October 26, 2016


The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has released its latest report, “Engaging Smallholder Farmers in Value Chains: Emerging Lessons,” with insights from WEConnect International CEO and Co-Founder Elizabeth A. Vazquez and WEConnect International Director of Corporate Relations Michael Tobolski. Withthisreport,CGI seeks todeepentheunderstandingofthecommitments’ portfolioandhighlighteffectiveapproaches, throughtheanalysisofagroupofcommitmentsworkingtoaddress aspecificchallenge(i.e.connecting] smallholderstoglobalvalue chains).

While sustainable agriculture has long been an area addressed by CGI members, recent years have shown an increase in commitments with the specific aim of connecting smallholder farmers to the global economy. For this report, CGI examined five commitments made by multinational corporations, nongovernmental organizations, and social enterprises aimed at empowering smallholder farmers and connecting them to global corporate value chains. In particular, CGI focused on the power of partnerships in enabling these commitments and the role neutral conveners can play in facilitating the necessary connections. Through conversations with key stakeholders engaged in each of these commitments, including the commitment-makers and partners, CGI has drawn out lessons learned and best practices to be shared with others working in this field—along with the greater CGI community. These include:

  • The long-term financial viability of multinational food and beverage companies is incumbent on them shifting to more sustainable supply chains. Partners and smallholder farmers play a key role in enabling this shift.
  • The success of a project relies on the willingness of smallholders to participate in and steward the program. To this end, smallholders should be engaged as early as possible.
  • Pilots are essential to assess and refine the complex aspects of a large-scale, multi-partner, multi-sector commitment.
  • Commitment-makers should tailor key performance indicators (KPIs) to local contexts, using the insights of local partners to establish appropriate goals.
  • Neutralconvenersenablepartnershipsbetweendiverseactors,playacatalyticroleinprojectdevelopment,andprovide accountability mechanisms tosupportthelong-termsuccessoftheseprojects.