4Ps in East Africa

Piet Visser

One of the concepts most commonly discussed in value-chain development projects is that of the 4Ps: the Public, Private, Producer Partnerships. This refers to the strong cooperation arrangements between a government, business agents and small-scale producers, who agree to work together to reach a common goal or carry out a specific task while jointly assuming risks and responsibilities, and sharing benefits, resources and competencies. A 4P arrangement ideally serves multiple development objectives. For example, it can be a mechanism to include a specific target group in value chains led by private companies. Private investment can also facilitate access to markets, technical assistance, knowledge, technology and capital. Finally, intensification of production and development of value chains can generate significant employment opportunities.

In most cases, such an arrangement shows a few key characteristics: Private-sector involvement is planned early on so that it becomes part of the project design and implementation, and partnership results are systematically monitored and evaluated as part of the project’s results framework. To the extent possible and relevant, the private-sector partner is selected through a competitive or rigorous selection process that ensures transparency and objectivity, and meets the project’s social, economic and environmental objectives.

On the other hand, producers play an active role in the negotiations and partnership arrangements (both formal and informal), governance and monitoring. A 4P setup is a true partnership in which each partner has clear roles and responsibilities, and shares risks and benefits. Private-sector partners are expected to allocate matching financial resources. Linking with the private sector through a 4P ensures that interventions are sustained beyond the project lifetime because they follow business logic and all involved parties benefit. A 4P should be seen as an entry point to scaling up project results through private-sector investment.

Learning from experience
Supporting many different value-chain projects in East and Southern Africa, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) wanted to start a process, which would help draw lessons from the different initiatives running in the region. With this in mind, up to 30 representatives of the IFAD-supported projects in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda joined the workshops organised by CTA and started an experience capitalization process. Their objective was to describe and analyse a few cases, and to draw lessons, which would help improve and upscale the results already seen in the field.

The following pages show some of the results of this initiative. The 12 cases which were selected represent a large diversity (covering maize, rice, beans, sunflowers, potatoes, tomatoes, dairy, tea, cassava, bananas and garlic value chains) but they all show some of the key elements in a 4P arrangement. In the majority of the cases, it is the staff from the Ministry of Agriculture who facilitates the process, although in some cases this is taken up by better-equipped private sector consultants. Two projects applied a cluster approach and the establishment of innovation platforms, involving private sector agribusinesses from the start, while others describe a much broader spectrum, with a larger participation of the private sector later in the process. Other cases show a vertical integration of the value chain functions by farmer organisations themselves.

The majority of the cases included here, as those in other countries and regions show a more traditional intervention, focusing on the provision of inputs and on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) services involving farmer organisations. It is only the more advanced cases, such as the soya, maize and potatoes projects in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda (respectively) that show stronger market linkages with private-sector agribusinesses. This is explained by the fact that these different projects have only been running for a short time, and that further developments are expected – especially in relation to the specific role of producers in the negotiations and in the establishment of partnership arrangements with agribusiness. But experience has also shown that strong linkages have the potential to be sustained beyond the lifetime of a project, and that many benefits are seen after a project has concluded. This is only the beginning!

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CTA is a joint institution operating under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement between the ACP Group of States (Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific) and the EU Member States (European Union). CTA is funded by the European Union.