Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness Programme

The project aims to involve smallholder farmer businesses sustainably in agricultural value chains, thereby improving their living conditions and economic situation. By building inclusive agricultural systems, smallholder farmers will have improved access to markets, information, and means of production. Additionally, the project emphasizes improving food security and gender equity. It also implements measures to tackle the effects of climate change.

Farmer businesses in Nepal, Uganda and Malawi face a number of challenges

Downward price pressures, the rising cost of living and climate change, together with harvest losses, structural problems, and low development lead to low productivity. Businesses and organisations lack adequate access to technical support, market information, new technologies, and technical skills for post-harvest handling and marketing.

Smaller agribusinesses, on the other hand, have barely any experience working with other market actors in their value chain. Access to finance for them is a great challenge, as is improving their internal business management, expanding commercial relations with smallholder farmers, and attracting the right investors for their business profile.

Furthermore, interest groups, political decision-makers, and regulatory authorities need support identifying and implementing reforms that would benefit smallholder farmer businesses and mid-sized agribusinesses.

lilongwe, Malawi
swisscontact nepal
Ntungamo, Uganda
Isingiro, Uganda
Kabale, Uganda
Kyotera, Uganda
Mubende, Uganda
Northern Uganda
Malawi, Nepal, Uganda
Project duration
2019 - 2023
Financed by
  • Department for International Development (DFID)

The project

The CASA project helps all participants gain knowledge of the market in order to improve their interaction with each other, on both the supply and demand sides within the value chain. In this way, everyone gets to participate in the market – be it as consumers, producers, or employees. In the end, they will be able to improve their living conditions. The project fosters the competitiveness of SMEs and sustainable economic growth.

The project’s target groups include smallholder farmers, farmer organisations, mid-sized agribusinesses, suppliers of agromachinery and services, commercial investors, regulatory authorities, and political decision-makers in both donor and beneficiary countries.

The CASA project focuses on specific value chains, which differ depending on the country:

  • Malawi: poultry and fish farming
  • Uganda: sesame and beans
  • Nepal: dairy and vegetables


Expected Results

  • Project activities reach 565,000 smallholder farmers (50% women) each year, helping them to increase their incomes.
  • Uplift incomes of farmers who have been involved in the project interventions to approximately CHF 105 per year.
  • Additionally, it is expected that more than 5 million Swiss francs in investments will be mobilised from third parties for the benefit of smallholder farmer businesses.

Project partners

Implementing Partners

  • NIRAS Development Consulting (Lead agency)

Subcontracted Partners

  • The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI)
  • LTS International (who recently merged with NIRAS)
  • TechnoServe


Results 2019

  • After the project inception phase was completed in September 2019, the implementation phase began immediately.
  • Sector analysis research completed across the six value chains – sesame and beans in Uganda, poultry and aquaculture in Malawi and dairy and vegetables in Nepal. Sector strategy reports were prepared, and potential partners and intervention areas were identified.
  • Swisscontact initiated the Inclusive Systems Development process and played a major role in training the implementation teams on the approach, backstopping them throughout the project design and thought partnership process.


Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Swisscontact and Social Welfare Council signs project agreement for Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness programme
Swisscontact and The Social Welfare Council signed a project agreement on 26th February 2021 to implement the Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA) programme in Nepal.
Sustainable agriculture
Increasing investment and finance opportunities for smallholders and agribusinesses in Nepal
The agriculture sector contributed 32% towards GDP in 2016 and is declining, compared with industry and service sectors which contributed 14% and 54% respectively. While there have been developments in infrastructure, energy, manufacturing and service sectors; agriculture still remains as one of the most important sectors of the country accounting for 68% of employment (ILO) and provides a significant share of exports. 
Swisscontact Nepal Signs MoU with Business Oxygen Pvt. Ltd (BO2)
Swisscontact Nepal on 4th July, 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Business Oxygen Private Limited (BO2) to establish a working relationship between the two organizations. As per the understanding both will share information, portfolio and collaborate with potential identified partners.