Creating Lasting Change Through Public Private Partnerships
By Manfred Borer, Swisscontact Indonesia
Swisscontact promotes economic, social and environmental sustainability by supporting people to develop the skills they need to contribute to local commercial life.
For over fifty years, we’ve found that people possessing relevant market skills are those who have the greatest capacity to succeed in, and help transform, local economies.
As an organisation we’re best known for our training programs that provide rural producers, micro- and small business owners, young entrepreneurs, and women, with the capacities to improve their livelihoods and incomes.
We believe that education, training, and skills development - especially in good agricultural practices in rural areas in developing countries - have the greatest potential to address issues related to food security, resiliency, health and nutrition, and community and economic development.
Through our projects, we enable access to professional training and skills development, promote local entrepreneurship, create access to financial service providers and support the efficient use of resources with the goal of promoting employment and income generation.
Working in market systems, we often find that smallholder farmers and rural producers are typically lacking resources, skills and knowledge to be more effective contributors to supply chains and to make more profitable returns for themselves.
The often inefficient use of resources not only inhibits their own income potential, but also - in the case of high demand commodities such as cocoa - contributes to lower productive capacity and market shortages.
It is in this instance that business can make an enhanced contribution, especially when promoting greater corporate social responsibility and improved environmental practices.
Since 2012, we’ve been implementing the Sustainable Cocoa Production Program (SCPP) in Indonesia - currently the largest public-private partnership in the country’s cocoa sector.
SCPP brings together Government ministries, three public donors, and five private sector companies in a partnership program designed as a holistic approach to ensure inclusiveness of rural producers, open sector collaboration, and allows additional partners to join.
In the cocoa value chain, everyone has their own interests and business objectives. In simple terms, producers grow and harvest cocoa, companies process cocoa and manufacture chocolate products, and the Government works to create a regulatory and policy framework to facilitate sector growth.
The program aims to improve farmer welfare through improved nutrition and income generation, while strengthening community and business development.
It also aims to improve farmers’ access to sustainable markets and to price premiums through internationally recognised certification systems, as well as enhancing their access to credit facilities.
The goal is ultimately to improve business linkages throughout the value chain, to increase efficiency in and providing better market mechanisms for everyone involved in the cocoa sector.
We collaborate with Nestlé to implement the program in West Sulawesi Province, Indonesia, using successfully tested approaches to provide farmers with training and education in best practices.
This includes technology transfer and training in agriculture, nutrition, environment, social, and business practices.
With substantial support from the local Government and Nestlé’s supply chain partners, we’re currently training 6,000 smallholder cocoa households in improved farming and business practices, and quality standards.
This kind of joint effort between government and private sector, to transfer best practices to increase production, quality, and quantity, has a direct link to increased farmer productivity and income.
The benefits are experienced across the value chain.
The private sector can purchase cocoa of improved quality in greater quantities, the development project donors and implementers achieve sustainable change, the government achieves progress towards its strategic goals, and even consumers on different continents can buy a more affordable product, produced in a more sustainable manner.
Our belief is that this partnership model and holistic strategy dramatically improves the chances for continued development and long-lasting positive change for smallholder farmers.
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