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
Resilient agriculture as the basis for poverty alleviation
Around 80 percent of the poorest of the poor around the globe live in rural areas. In many developing countries, food security and progressive rural development face constant challenges. Climate change and other crises are increasingly endangering agricultural production and the food supply. Swisscontact is working around the world for a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient agricultural sector, because this forms the basis for rural development and poverty alleviation.
Sustainable agriculture
Mainstreaming GESI: Lesson Learnt from CASA
Nepal is predominantly an agrarian economy with over 74 percent of women involved in agriculture sector, as indicated by the data from The World Bank. However, despite their significant representation, women in Nepal face barriers that hinder their ability to become the market actors in the Agri-sector which primarily stems from their limited access to resources and opportunities. As a result, it is imperative to prioritise gender consideration into agriculture as a means to address this issue effectively.   
Sustainable agriculture
Cost Cutting through Energy Saving for SMEs
According to Climate Watch and the World Resources Institute, the Global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in 2016 were 49.4 billion tonnes of CO2 and the agriculture sector accounted for about 14.3% of it. A study carried out by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2010 estimates the global dairy sector is responsible for 2.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is important to find ways to reduce GHG emissions to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement which aims to limit global warming to 1.5°C and requires countries like Nepal to report transparently on actions taken and progress in climate change adaptation and mitigation.