The Sesame Business Network support project is supporting the involvement, collaboration and commitment of Ethiopian sesame sector stakeholders to achieve competitive, sustainable and inclusive value chain development. The results of the first phase (2013-15) are very encouraging and stakeholder ownership is observed. The proposal for a second phase (2016-19) has been approved in November 2015. The agribusiness cluster and network approach of the project is front running the current Agricultural Commercialisation Cluster (ACC) approach that is about to be implemented in four regions (Tigray, Amhara, Southern Nations and Oromia).
This reflexive project will reflect and capitalise on the design, implementation and continuous adaptation of the SBN support project as approach for agri-business network development. The aim is to identify the conditions under which this approach was successful, thereby distinguishing sub-sector and country specific conditions and more generic conditions that indicate a wider applicability of this approach in other sub-sectors and countries (or institutional contexts). Key research questions are:
- What can be learned from the design and implementation of the SBN support project for the institutional and socio-cultural embedding of technical and economic innovation processes? What are the reasons for success and failure, with specific attention for the social arrangements in which these innovation processes are embedded?
- To what extent are design principles and implementation modalities replicable in other sub-sector development initiatives (prioritised ACCs) in other parts of Ethiopia (e.g. other products and places in the same country).
- What entrepreneurial competencies are needed and present in the SBN network to ensure the sustainability of externally supported agribusiness innovation networks?