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Value Addition and Cottage Industry Development in Africa (VACID Africa) is a social enterprise that generates its sustainability from offering services to large or small value chain linked agricultural enterprises. It is the CSR arm of WillPower Enterprise Development, a private sector technology and enterprise incubation company that was retained by  the GoK/UNIDO Programme on Women Enterprise Development Programme, that evolved as an outcome of the Women post-harvest loss management SME development programme. The 2003-2006 GoK/UNIDO programme; was funded by UNDP then supported further in 2007 by CIDA to integrate the gender dimension.  In 2006 VACID Africa was registered to support the upscaling of the agribusiness initiative with a view to replicating the UNIDO capacity building in value chains through a pro-poor orientation. The effort was to later in 2007-2008 supported by UNIDO to make it a network of regional countries and supported by VACID Africa in the East and South African Business countries of Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, and, Eritrea. The combined experience in institutional SME leadership, SME Development, and SME mentoring to adopt best practices in organizational management linked to business-plan based management has inspired the model that VACID Africa uses to create value chains anchored agricultural enterprises.alt

VACID Africa’s foundation on management training, its infusion to entrepreneurship and value chain management as natural elements in sustainable development have further inspired VACID Africa’s creation of a new stream in sustainable agribusiness development that goes beyond value addition of postharvest intervention to the new focus of Agripreneurship, the practice of value chain linked entrepreneurship in agribusiness, inspired by the model depicted in Figure 1.

The efficacy of VACID Africa’s model to integrate value chain thinking to enterprises was tested in a 2007 GIZ transform assignment for the Federation of Agricultural Producers in Kenya. That experience in the new organizational value chains driven thinking and linkage was further adopted by the World Bank/GoK Kenya Agricultural Productivity Programme (KAPP) which sought to use the same modem in the capacity building of the over 100 project service providers for their project. Some critical outcomes of the programme that created VACID Africa was the creation of the departments of Agribusiness in the Ministry of Agriculture and Agroindustry in the Ministry of Industrialization in Kenya are outcomes of VACID Africa’s work. The eventual evaluation of KAPP culminated in the integration of Agribusiness in the succeeding phase to make the project KAPAP in its second cycle.

Value chains backed capacity building continues to guide VACID Africa’s engagement with its development work now centered on the infusion of new innovations such as ICTs to the agricultural sector using farmer owned enterprises. This has attracted youth and women engagement in agriculture, a feat that had beaten smallholder agricultural engagement in Africa. Our work leans heavily on the linkage of ICTs, Agricultural Value Chains and Entrepreneurship.

Our model is private sector leaning which makes is mobilize smallholder stakeholders to join the development ecosystem by creating collectives which fund the value chain enterprises that then link with the supply chain. VACID Africa acts as the knowledge provider in the integration of all value chain actors starting from research where we link with research organizations; then support the delivery of the research outcomes to the consumers of the research in ways that help researchers and community, derive the best benefit.

Many communities are always engaged in their own income generating activities, so as part of our engagement to such, we map suitable value chain-based agribusiness organizations to what they do by integrating such value chain interfaces that they may not have included in their design. We collaborate with the private sector, development organizations, support partners, and governments at county and national level, ICT4D companies, investment organizations, Research organizations, and value chain focused agribusiness enterprises; in a public private perspective using technology solutions whose adoption we champion.

Our Vision
A world where food/nutrition, education/knowledge, and income/wealth are not constraints in the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and micro-entrepreneurs.

Our Mission
To promote agro industries through value chain linked agripreneurship for the self-actualization of individuals and households by linking nutrition, knowledge, income, and technologies through enterprises that are individually or collectively owned by productive resource owners (whether skills or physical resources).

Our Core Values
•    Collaboration
•    Creativity
•    Efficiency
•    Accountability
•    Honesty
•    Empathy

Linking Knowledge, ICTs and Value Chains for Agribusiness Development
altOur activities have culminated in the evolution of the Knowledge and Eateries Hub (KnowEat Hub). The KnowEat Hub, is a value chain aligned agribusiness development concept formulated to support agricultural value chain engagements of smallholder farmers. It is the glue that binds knowledge and eateries to promote aggregation of produce from smallholder farmers. It is VACID Africa’s model of addressing the organization needed to support engagement with value chain actors, normally absent in other development. The framework provides a knowledge driven marketplace for value chain actors, in one or more commodity/value chains, as they generate synergy in their interactions. The KnowEat Hub therefore provides a meeting point for knowledge providers and knowledge seekers, promotes availability of storage space for produce suppliers and buyers as well as access to global internet-based knowledge platforms. Figure 2 presents the Cooperative based KnowEat Hub Agribusiness model created by producers who supply produce to a localized storage space. Digital weighing of the produce ensures transparency and accountability of everything delivered even by an illiterate producer/farmer. VACID Africa supports the producers with the management and linkage processes but the share based KnowEat Hub is an investment of the producers through deductions of what they sell through the market linkage arm of the KnowEat Hub.

As depicted through this model, some of the enterprises that the model supports include ICT4Ag and ICT4D, Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training (ATVET), Cooperative Development and Support, Pro-poor Value Chain Modeling and Support and Training, Technology Adoption and Training, Knowledge Management, Pro-poor Financial Services, Logistics and transportation support, Agroforestry Value Chain Development, Dairy Value Chain Development and Support, Livestock Value Chain Development and Support, Avocado Value chain Development, Mango Value Chain Development and Support, Potato Value Chain Development and Support, and Fish Value Chain Development.

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