I have come across three similar business models being talked about in agribusiness related development in the last few weeks. I talk about them here but don’t claim to cover there whole operation but rather the Means of Production part and am not commenting at all on their impact or outputs as I think they are very different in many respects.
Hefer International (I first heard of them some years ago) originally donated hefers (or more recently other livestock big and small) which allow the household to produce milk and to start a herd.
Hefer International backs the donation with agricultural, nutritional and social support. The project replicates itself through the donation of offspring of the original animal by the recipient.
The Full Belly Project
donates the support to entrepreneurs to manufacture agricultural produce processing equipment. At this time the focus is on groundnuts, but this is probably because of their history.
Looking at the design and the instructions for construction of the peanut shelling machine they appear to be comprehensive and implementable.
Kick Start (previously Approtec) designs, develops and facilitates the production and marketing of small scale equipment for small agribusinesses, who buy the equipment at an affordable price which is below the price that would be required to cover all Approtec’s costs.
Currently the technologies include oil presses, water pumps, block making machines etc. A bit like what has been going on for some time in many organisations but Kick Start aim to add to their range and seem to still be successful although similar organisations have had donor funding stopped which resulted in their closure.
So effectively the entrepreneur receives Means of Production at a subsidised cost and Kick Start need to source donor funds to carry out their role.
It seems to me that while economically sustainable enterprises are the end goal this approach of finding a way to get enterprises going through the donation of the means of production is a clever approach that puts value on the donors input and therefore protects it.
I would really be interested to hear from those who know these organisations and also of what you think of my feeling that this may be an approach that could be more widely used. You can simply submit your ideas by using the comment form at the end of the blog or by clicking comment in the blog heading if you are browsing all blogs.