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Written by Siobhan Kelly and Denise Senmartin

The World Cafe session shared experiences from three cases pilot tested under FAO’s business model approach. Discussions at the coffee tables focussed on challenges that each of the pilot cases have been confronted with during implementation and as a result some strategic activities and ideas have been proposed that can be adopted during the last months of the projects. Some ideas proposed have been:

The case of rice in Mali
Should FAO encourage the Federation to get a new loan to be able to increase volume?

  • An upcoming feasibility study needs to focus on understanding if significant improvement in quality can make the business model profitable.

The case of cassava in Zambia
To promote and strengthen the competitiveness of the industrial sector, should FAO and other projects work with commercial farmers in order to satisfy the procurement needs of the industrial buyers?

  • Engagement with commercial farmers should be accompanied by strengthen of district farmer associations in agribusiness skills and contract management to ensure equitable bargaining power.

The case of pistachio in Iran
How can trust and collaboration be stimulated within a supply chain to improve overall
competitiveness and introduce win-win solutions for all chain players?

  • Sharing technology and know-how which stimulates linkages vertically and horizontally in the chain.
  • Implementing rigorous quality control to improve buyers trust in the chain.

The World Café methodology allowed for a dynamic exchange for every participant to express their ideas. The word from some of the them?

“I enjoyed the approach of the World Café. Working for a NGO, I am interested in learning and capturing FAO´s experience as they can reach the policy levels. There is still work to do and the discussion, for example in the Cassava project, can help.” And then, at the stairs “It was my first session like this, I´m an intern at IFAD, so had not much ideas to provide yet but learnt a lot!”

Thanks for the meaningful, inspiring and energetic conversations, even though we forgot the candy!