On 17 and 18 of September, an introductory training session to the LINK methodology was held at the Agricultural Genetic Institute (AGI) in Hanoi, Vietnam. The LINK methodology has been shaped to design, implement and evaluate inclusive business models in a participatory way. An updated version, the LINK methodology 2.0, was released by CIAT in November 2014, after two years of testing and improvement in the field, in various locations in Latin America and Africa.
The course was run by Mark Lundy, CIAT’s Agro-enterprise Development Specialist, assisted by Brice Even, CIAT Asia’s Market Access Specialist and Pham Thi Mai Huong, CIAT Asia’s Economics and Marketing Specialist. Twenty-five participants attended the course, including representatives of international NGOs such as VECO, SNV, Oxfam and Heifer International, as well as researchers from Vietnamese research institutes such as CASRAD (Center for Agrarian Systems Research and Development), IPSARD (Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development), and FAVRI (Fruits and Vegetables Research Institute).
The aim of this training session was to familiarize local partners with the key steps and tools of the method, so they can apply the methodology in the field with farmers and other value chain stakeholders. Key concepts were introduced as well as four key tools designed to implement and conclude a participative innovation process in the interactive “design-test-check-act” cycle. The course was run in a participatory way with exercises and working groups; each group working on a specific value chain.
Using the set of methodology tools, participants mapped value chains and their related business models, to assess their inclusivity and design interventions to make them more inclusive and sustainable over time.
This enabled us to show the versatility of the methodology, which can be used to assess a well-structured value chain with formal buyers and thousands of producers organized in cooperatives, such as tea and dairy value chains in Vietnam. Or informal value chains, with many intermediary actors and fewer working individually, such as an indigenous pig value chains in the remote North of Vietnam.
This training session was part of a broader CIAT initiative to build Learning Alliances, which bridge research and development agendas. The aim is to unite researchers, development practitioners, the private sector and policy makers in a common learning cycle, in which research results are used, tested and refined to improve knowledge and practices, and overall achieve greater impact at scale.
Download a toolkit of the LINK methodology