CASA highlights investment gap limiting smallholder engagement in commercial markets
In 2022, former British prime minister Tony Blair highlighted the need for a new class of investor to support sustainable food production in an article published in African Business. He cited CABI research, which revealed a $106bn financing gap in agricultural businesses in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness Programme (CASA) aims to address this gap and promote climate resilient food systems. To date, CASA has published over 30 research reports, targeting investors, governments, and donors.
In 2022, an article by former British prime minister Tony Blair stated, “A new class of investor is needed to respond to the demand to sustainably produce, process and distribute nutritious, affordable food.” He went on to highlight a US $106bn financing gap in agricultural businesses in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The article appeared in African Business, one of the most influential business journals in Africa. Blair was citing research commissioned and designed by CABI, as part of its role in the Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness Programme (CASA), which is funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
This investment gap currently prevents an estimated 500 million smallholder farmers from engaging in commercial agriculture. FCDO’s approach is to use demand-led evidence generation as a vehicle for promoting change in investment policy and practice. It has entrusted CABI to lead the work of the CASA programme to make the commercial and development case for investing in agri-businesses that source produce from smallholders. The programme also focuses on promoting climate resilient food systems.
The work of the multidisciplinary CABI team is rooted in a deep understanding of how change happens. The team collaborates with policymakers from government and leading voices from the investor community to identify and address evidence gaps holding back investments.
CASA has published and shared over 30 research reports. The recommendations are targeted at investors, governments, and the international donor community. CASA reports are starting to influence the investment strategies and practice of impact investors.
It can be challenging to put research into action, but CABI is helping to achieve this by focusing on short text and video summaries such as 15-second video snippets for LinkedIn campaigns. Behind every social media post is comprehensive research and often data on CASA’s website.
Sustainable Development Goals
Helping small-scale farmers improve their livelihoods by providing knowledge about plant health and access to markets.
Helping agricultural sector to supply sufficient, safe and nutritious food, embedded in a healthy and climate resilient landscape
CASA aims to drive global investment for inclusive climate-resilient agri-food systems that increase smallholder incomes.
Start: 01/05/2019 End: 31/12/2025