Imani Development and Self-Help Africa have partnered to develop and manage the AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund, which is the flagship output of the Kenyan Initiative for Long-term Integration of Market Operators in Value Chains – or KILIMO VC.

Challenge funds are innovative mechanisms to assist the scaling of high-potential private sector companies that have business models aligned to the specific development priorities of the programme. The AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund is a EUR 24 million five-year agribusiness support programme that is funded by the European Union in partnership with the European Investment Bank. It aims to support small and medium sized enterprises that have a track record of facilitating productive, adapted, and market integrated smallholder agriculture.

The overall objective of the programme is to improve the capacity of 100,000 smallholder farmers and pastoralists to practice environmentally sustainable and climate-smart agriculture as a business in inclusive value chains for women and youth. The challenge fund is the instrument used by the programme to work directly with between 50 and 75 agribusiness SMEs operating in Kenya, and grow their revenues by at least 25% through match-funded support.

The AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund (KCF) methodology is unique in that it avoids any focus on particular commodity value chains, choosing rather to allow SMEs themselves to present compelling business cases for scaling.

Imani Development and Self-Help Africa conducted extensive field work to inform development of the AgriFI KCF. The investigation involved two distinct phases. The first phase of fieldwork focused on exploring agribusiness SME dynamics horizontally, and on developing a set of hypotheses on which to base the KILIMO challenge fund. The second phase of fieldwork involved a deep dive into potentially mission-critical themes identified in the first phase.

The purpose of the study was to better understand the nuanced relationships and challenges facing agribusiness SMEs and Small holder farmers (SHFs) in Kenya, especially in relation to their supply chain linkages. All information and insights captured during the fieldwork has been developed into a report.

In short, this fieldwork report presents key findings on the role agribusiness SMEs in Kenya play as market access agents for SHFs and explores ways in which SME-led interventions can be designed to sustainably benefit small farmers, through inclusive business approaches.


About Martin

Martin is a VC Economist with extensive experience in industrial economics, agriculture and trade development. He is an experienced economic and management consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the research industry. Martin holds a Masters of Commerce (MCom) in Applied Economics from the University of Cape Town (UCT).