Improving the professionalism and investment-readiness of farmers with SCOPEinsight

Improving the professionalism and investment-readiness of farmers with SCOPEinsight

in News
Mark Blackett
Mark Blackett
Regional Director Rikolto in East Africa

In order to feed the continuously growing world population, smallholder farmers have an important role to play. Therefore they need the means, the assets and capacities. Rikolto (previously known as VECO) takes up the role of facilitator to develop and support the strengthening of the business and organizational capacities of the farmer organisations.

Enabling standardised and market-driven capacity building with Scope Insight

We initiated a training process with SCOPEinsight, a Dutch organisation that developed 2 tools to assess the business capacities of the farmer organisations. SCOPEinsight assesses the professionalism and management maturity of farmer organisations using its widely tested and robust assessments methodology, called SCOPE. SCOPE Pro was designed to facilitate access to finance, markets and inputs. This tool is best applied to more professional producer organisations. SCOPE Basic is designed to provide input for training and capacity building services as well as to facilitate supply chain linkages. With this project, we want to stress and streamline this efforts in the different Rikolto regions.


Rikolto is an international NGO working in East and West Africa, Congo, Central and South America, Indonesia and Vietnam.

In each region, Rikolto focuses on strengthening the business and organisational capacities of farmer organisations. Rikolto also establishes links between farmers and value chain actors to stimulate an enabling environment for smallholder farmers.

Since strengthening farmer organisations to become professional business organisations is one of our core activities, we want to approach this in a streamlined and thorough manner. The tool we use to date to screen farmer organisations, is too much guesswork and barely linked to good quantitative indicators.

Roos Peirsegaele Programme Advisor

An important aspect of Rikolto’s work is to have a positive impact on the level of professionalism and investment-readiness of farmers, in order to improve the links with private actors and banks.

“The SCOPEinsight tools were a real eye-opener for us, and we immediately realised that they allow us to give our work with farmer organisations a professional boost.” Roos Peirsegaele continues: “It is also important for the [farmer] organisations that we deal with the screening in a uniform manner, this will make exchange and learning much easier and more accurate. The use of the SCOPE Pro tool is also very important for the farmer’ organisations in their dealings with banks and financial institutions.”

Therefore, Rikolto wants to standardise the way in which it assesses, provides support to and monitors the progress of farmer organisations across all of its regions of operation.


Rikolto and SCOPEinsight established a global partnership, aiming to enable Rikolto to operate in a uniform way in every region, and communicate based on a common language of professional farming, both internally and externally. The project involves the following stages:

Aligning Rikolto’s training materials to the dimensions of the SCOPE assessment. Via a gap analysis, the strengths and gaps in Rikolto’s curriculum were identified. Advice was given on how to overcome these gaps. By strengthening its curriculum, Rikolto will be able to provide more complete and market-driven capacity building to the assessed farmer organisations. Training of 42 employees of Rikolto worldwide on either the SCOPE Pro and SCOPE Basic assessment methodology. The training builds Rikolto’s in-house capacity to use the assessment tools, allowing Rikolto to conduct the assessments by themselves. Assessment by Rikolto of all 115 farmer organisation that they’re working with, using the SCOPE Pro or SCOPE Basic tools. The assessments result in comprehensive insight into the business performances of rikolto’s farmer organisations. Via a Dashboard, Rikolto can analyse and benchmark the results in order to target capacity building on the lowest scoring dimensions. An event in each region to facilitate market links and business deals. At each event, the farmer organisations present themselves to commercial parties and banks, using the assessment report. The events are also a good opportunity for farmer organisations to share experiences and knowledge gained during the project with each other. Concluding with a large, two-day, international event in Brussels. During the event, success stories, insights and learning points from the trajectory are shared. Assessed farmer organisations are invited to present their reports and progress to international market players. Draft a multi-year follow-up plan to further improve farmer organiation professionalism.


  • In a cost-efficient way, incorporate a standard assessment method for Rikolto
  • Establish a baseline of the performance of farmer organizations in Rikolto’s portfolio
  • Improve Rikolto’s training curriculum to provide better targeted capacity building
  • Establish links between assessed farmer organisations via regional and international events
  • Multi-year roll out to track progress of farmer organisations

Both Rikolto and SCOPEinsight will be publishing regular updates on the various activities and outcomes of the project.

Article retrieved from the website of SCOPEinsight