Course Details - Inclusive Market Development

Rural entrepreneurship & trust building

Trust among actors in agri-food chains is often not very high. This is caused by the low number of transactions between actors of agri-food value chains, the long distance between producer and end markets, and the general lack of understanding and, therefore, appreciation of each other’s roles. In these situations, all chain actors first of all try to protect their interests as much as possible. As a result, opportunistic behaviour among chain actors is rampant, and cooperation is virtually non-existent. The costs of marketing in these types of fresh produce chains are extremely high, resulting in a combination of very high price levels and very low margins at almost all levels of the chain.

Trust among value chain actors

Addressing protectionist behaviour in local fresh produce value chains is a must. If things are left to their own, all kinds of undesirable situations continue or worsen, like high incidences of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, rural-urban migration, etc. Conventional interventions are no option either because these tend to focus on particular target groups or chain functions, and, hence, most often result in lower instead of higher levels of trust among value chain actors.

Increasing your capabilities

Stakeholders shaping the environment in which private sector-driven innovations in agri-food value chains can take shape that improves food & nutrition security, will increase their knowledge, improve their skills and enlarge their toolkit in this field by following this highly interactive course. In particular, participants will have increased their capabilities by:

  • being exposed to and having practiced with new conceptual frameworks and models to identify opportunities for poverty alleviation;
  • being sensitized to imperfections within value chains of locally traded produce, and on how these issues can be addressed
  • having practiced with participatory approaches and methodologies for analysis, and a strategic action planning process that initiate positive change;
  • having practiced with a methodology able to assess the performance of agribusinesses

Participants’ cases are the starting point from which the course departs. It builds on the participant's own experiences and situations. A selection of these cases will be further analysed in the first week of the course.

Learning how to reduce transaction costs

Reducing transaction costs in local fresh food chains is the focus of the course. To be able to unlock the potential value of locally traded & processed fresh food products, transaction costs will have to be reduced first. Else, small and medium entrepreneurs will not be able to invest, add value and create employment. In this context, market and chain concepts, dynamics and institutions will have to be understood first. Hence, the course kicks off with an introduction to the relevant concepts of market engagement, access and governance and their impact on smallholders, entrepreneurs and resource-poor consumers.

Chain Wide Learning methodology

Chain-wide learning is a participatory tool used to improve the performance of fresh food value chains. It will be practised within the course. The Chain Wide Learning (CWL) methodology consists of 3 components:

  1. A multi-stakeholder workshop of representatives of locally, daily traded and/or processed fresh produce value chains will gather to share and discuss the structure, issues and opportunities of a particular value chain;
  2. A strategic action planning process in which the outputs of the workshop are used as inputs;
  3. A set of action plans to reduce transaction costs and/or exploit opportunities in the selected Agri-food value chain.

Once implemented, the plan of action will generate trust and reduce protectionism and opportunistic behaviour in the selected value chain. As a result, marketing costs and prices at end-markets will come done, chain integral margins go up, while investments in productive assets will increase. The improved performance forms the basis for private sector-driven innovation in the chain.

Agribusiness development approaches

Agribusiness development approaches are another important subject that will be addressed in the course program. To sensitize the participants to the business rationale and attitude, they will practice with a simple, single product-focused business planning tool in a step-by-step and hands-on manner. With the help of this tool and process, all the principal variables that relate to cost pricing will be discussed one by one, while their interconnectedness is shown. The business planning model can be used to assess different scenarios while it can easily be extended to one or more products.

This course is taught in a blended format: partially online and partially in person in Kenya.

Our courses are currently taught blended and follow this format:

  • Online pre-course assignments to ensure that you have acquired pre-required knowledge, understand the technical requirements of the online / hybrid learning.
      • Interactive plenary sessions where we share content, facilitate exchanging experiences, challenge each otherthrough debates and discussion. During those interactive sessions we work witha number of online tools like Mentimeter, Jam Board and Mural.
  • Group work either online, offline and face-2-face where you with other participants work jointly to answer specific questions and / or complete an assignment. During theface-2-face part of the course, the content and skills acquired during the online/hybrid part will be applied to a concrete case. Using backcasting each group will be guided and challenged to find innovate solutions for the identified problems, which will be presented at the end of the course.
      • Individual assignments where you will read literature, watch videos, do exercises and take quizzes. These assignments are an essential part of the learning and most of them count for getting the certificate. They are meant to introduce or deepen knowledge and make the link between theory and your own situation.
  • We offer coaching trajectories where we support you one-on-one or in small groups to review your individual learning paths in the course and help with any basic questions you may have.

The course is taught in partially online and the face-to-face part will take place in Kenya.

Online platforms: Zoom and TalentLMS

Internet connection is important for the completion of the course. Not sure about the connection in your area? Send an e-mail about your situation.

We use Zoom as the virtual classroom for the online part.

Our learning system is TalentLMS. Everything you need — our course programme, assignments, background information are in this system. TalentLMS is easy to operate, can also be accessed by your phone and has an on-and offline functionality. To access TalentLMS you will receive a temporary WUR account.

We organise a technical check-in before the course starts, to test your facilities and get familiar with the tools.

Course planning and certificates

The course workload is approximately 16-20 hours a week (2-2.5 workdays).

The exact programme of your course will be available 2-3 weeks before the start of the course. If you’ve successfully completed your course we send you a digital certificate.

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