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Measuring Smallholder Impact by Agribusinesses – the case of SABMiller

Many agribusinesses in developing countries have incorporated smallholder farmers into their supply chains, and many market systems programmes aim to assist agribusinesses to do this in a way that benefits poor farmers. It still remains difficult, however, to access data on how this trade impacts these farmers’ livelihoods.

The Smallholder Working Group, co-convened by Grow Africa and AGRA, recently reviewed good practice with regard to how to measure the impact of agribusinesses of smallholders. This included exploring a case study on the impact measurement approach taken by SABMiller[1], a beverage company that relies on smallholder supply chains in developing countries for sourcing its brewing crops.

SABMiller’s approach to measuring the impacts on smallholder farmers was two-fold;

  1. Systemised data collection and analysis; SABMiller aimed to develop tailored, central repository of data collected from a variety of supply chains which facilitates two-way communication i.e. collecting data from farmers and facilitating outbound communication of relevant information back to farmers.
  2. Deep-dive studies in specific markets; SABMiller complimented this data collection with deep-dive studies in priority markets to understand in greater detail the socio-economic and livelihood impacts at farmer level.

Example of Uganda deep-dive study; One of these deep-dive studies measured the impact of sorghum and barley supply chains on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Uganda.

Interviews were carried out with a sample of 805 farmers (including a control group of farmers outside the SAB Miller value chain) as well as other supply chain actors, such as aggregators and agents. A similar study had not been carried out before these supply chains were set up, so it was not possible to compare results against a baseline. However, the researchers spoke to farmers to understand their perceptions of changes since joining the SABMiller supply chain and they interviewed a control group of 200 sorghum farmers who were not supplying SABMiller in order to compare results. Data was collected on a range of metrics, including access to markets, farmer productivity and incomes, net crop income and household income, crop profitability, adopting of farming practices, women’s empowerment, food security, post-harvest losses as well as the business relationships between different supply chain actors.

Further information

  • This blog is part of a series on what’s new in inclusive agribusiness from April 2017. Hear from more contributors in part one of the series– digging into the details of inclusive business programmes around the world.  In part two contributors share how long-standing perspectives on cooperative, corporate strategies, value chain partnerships, market system change, rural livelihoods support, financing, and innovation adoption are beginning to blend, and why. 
  • Read more on key topics in inclusive agribusiness in the series of six theme papers.
  • Access over 450 resources on inclusive agribusiness on SearchInclusiveBusiness.org

[1] The combination of SABMiller plc with Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev) was completed on 10th October 2016.

1 Comment

  1. Profile photo of Caroline Ashley, Editor Caroline Ashley, Editor says:

    Thanks Ian. I have to say I think the full briefing paper that you refer to is an excellent concise guide to a variety of tools being used to measure smallholder impact in agri initiatives. It covers many different approaches, with some pros, cons and examples. So thanks.

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