The Business Innovation Facility II is the second phase of the ground-breaking DFID programme BIF I, launched in 2010, to actively identify and support inclusive business project opportunities in five pilot countries; BIF II (BIF2), as a continuation of BIF I, has 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.
Imani provides on-the-ground technical and development support to selected businesses and producers. For both the agri- and solar services we supplied Market Access and Development, Access to Finance, Capacity Building, and support in Piloting New Products.
Specific to the agricultural smallholders, a major focus was to shift them from purely subsistence farming to commercially viable producer businesses. This is achieved by supplying business development support, access to agricultural extension services, and consulting services relating directly to the agricultural producers’ needs.