Inclusive Business

Inclusive Business

Inclusive Business

Equitable sharing of risks and profits between chain actors

When we talk about inclusive business, we mean serious business.

It’s all about doing business with a long-term outlook, fulfilling the needs of farmers and buyers alike. With this kind of forward-looking strategy, they can plan ahead more carefully, resulting in stronger businesses.

What does Inclusive Business mean to Rikolto? Check what our colleagues around the globe have to say in this video!

Rikolto uses the 6 principles of the LINK methodology, developed by CIAT, to define whether a Business is truly inclusive:

  1. cooperation between the all actors in the chain with a common goal;
  2. new relations between all chain actors, leading to a stable market and constant supply;
  3. a fair and transparent policy (open communication, fair prices, risk sharing)
  4. equal access to credit, technical support in the field, market information, etc.
  5. inclusive innovation (not ‘for’, but ‘with’ farmers);
  6. and measurable results (indicators and concrete tailored monitoring programmes or follow-up plans).

How do we work on Inclusive Business?

Chain development: Together with research institutions and commercial entities, we collaborate to design innovative and tailored methods to improve the inclusivity of value chains, creating win-win solutions for companies, farmers and consumers.

Farmer Organisation professionalisation: With 40 years’ experience of working with smallholder farmers’ organisations across three continents, Rikolto has developed an in-depth knowledge of the challenges they face to become solid and professional business organisations. We strengthen their capacity to respond to market demands in terms of quality, food safety and sustainability.

Exploring, measuring and evaluating: We are frontrunners in creating and testing innovative tools for Monitoring and Evaluation such as the Inclusive Business Scanbased on Sensemaker®, the SCOPE assessment or the LINK methodology.

Food policy development:
Within the framework of our Food Smart Cities programme, we collaborate with municipal governments and food businesses to create closer rural-urban linkages, promote sustainable procurement, and set up participatory governance mechanisms.

A three-tier approach and a broad network of partners

We join forces with a broad network of partners to develop and pilot these innovative and scalable practices. Next, we share the evidence we gather in the field in strategic networks to promote scaling of our practices and to influence the international political agenda in favour of sustainable and inclusive food systems. We are founding member of AMEA and active contributors to strategic networks as ANDE, AVPN, One Planet Network, the Sustainable Food Lab, the Sustainable Rice Platform and the Cocoa Sustainability Partnership

For over 10 years, Rikolto has been facilitating Inclusive Business models in 15 countries by engaging both private and public stakeholders. Some examples:


Rikolto, Mars Food and AMANAH farmers’ cooperative facilitated improvements in quality, traceability, and collective selling for about 7,500 cocoa farmers in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Mars supported young cocoa farmers to become professional service providers in their own communities. Rikolto provided business coaching to the cooperatives and farmers set up a mobile communication system to receive information on world market prices. Meanwhile, Mars has been replicating this model worldwide.


In Honduras, El Consorcio, which unites 8 farmers’ organisations, suppliesquality vegetables to 50 supermarkets of La Colonia under fair conditions and prices. Their vegetables cover about 90% of the supermarket chain’s intake


In 2016, Muvikiho, an organisation of 885 farmers from Tanzania, obtained its own Global GAP certificate thanks to training provided by Rikolto and its partners. The price paid for peas and French beans increased by 20% thanks to the strong competition between export companies eager to sign a contract with Muvikiho.


Phoenix, one of the world’s leading rice trading corporations, jointly set up with Rikolto and two farmers organisations, a financing mechanism to support 750 farmers in Vietnam. Phoenix invests in processing infrastructure, allowing the farmer organisations to reduce their costs, while guaranteeing Phoenix’s access to higher-quality rice produced according to the Sustainable Rice Platform Standard.

DR Congo

In DR Congo, twenty years of political instability have held back investors. Young farmer cooperatives struggle to obtain credit at an affordable rate. Today Belgian companies Colruyt and Ethiquable are pre-financing coffee cooperatives and have built a solid business relationship with them.

Burkina Faso

In Burkina Faso, Rikolto and the National Union for Women Rice parboilers, UNERIZ, have co-created an innovative franchise business model that encourages women to set up a parboiling micro-business at their home. UNERIZ organises entrepreneurial and practical training, while local banks provide credits, and two private companies joined them to design the parboiling equipment. This partnership has led to a profitable and scalable business model.

Sandwich of the day

Sandwich of the day

In 2016, four vegetable farmers’ cooperatives in Nicaragua, started providing safe, high-quality vegetables to national Subway outlets. We have examined all the learned lessons of this business case.

Download the case study

Josephine Ecklu
Josephine Ecklu
Inclusive Business coordinator