan Associates, manages MICF.

Ethical and Fair Trade Development

Imani’s strategic intent is to work with marginalised producers and workers in poor countries in order to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency. Imani engages at all stages and levels of the process – from informing policy development in Europe to working with Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) registered producers in East and Southern Africa and Asia. Imani has been working with ethical and fair trade companies and initiatives, such as the Fairtrade Foundation and Fairtrade Africa, since 2002.

Imani bridges the gap between supplier and buyer within the value chain and has experience in getting products to markets on time for buyers. With our base, background and offices in Africa, Imani brings a unique perspective to ethical and fair trade and is fundamentally committed to promoting equitable regional and international trade.

Imani’s services in the Fair Trade arena include:

  • In-depth knowledge of Fair Trade and Product Supply Chains
  • Assisting organisations new to Fairtrade to comply with standards and become registered with FLO
  • Assisting with new product development and sourcing suitable suppliers to fulfil this need
  • Maintaining long term relationships on behalf of companies with suppliers
  • Ensuring strong supply chains often in the face of extremely difficult trading conditions
  • Preparing policy documents and proposals to support the development of Fair Trade as a global initiative
  • Developing product and supplier strategies that reflect their values and objectives
  • Lobbying FLO on the producers behalf regarding issues of standards and compliance
  • Quality management through product development, improvement and innovation
  • Capacity building through training in Fair Trade and through organisational development and improving performance
  • Assisting small-scale farmers in accessing markets
  • Improving quality and farmer revenues through identifying and establishing ‘win-win’ projects
  • Engineering sustainability into the supply chain
  • Measuring the impact of Fair Trade projects and organisations