Public-Private Partnerships

Shared public and private action is considered by many to be a critical part of the solution in figuring out how to feed a rapidly rising world population, together with how to defeat hunger for almost 900 million people. The donor community is trying to leverage ever increasing private investments with sizeable public pots of money for agricultural development.

For OECD DAC members, spending through public-private partnership (PPP) mechanisms has risen from US$ 234 million in 2007 to US$ 903 million in 2010, but not all on agriculture.[1] Another examples is the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition with a commitment of over US$ 3 billion of private investment.

Enough anecdotal evidence suggests private-public collaboration in agriculture can reduce poverty and has a multiplier effect for all the stakeholders involved. However there is increasing concern that while PPP initiatives bring investment, they struggle to deliver beyond ‘business as usual’. As such they rarely bring benefits to the majority of small producers, and are not effectively held accountable to their poverty reduction goals. This leads to the need to analyse (1) the effectiveness of using public funding to leverage private investment in agricultural development for poverty reduction and food security, and (2) the accountability of private-public relationships in agriculture to their development goals and to the communities that they are designed to help.

Currently, Seas of Change is linked to action research on PPPs via the Centre for Development Innovation of Wageningen UR (CDI). CDI is stewarding Seas of Change together with the Sustainable Food Lab (SFL). CDI collaborates with the Partnerships Resource Centre, Aqua for All, and SNV Netherlands Development Organization in the so-called PPPLab.

The PPPLab is an action research and joint learning initiative to enhance the relevance, effectiveness and quality of Dutch supported public-private partnerships. Its mission is to extract and co-create knowledge and methodological lessons from and on PPPs that can be used to improve both implementation and policy. At present the PPPLab is focusing on partnerships funded in the first rounds of the Sustainable Water Fund (FDW) and the Facility for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Food Security (FDOV).

The knowledge that the PPPLab will generate, will also be of interest to new applicants of future calls and new facilities. Not only in the Netherlands, but also abroad.

If you want to be kept up to date of PPPLab news, events and publications, please sign-up to our newsletter. Interviews and interesting resources can be found on our website. You can also follow us on Twitter.


[1] Kindornay S. and Reilly-King. F. 2013. Investing in the Business of development: bilateral donor approaches to engaging the private sector. North South Institute and Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)