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Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA)

CASA aims to drive global investment in climate-resilient agri-food systems that increases smallholder incomes. The programme makes the case for increased agribusiness investment by demonstrating the commercial and development potential of sourcing models involving empowered smallholder producers and by tackling the information and evidence gaps holding back investment.

Project Overview

So, what’s the problem

There are an estimated 500m smallholder farmer currently not engaging in commercial agriculture. This is being further prevented by a $106bn financing gap in agricultural businesses in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) believes in the power of on-demand evidence generation as a vehicle for promoting changes in investment policy and practice.

It has entrusted CABI and its partners to lead the CASA (Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness) work programme on making the commercial and development case for investing in agri-businesses that source produce from smallholders. The programme also has a focus on promoting climate resilient food systems

What is this project doing?

The CASA programme makes the commercial and development case for investing in agribusinesses that source produce from smallholders. It does this by demonstrating how this can be done effectively, by bridging evidence gaps and by ensuring investors and policymakers have access to the right information and people to make inclusive agribusiness models succeed.

CASA consists of three components:

Research, Communication and Events (led by CABI and Niras)

CASA provides on-demand research services to close the Agri-SME finance gap in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia, while mobilising climate finance for promoting resilience of food systems.

CASA combines the evidence it generates with innovative and agile development communications, to influence and inform change of policies and behaviours of donors, policymakers and investors, channelling more finance into the sector.

This unique and dual approach has received cross-industry recognition for being highly successful in shaping the debate on smallholder agriculture and the promotion of climate finance for adaptation.

With the aim of maximizing additionality, CASA has partnered with investment networks and key development actors to develop a one-entry point database for accessing information about existing investors, technical assistance providers, investment ready agribusinesses and FCDO’s commercial agriculture programmes, which upon publication will facilitate synergies between investors and reduce origination times for finding new agri-SME deals.

CASA Market Systems Development (led by Niras, Swisscontact)

The Market Systems Development Component provides technical assistance to improve knowledge, operations and capacity to improve productivity and market connections. Focus countries are: Ethiopia, Malawi, Nepal, Rwanda and Uganda.

CASA Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) team (led by Technoserve)

This team builds the case for inclusive investment which is responsive to the climate crisis. It does this through the development of practical tools, sharing exemplars, commissioning and collating databases and evidence.


CABI’s work on research, communications and events on the CASA programme has so far resulted in:

  • 44 events where CASA exchanged information with policymakers, donors, agribusinesses and capital providers
  • 27 research outputs and 17 additional publications
  • 20 policy decisions by governments, investors and investor networks influenced in favour of Agri-SME investing and climate finance for adaptation

To find out more visit

Project Manager

Alvaro Valverde

Private Sector Engagement Manager (CABI) & Engagement, Learning & Communication Lead (CASA)

Stories of impact

CASA highlights investment gap limiting smallholder engagement in commercial markets

View Impact Story