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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Building Foundations: LINK Methodology Implementation in Haiti

Catholic Relief Services meets with CIAT’s Alexandra Amrein in Les Cayes, Haiti.

Catholic Relief Services meets with CIAT’s Alexandra Amrein in Les Cayes, Haiti.

From March 11 to 13, CIAT’s Alexandra Amrein, visiting researcher with DAPA’s Linking Farmers to Markets team, traveled to Les Cayes, Haiti to conduct a training workshop on LINK Methodology. The tool, which was developed by CIAT to design, implement and evaluate inclusive business relationships, has so far been applied in different regions, including Nicaragua, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Ethiopia.  This particular workshop aimed to familiarize and train Catholic Relief Services staff located in Haiti.

Goals of the workshop included:

  1. Present LINK’s theory of change
  2. Train CRS staff on the LINK Methodology
  3. Identify specific cases to apply LINK
  4. Develop a work plan for the implementation of LINK
  5. Define participation in Central American Learning Alliance

Over the duration of the workshop, Alexandra led participants through LINK’s four tools:

  1. Tool 1: The value chain map
  2. Tool 2: The business model canvas
  3. Tool 3: The New Business Model Principles
  4. Tool 4: The prototype cycle

These four tools are vital to unlocking and understanding the links that arise between smallholder producers and formal markets. Even though 85 percent of the world’s farms are managed by small-scale producers, agribusiness largely ignores this, instead focusing development resources on large-scale suppliers and excluding smaller scale actors from modern channels. This leads to an increased perception of high risks and costs associated with purchasing from multiple and dispersed producers, when such risks and costs are actually quite manageable if adequate approaches are used to close the gap between the opposing views of agribusiness and smallholder farmers. Such a convergence requires adapted practices that govern the relationship between sellers and buyer. LINK Methodology suggests a set of six principles for inclusive trading relationships:

  1. Collaboration between actors
  2. Effective markets linkages
  3. Fair and transparent governance
  4. Equitable access to services
  5. Inclusive innovation
  6. Measuring of results

By strengthening farmer’s skills and capacities to become better business partners, while integrating private sector actors in the process to promote transparency and an enabling environment, capable farmers and willing buyers can establish both durable and profitable trading relationships. With the help of CIAT, Catholic Relief Services can adapt LINK Methodology and indicators to best suit their goals and situation.

LINK Methodology has the potential to be applied with the help of Catholic Relief Services in Haiti in the coffee, mango and corn industries, adding on to a previous project led by CIAT’s Linking Farmer to Markets team in Haiti in which a profound study of the mango and coffee value chains was conducted.

In the future, CIAT’s Linking Farmers to Markets team aims to more closely collaborate with actors in Haiti. The inclusion of CRS Haiti in the Central American Learning Alliance could be a first step towards building this relationship.

In addition to local Catholic Relief Services staff, the workshop participants included actors from local mango (ASPEF) and coffee (COCAC) organizations as well as representatives of the Agricultural Trade Department (DDAS) and a local development organization (DCCH).

The Methodology is available both in English (Download English version) and Spanish (Download Spanish Version).We invite you to help us test this version in the field to adapt and improve the tool. If you would like to implement our methodology we strongly encourage you to contact us in order to explore how CIAT can engage with you organization. For input or feedback, please use our feedback form.


Related Articles:

LINKing Smallholders: A guide on inclusive business models

LINK Methodology among Top Picks 2012

VECO Andino implementará la metodología LINK

Collaboration for Inclusiveness: Learning Alliances in Central America

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