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.
swisscontact nepal
Nepal, Rwanda, Ethiopia
Project duration
2019 - 2024
Financed by
  • Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)

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, 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:

  • Rwanda – vegetables, aquaculture and poultry
  • Ethiopia – tomatoes and wheat
  • 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


Sustainable agriculture, Entrepreneurial ecosystems, Labour market insertion, Initial vocational education and training
Women’s Economic Empowerment Leads to Stability and Equity
Every year on March 8, we globally celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) to highlight women’s achievements and shed light on the importance of equity. This year, IWD’s slogan is #EmbraceEquity, aiming to question why and how equality is not enough and just.  
Sustainable agriculture
Five Steps that Help Bring Climate-smart Agriculture to Smallholder Farmers: Case Notes from Nepal
Climate change has directly affected the food production system, creating scarcity or loss of food. The Asian Development Bank suggests that Nepal will likely lose 2.2.% of its annual GDP due to climate change by 2050. Farmers are finding it hard to plan and manage production due to changing crop patterns.
Sustainable agriculture
CASA’s Agriculture Market Responses to the Global Food Security and Fertilizer Crisis 
CASA is a six-year programme (2019-2024) funded by FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office UK) to increase economic opportunities for smallholder farmers by demonstrating the commercial viability of businesses with significant smallholder supply chains, and by attracting more investment into the sector. CASA is managed by the development consulting agency NIRAS in partnership with Swisscontact and CABI (The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International), and works in Nepal, Malawi, Rwanda and Ethiopia.