Besides supporting and strengthening farmer organisations, Rikolto encourages food companies and retailers to make their procurement policy ‘inclusive’ for small-scale farmers and their organisations. In an ‘inclusive’ business model, farmers are viewed as fully fledged players in the chain.
With improved business relationships and more inclusiveness, smallholders can provide a stable supply of higher quality products leading to increased sales for buyers, and higher profits for all participants of the value chain.
To ensure the inclusion of farmer organisations in local, regional and global supply chains, Rikolto brings all value chain actors together through the LINK methodology. We co-identify critical areas for improvement and accompany food companies in the design and implementation of inclusive business strategies and the evaluation of the effects of these changes on smallholder farmers and on the business itself. As such, using LINK can also lead to a systematic learning process between actors from a selected value chain, and allow them to discover new opportunities for innovation, based on the application of a participatory toolkit.
The LINK Methodology is a participatory method created by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and other organisations within the Sustainable Food Lab. Its aim is to foster inclusive commercial relationships between smallholder producers and markets, linking chain actors more effectively and improving their relationship step by step.
Based on a questionnaire and consultation moments between the different players in an agricultural chain, the bottlenecks and strengths of their commercial relationship are uncovered according to the following six principles that underpin inclusive business models:
What is special about this chain approach, is that it goes beyond looking at commercial relations. It unravels and connects the way of working of all the actors in the chain.
The LINK methodology is designed around four main tools:
By the end of the process you will be able to understand the relationship between specific business models (buyer and seller) and the overall value chain; identified critical areas for improvement; designed, implemented, evaluated and improved the innovation prototype for the business model you selected; and evaluated the effects of these changes on small-holder farmers and on the business itself.
Rikolto started as one of the first NGOs piloting LINK cases in 2011 and by today we have successfully implemented the toolkit in over 15 agri food chains throughout Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Ecuador, Indonesia and Tanzania within 6 commodities: cocoa, coffee, vegetables, banana, asparagus, passion fruit and corn.
Our partners involve:
The LINK methodology in action:
Get in touch with us to address your organisation’s specific needs.