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Community Contribution

Let’s Make a Deal: Linking CLA to Partnerships for a More Inclusive Market

Dan Langfitt

The Feed the Future Mozambique Agricultural Innovations Activity (FTF Inova), funded by USAID and implemented since 2017 by DAI and its subcontractors Technoserve, EVI, and MSA, aims to improve the lives of smallholder farmers by stimulating a more inclusive agricultural market. To generate sustainable results and build the self-reliance of the agricultural sector, FTF Inova uses a market systems development (MSD) approach that changes the behaviors of market actors in line with their long-term business interests. Even in a developed market, MSD relies on effective collaboration with the private sector. In a thin market like Mozambique’s, where supporting services are limited, market players few, and trust low, good partnerships are at a premium. FTF Inova needed a way to collaborate with private-sector partners and rapidly exDAI GLobal, LLC periment with and learn from innovations in business practices.

To meet these needs, FTF Inova’s leadership embraced a CLA approach and designed a partnership facility that moves the nexus of its activity design, implementation, and learning away from annual work plans and quarterly portfolio reviews and towards a format and schedule more accessible to private-sector partners, framed in business language, and paced according to their enthusiasm and capabilities. Partnership agreements are co-created and co-owned management tools to which we and our partners have anchored our CLA efforts. Managing CLA through our partnership facility has injected CLA principles into the business mentality of our partners and our own organizational culture. Thanks to our CLA approach, we are able to nimbly react to emergent challenges, firms are beginning to see smallholder farmers as an important customer/supplier base, and new business partnerships—the building blocks of a more self-reliant Mozambican agriculture—are forming in the market system.

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