Growing prosperity: An overview

Agricultural innovations can transform the lives of many of the 2.5 billion people living on less than $4 a day and relying on agriculture for their livelihoods. Many of these innovations are provided by pioneer firms—entrepreneurial companies that develop and offer market-based innovations to serve the poor in places where governments and traditional aid have fallen short. But what does it take for these companies to reach hundreds of thousands or millions of smallholder farmers? In Growing Prosperity, Bain & Company and Acumen outline what is needed to spur the large-scale adoption of agricultural innovations among smallholder farmers. READ THE OVERVIEW

CHAPTERS

CHAPTER 1

A starting point: On the path to prosperity

This chapter focuses on why smallholder farmers matter and why it is so important to address the challenges faced by pioneer firms in serving them. We introduce 11 pioneer firms that are developing innovative products and services to increase smallholder productivity and incomes. READ CHAPTER 1

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CHAPTER 2

Why farmers adopt: A focus on the Four A's

This chapter outlines findings from the primary research we conducted to understand the farmer from the perspective of the pioneer firm. We interviewed more than 320 smallholder farmers across four countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with the aim of identifying the common factors that promote farmers’ adoption of an innovation. These conversations informed the articulation of the Four A’s as the main drivers for smallholder adoption of agricultural innovations. We describe each in detail and discuss how farmers experience them. READ CHAPTER 2

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CHAPTER 3

Promoting adoption: Challenges and opportunities

This chapter addresses the Four A’s from the perspective of the pioneer firm, offering concrete examples of how firms are ensuring each driver is in place. Though the framework may seem familiar to some, we believe there is great value in the detailed review of the instances of ingenuity shown as particular pioneer firms have harnessed these drivers to overcome the unique obstacles inherent in developing-market agriculture to deliver value to smallholder farmers. READ CHAPTER 3

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CHAPTER 4

Repeatable Models: The key to achieving "good scale"

This chapter discusses in detail the elements of Repeatable Models, which are key to pioneer firms’ ability to achieve sustainable growth and encourage mass adoption. We profile three companies that are building their own Repeatable Models to ensure the Four A’s are in place as they grow, putting them on the path to "good scale." We also offer a cautionary tale of a firm caught in a "bad scale trap." READ CHAPTER 4

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CHAPTER 5

Market systems: Implications for other actors

This chapter takes a broader view of the agricultural market system and how it affects adoption and firms’ successes. We consider how the system may affect the performance of the Four A’s, in addition to the ease with which a firm implements and scales its business model. We outline the specific actions that corporations, foundations and development agencies, investors, NGOs and governments can take to support both the firms that provide the solutions and the farmers they benefit. READ CHAPTER 5

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CHAPTER 6

The long view: Why growing prosperity matters more than ever

In this final chapter, we address three interrelated issues when considering the long-term investments in smallholder agriculture: urbanization, demographic change and farm size and climate change. READ CHAPTER 6

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