Scaling

Many examples of inclusive agri-food business and sustainable value chains have emerged over the last decade. However, huge questions remain about how to achieve the scale of change needed if the problems confronting the world’s food systems are to be tackled. Finding practical and workable ways forward is an urgent innovation agenda.

The big question for the coming decades is how to build on these developments to achieve the scale of change needed, and quickly. Where are efforts remaining ‘islands of success’ and where are they adding up to a ‘sea of change’? What inspirational examples are emerging? What ideas could be adapted, mutated or cross-pollinated? And where do those with experience see the opportunities for rapidly putting good ideas into practice at larger scale

Important questions are emerging about the linkages between global markets / commodity chains and local (national/regional) markets, and how to effectively invest in local entrepreneurship and agri-food sector growth. Scaling up inclusive business requires new models of business, innovative financing mechanisms, effective public private partnerships, supportive policies and mobilisation of peoples’ capacities. Experience is developing rapidly but the lessons and insights often remain fragmented.

Profitable business will be a major motor of change. However, creating the enabling conditions calls for effective partnerships between business, producer organisations, policy makers, donors, civil society organisations, knowledge institutions and international agencies. Much remains to be learned about getting these partnerships right and how the different players can most effectively play their role.

Scale is an important question form a number of angles. What is the scale of the future challenges we face for global food security? At what scale are we already making headway? What is the scale of the future opportunities? How can we achieve change at scale needed?

You can find more information in this working document that was prepared for the international Seas of Change workshop in 2012: SoC Questions of Scale

Related to this is the publication ‘Scaling up inclusive business. Insight from different commodities’ which builds upon the case studies about various commodities (cashew, dairy, horticulture, etc) which were done for the workshop in 2012: Scaling up inclusive business models

Here you can find more information about a two-year research project led by Wageningen UR, that aims to develop a strategic framework for policy makers and private business to assess whether and how scaling (up) can be steered. Since the project does not regard scaling as a natural result of innovation or technical change, it aims to enhance capability to monitor whether scaling emerges and how it evolves: Project brief scaling agrofood sector Wageningen UR

Related to this is an invitation to compose a knowledge agenda on scaling and inclusive business: Scaling Knowledge Agenda

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