The Commercial Agriculture Support Services (CASS), is an initiative launched in 2017 and spearheaded by private sectors actors in agriculture to their interests across several value chains in Malawi. CASS has positioned itself as the mechanism for inclusive private and public sector dialogue and the development of Malawi’s agriculture sector.
As a multi-stakeholder platform, it is solely focused on commercialization of agriculture therefore filling up an important space in the agriculture agenda where the promotion of crop yield, diversification, private sector engagement and corresponding policy development, making farming a business and financial access are given the correct attention as key components to agriculture transformation.
CASS works to strengthen the competitiveness of commercial agriculture and the agro-processing sector by supporting market driven agro-enterprises using the value chain approach for specific commodity groups. Initially CASS will earmark and support seven value chain groups and these are:
- The grains value Chain which includes Maize, Rice, Wheat & Sorghum
- The Pulses & Oilseeds Values Chain – Which includes Groundnuts, Beans, Soya, Cow Peas, Pigeons Peas, Sunflower & Cotton.
- Fruits Trees and Horticultural Crops Value Chains
- The Irish Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Cassava and other tuber Value Chains
- The Livestock Value Chain (Beef, Dairy, Pig, Goat, Sheep, Poultry)
- The Agricultural Seed Production Value Chain
- The Plantation Crops Value Chains (Sugarcane, Pineapple, Macadamia Nuts)
Through these selected values chains, CASS Trust will identify the constraints, the actors and develop a strategic action plan for each value chain to improve efficiency, effectiveness and competitiveness through technical and financial support.
Additionally, the group focuses on value-chain issues requiring collaboration by different stakeholder groups and value chain players, including:
- Effective response to critical issues affecting the small and medium farmers who are already or are planning to be engaged in agriculture commercialization
- Establish priorities amidst the range of possible interventions in the agriculture sector and to make choices on what to do and what not to do
The work of the platform hinges on four impact pillars that include:
- Economic Pillarseeks to commercialize small and medium scale (0.5 – 20 ha) farmers, particularly women and the youth to become bankable agribusinesses that have: access to affordable finance, entrepreneurial skills; access or linkages to profitable markets
- Social Pillarseeks to coordinate agribusiness engagement among all stakeholders in the agriculture sector by providing an independent multistakeholder platform with shared goals and objectives
- Institutional Pillarseeks to capacitate CASS to fulfil its vision mission, and implement its strategies efficaciously through institutional capacity building and sustainable resource mobilisation for all critical stakeholders involved in the aagricultural transformation drive.
- Technology Pillarseeks to leverage on innovation & emerging technologies as enablers of sustainable agricultural transformation and commercialization.