How we can increase impact in 2024

In this Issue


AMEA Convening 2024: 21 -22 October (Delft, the Netherlands)

AgTech exchange with Samunnati: 25 January 2024

Toolbox Working Group meeting: 15 February 2024

in case you missed it

from your director

We launched the AMEA 2030 Strategy in October 2022. This Strategy aims to influence BDS markets such that 50 million farmers are receiving improved, coordinated business development services by 2030; and this enables their Farmer Organizations and Agri-SMEs to create added value for them. We also expect 20 Local Networks by 2030.

The signs are promising. There has been good progress with over 20 members and partners using AMEA Tools to reach over 2.6 million farmers from 2020 to 2022. The majority of these farmers have either benefited from IFC’s Agribusiness Leadership Program or iCRA’s AgriBusiness Cluster approach. In both cases there is a significant and growing evidence base of impact; and in both cases these approaches are evolving fast. 2024 will therefore be an exciting year to support members and partners to access, use, adapt, test and learn from using AMEA tools. We also expect expansion in use and testing of tools (which were supported by the AMEA Tool Improvement Facility).

There is also good progress on Local Network expansion with Benin opening and progress with Rwanda, Tanzania and Ghana. AMEA work in India has also started through NAFPO. It is therefore possible that AMEA will have 10 Local Networks by the end of 2024.

AMEA’s work in these countries is framed by the BDS Roadmaps which enable stakeholders to strategically think through how BDS markets can function better; develop synergies between existing projects; and develop new projects to address the critical constraints. These Roadmaps are ambitious but if members and partners commit then there is significant strength in our numbers. This is how we can increase impact in 2024 and in the following years.

This is the theme of our first newsletter of the year. You will find reflections on 2023, plans for 2024 which have been co-created with you and opportunities for you to engage. Please take time to think about what you or your teams could do; and then let’s talk!

network expansion

The Local Networks are at the heart of AMEA’s work and our country-level BDS roadmaps (read more below) bring member and partner initiatives together to change BDS market systems.

We expanded in 2023 with the launch of the Benin Local Network with the support of the Dutch Embassy for the first 2 years. We will therefore be focusing in 2024 on ensuring the sustainability of this Local Network following the end of the grant financing.

We made significant progress on developing Rwanda, Tanzania and Ghana Local Networks and expect all of these to start officially by June 2024. We were especially happy to have the support of our new Board Member, Edmond Ringo for the work in Tanzania. We also supported members to be part of the National Association of Farmer Producer Organizations (NAFPO) Conference in India. Please inform all of your Country Teams of the opportunity to be part of these new Local Networks or collaborations.

We also conducted an evaluation of our Peru Local Network and agreed to close the Network. We will continue to collaborate with members in Peru, especially on standardization and case studies but this will now be on a more ad hoc, bilateral basis. In contrast we also completed an evaluation of the Honduras Local Network and found members to be very enthusiastic to continue, and FUNDER will start as the new Local Network lead in 2024

The vibrancy of these Networks is driven by our members; and in 2023, we welcomed five new members: RICEM, Agriterra, AgNexus, the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) and Farm Africa. 

As of 1 January 2024. We also have a new Local Network membership tier which will target innovative local organizations who want to change BDS markets in their country. Our aim is to grow our Network from 30 members to 70 members.


A vibrant Network also involves each member finding opportunities to contribute to the Network. We highlight below the opportunities in 2024 for collaboration, learning and action. If you don’t find something you are interested in then let’s talk and understand what you do want to do.

Roadmaps for sustainable and scalable BDS

AMEA considers the development of sustainable, inclusive, and cost-effective BDS as critical for agricultural system transformation. In 2023, AMEA supported the creation of draft BDS Roadmaps in Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast and Honduras. Kenya will start the process to develop a BDS Roadmap in early 2024 and there will be preliminary work in Rwanda and Tanzania as part of the Local Network formation process.
If you would like to contribute to our Roadmap work, contact your Network Facilitator.
These Roadmaps have a number of actions in common and also present opportunities for members and partners to engage. These are described below.

Formation of BDS Associations


In most countries BDS providers see the value in collaboration and want a sustainable Association that can lobby on their behalf. AMEA and GIZ supported the formation of the Ethiopia Business Advisory Service Providers Association in 2023. Similar efforts are expected to be taken forward in other countries during 2024 and there will be a strong link to the work on BDS Provider Accreditation Systems.


Development of Database and Accreditation Systems


GIZ worked with AMEA Ethiopia to develop a BDS database and the accreditation system is still under development. AMEA Uganda also signed an MOU with UFAAS who work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal, Industries and Fisheries on extension policy, which includes a database and accreditation system. There is also an accreditation system led by Private Sector Foundation Uganda based on the National BDS Standards. AMEA also supported the improvement of the BDS provider database and accreditation system in Benin.


All of these initiatives are work in progress and will need significant support to ensure they have a positive impact on BDS markets. This is an opportunity for members and partners to engage and bring their knowledge and experience.

Towards an International Standard

Accreditation systems will be stronger if there is commitment to use standardized data to measure the effectiveness of BDS, and stimulate the improvement of these services. As you know AMEA began the International Standard process in 2017 and the IWA29 was published in 2019. The ISO Working Group under Technical Committee 34 (Food Products) is now ahead of schedule to convert IWA29 into a full International Standard. The process is now at Draft International Standard (DIS) stage and the vote will close on 25th February 2024.

In 2024, our work will focus on completing the International Standard process, supporting national adoption and promoting active use of the Standard. We encourage members and partners to consider how they can use the Standard to measure the effectiveness of the BDS they provide or commission.


AMEA continued to establish itself as a Knowledge Management leader in 2023 with 4 case studies produced and a significant contribution to the ISF-led research. This learning is guided by the AMEA 2023-25 Learning Agenda which was co-created with the Toolbox Working Group. The Toolbox Working Group will continue to refine this Agenda in 2024. We also expect to significantly expand the case study pipeline in 2024 with a focus on Local Network countries.

We took this learning into Strategic Dialogues by delivering sessions at events such as the AGRF, ANDE Annual Conference, SAFIN Plenary, IDH Partnership Summit as well as our own Annual Learning Event and Global Convening. This generation and debate of the growing evidence base has continued to inform our BDS Call to Action.

This work also led on to the launch of an Agri-SME Learning Collective where AMEA has joined CSAF, Aceli, SAFIN, CABI and USAID on the Steering Committee. This Collective aims to coordinate and develop synergies between different research streams in Inclusive Finance and Inclusive AgriBusiness. AMEA is leading its’ BDS and TA Working Group with Argidius and ADA/SSNUP; and we expect this is how we can dive deeper into the AMEA Access to Finance agenda.

We also inspire action through supporting AMEA tool users to engage with tool owners. In 2023 there were two key events: the ALP Developers Conference and iCRA’s 40th Anniversary Trust in Action Community Conference

In 2024 there will be other similar opportunities for members and partners to engage, such as IFC’s launch of its new e-learning platform. We will also continue to collaborate with members and partners to deliver best-in class sessions at high profile online and face to face events.

The building of an evidence base and continual improvement in AMEA Tools is expected to drive further demand for the Tools. Following a revamped peer review process AMEA will launch its’ new Toolbox Guide and expects at least 25 members and partners to be using the Tools in 2024. We expect this will include strategic programs such as RK-FINFA (Kenya), AgriGRADE (Kenya/Tanzania) and TMS (Honduras). We will also scan the environment for tools that have a good evidence base and consider them for the peer review process. A good example would be GIZ’s programs such as the AgriBusiness Facility.

We also support learning and action on specific themes depending on member interest. Examples which we will pursue in 2024 are:

  • The AgTech Roadmap process in Kenya which started in 2023 and will continue to deepen learning and develop guidance for BDS providers and agri-SMEs in terms of AgTech that can deliver the most cost-effective support for their growth.
  • Sharing approaches to address the EU Deforestation legislation in Latin America
  • Supporting further testing and improvement of tools which address gaps in the AMEA Toolbox e.g. Corus’ food safety costing tool, NCBA CLUSA’s DMOC and WIELCOOP tools and SCOPEinsight’s SACCO assessment tool. The Toolbox Working Group is also considering whether to set up sub-groups to assess tools that support environmental management interventions and womens/youth empowerment.

If you are interested to be part of the above processes or you are interested to know the latest developments on these Tools then contact Filipe at


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save the date: amea convening 2024

We listened to you and the vote was very split for the location of our next Convening. We decided that we would have most participation and visibility by connecting our Convening to the Launch of the International Standard. Please mark your diaries for October 21st and 22nd 2024 in Delft.


If you have any input or ideas do let us know as we start our preparations!