October is Private Sector Engagement Month on Marketlinks


man standing with farm equipment
Photo Credit: Sylvain Cherkaoui/RTI International

This post was written by Keith Dokho, USAID RFS PSE Secretariat, Team Lead and was originally posted on Agrilinks.org.

During this month on Agrilinks and Marketlinks, USAID looks forward to sharing with readers highlights of our private sector engagement (PSE) strategy, our progress over the last decade, and our vision and goals for the future.

Later this month, we hope to spotlight a few success stories demonstrating how the private sector can co-lead in our development efforts, notably in the agricultural sector.

For now, here is a brief introduction of who we are and what we do:

We know that strong and vibrant small and medium enterprises (SMEs) — especially those led by youth and women — are vital for sustainable agriculture, food systems, and economies worldwide.

USAID partners with the private sector to commercialize technologies, such as small-scale irrigation systems, and improve inputs, including seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides. We also strengthen inclusive agricultural growth by supporting government policies that incentivize farmers and increase private sector investments. For example, in Georgia, our partnerships with the private sector contributed to a 37% increase in the country’s hazelnut harvest in 2020 and provided an important stream of income for over 40,000 farmers. To learn more about how USAID and the private sector collaborate to create win-win solutions, we invite you to check out our brochure and videos, where you can learn in detail about how our private sector partnerships help farmers supply restaurants and protect Georgia’s crops from pests.

Through Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative led by USAID, we are focusing on increasing growth in the agriculture sector to end hunger and malnutrition, attracting private investment and creating jobs.

A robust private sector is critical for advancing and sustaining inclusive, agriculture-led economic growth and nourishing populations. Feed the Future has a strong track record of engaging the private sector to modernize and transform food systems in the places where we work. For instance, in Ghana, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss has partnered with the local company, Sesi Technologies, to manufacture and sell a low-cost moisture meter called GrainMate to farmers, food processing companies, extension agents, and aggregators in the local market. Through this partnership, Sesi Technologies adopted and scaled the original prototype for the local market and developed relationships with Ghanaian businesses to source parts locally instead of from abroad, which created more jobs in the country. Between 2018 and 2021, the company has delivered products and services that have impacted the lives of more than 2,000 farmers and agribusinesses in Ghana and beyond. Sesi Technology has grown from a one-person team to more than 12 passionate young people working to create a better life for farmers through technology.

Feed the Future works hand-in-hand with the private sector to design, create and finance solutions that reduce poverty, fight hunger and improve nutrition across the globe. Our private sector partners are thought-leaders who bring market access, cutting-edge business practices and innovative insights to the development table. By collaborating with the private sector, Feed the Future helps entrepreneurs, especially SMEs, and local business owners generate income and opportunity in their communities. These “win-win” partnerships advance the impact of sustainable development, foster private sector-led growth in emerging markets and are fundamental to reducing poverty, fighting hunger, and improving nutrition across the globe.

We look forward to interacting with the Agrilinks and Marketlinks communities all during Private Sector Engagement Month. We are eager to hear (and learn) from you, so please add to the conversation this month by submitting content about PSE!