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The problem

Lack of skills and access to capital are major challenges facing small and growing agribusinesses (SGBs) in eastern Africa. Many rural SGBs have modest financing needs, low returns on capital and are perceived as working in a high-risk sector, which means they find it difficult to access finance from formal institutions.

Most are livelihood-sustaining enterprises that have steady but modest upward growth and a few core employees outside of the immediate family. Due to this, there is often a gap in their technical knowledge and business skills, and lack of effective governance structures or competent management standards.

In order to access credit, businesses need to provide financial institutions with financial statements to determine their eligibility. Lack of training in business skills means that often, agribusinesses are unable to provide this, limiting their ability to access wider markets.


With support from the Vitol Foundation, Farm Africa has established Cultivate, a regional business development services (BDS) unit based in Kenya.

Drawing on Farm Africa’s experience of analysing value chains and supporting first-mile agribusinesses, Cultivate works with start-up and early-stage businesses that have a $20,000 - $1million turnover in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, providing them with tailored business development support and training using scalable online delivery mechanisms.

Cultivate’s goal is to increase demand and facilitate the supply of appropriate business development services to rural SGBs across eastern Africa. The unit will help businesses implement improved business and technical practices, supporting them to develop an effective business strategy, boost their productivity and production, meet commodity standards and improve marketing operations and market access.

Through Cultivate’s online business skills trainings and technical advisory support, SGBs will be able to identify risks and opportunities, conduct market and opportunities analysis, foster business resilience and improve their pricing, costing and profitability for sustainable growth.

Over the medium to long-term, Cultivate will seek to commercialise its services to increase its reach regionally and to establish itself in the business development service sector.

Who are we working with?

Cultivate unit is funded by the Vitol Foundation. The unit works with early stage rural and growing agribusinesses that have an annual revenue of $20,000 to $50,000, or those at the growth stage with an annual revenue of $50,000 and above, and have been in operation for at least two years in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. 

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