GROW: The CASA Newsletter Issue 3 | March 2022

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Welcome to Grow, the newsletter from CASA, the Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA) Programme.

CASA is the UKAID funded programme making the case for climate-smart agriculture investments, and sourcing from smallholder farmers, especially in Africa and Asia. Our programme is shaped through our regular consultations with investors, investment authorities, consultants and intermediaries.

CASA’s current offer includes:

  • Research evidence – nearly 400 reports helping investors make informed decisions
  • CASA AID [Agricultural Investment Database] – 300 investors by investment sectors, type of investment and ticket ranges and UK Aid agricultural investments. Do you want to see what the investment landscape looks like in a specific country? Just go to the landing page. Want to know about investors? Just go to the investor database. Want to know about FCDO’s investments? Just go to the donor database
  • CASA 4x4s – There are six CASA 4x4s. This handy directory summarizes all 24 four-minute video investor briefings
  • CASA Investor Summits – facilitated conversations between agri-businesses and producers, investors and national investment authorities to help to refresh policies
  • CASA Technical assistance and in-country programmes
  • News updates, progress reports and lessons

Policy watch: Tightening environmental legislation for investors in the ASEAN region

​​​​​​At the Asian Agriculture Climate Finance Summit in November, Erin Sweeney of GROW ASIA, outlined the ten principles established by the ASEAN Heads of State to balance the rights and interests of different stakeholders and create a reference point for all future investment.

These countries are increasingly moving from voluntary codes of practice into legal frameworks. Investors seeking further information should refer to the ASEAN Responsible Investment in Agriculture (RIA) guidelines and recently published taxonomy. Alternatively, they can contact Grow Asia, which is supporting investors to work within the new guidelines whilst showcasing successful investments in inclusive and sustainable agriculture.

Agriculture Climate Finance Investors explore the themes

CASA is pleased to share the presentations made at the Asian Agriculture Climate Finance Summit. These four 4-minute films are a timely summary of the priorities investors identified in response to the UK-Aid priority agenda areas:

The Asian Agriculture Climate Finance Summit was designed and developed in partnership with Grow Asia and investors in the region ​​​​

CASA 4×4: 4 viewpoints each expressed in 4 minutes

This month we are celebrating our first six months of 4×4, encouraging you to watch films you haven’t seen and share them with colleagues. The 4x4s are short briefings based on expert viewpoints, usually centred on original research by CASA or our partners.

Digital communication supporting agri-investors

CASA’s plans for 2022 involve the launch of new digital services. CASA Agriculture Investment Database (CASA AID) aims to be one of the most comprehensive free databases of agricultural investments worldwide. See how we have been leading the way with online content in the agro-investor space.

Investor dialogues reshape agricultural investment strategies in Africa

Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) described the five-point plan announced at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in September as ‘a process of fast evolution of support services’. Paul Kyalimpa, Deputy Director Generalof UIA explains “The plan has been evolving for some time and started from a change meeting with CASA at the AGRF in 2019. We found in CASA a shared agenda to encourage investors”. He continued “We sensed we needed to understand more about what roadblocks were stopping investments being made.”

The Uganda Agriculture Investment Summit brought stakeholders eager to explore how policy and practice changes could open-up investment in agriculture in Uganda. Prior to the summit, CASA recruited investor champions to be represent the views of the working groups at the summit. David Wangolo of Pearl Capital was the investor champion for forms of capital; Mahmood Hudda, Mairye Estate Uganda, covered enabling environments; and Jasmin Hidanovic, AgDevCo, oversaw the technical assistance group.

Five commitments to encourage investment in Uganda:
1. Make agricultural finance more accessible to SMEs and smallholders
2. Increase public investment in market enhancing infrastructure 
3. Develop and enforce quality standards for agriculture production
4. Produce a database of small-scale agri-businesses and farmer groups
5. Promote the investment one-stop centre

Alvaro Valverde of CASA stated “we are proud to have played a part in the process that resulted in this plan. We have every confidence that the highly skilled team from the Ugandan Investment Authority will deliver on all five points. CASA stands poised to help in any way we can.’

The summit was delivered in partnership with the Uganda Investment Authority, AGRA.

Investor dialogues in Asia

‘The success of the Uganda Agriculture Investment Summit has created a lot of interest which will see the investor/government dialogues happening in other countries,’ explains Alvaro Valverde of CASA. ‘We are in the process of planning our first summit in South Asia, building on the two years of work on dairy and vegetable value chains in Nepal.’ Once again the agenda will be led by the investors but climate finance and simplification of the investment rules in the country are already being flagged as likely areas for dialogue.’

The Nepal Agricultural Investor Summit will take place in late 2022 and is expected to be a blended event, with both in-person and pre-event on-line consultations.

Six of the best: Quick Reads to expand your knowledge…

Here are six executive summaries drawn from CASA’s research, run to just 20-pages.

The Underserved Middle 
Defining excluded enterprises in agricultural value chains
Private finance investment opportunities in climate-smart agriculture technologies
Executive summary
​​​​​​Information and Communication Technologies 
For improving investment readiness of small and medium agribusiness
The development impact of concessional finance to agri-business 
A rapid evidence review
Bridging demand and supply of private investment capital 
For small and medium agribusinesses
Effectiveness of agri-business incubation 
In emerging markets 

Join the conversation …
Visit the CASA website – usage increased by 50% in 2021
Visit the CASA YouTube channel – viewing figures increased by 110% last year
Follow CASA on LinkedIn followers increased by 60% in the past 6 months

View the CASA Newsletter archive

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