Agriculture & Rural DevelopmentSupport policies and programs that raise productivity, increase incomes, generate employment and contribute to economic growth

Rural and agricultural regions are a priority for international development cooperation because of their cardinal role in supporting overall development objectives. Most of the world’s poor a living in rural regions, food production needs to increase significantly to feed the growing world population, water is sourced mostly in rural areas, biodiversity deserves protecting and agricultural and forest related activities have a significant impact on the world greenhouse gas emissions. Half of the world’s population are living in rural areas, with the other half, in urban areas being highly dependent on the management and the products of rural areas and its agricultural produces.

The symptoms of inadequate rural and environmental planning usually become apparent long after it is virtually impossible to remedy them. In the past, too often technical solutions were applied to mere symptoms, without considering how the various problems were interrelated.

Population growth, poverty, dwindling natural resources, soil degradation, desertification, lack of capital, rural exodus: in rural and regional environments, problems are multifaceted and interrelated. Individuals aren’t the only ones to suffer; these issues affect whole nations and their economies. Economic competition is not only present between nations but increasingly between regions.

Relevance of Rural Development for poverty reduction:

  • 70% of the 1.4bn people affected by extreme poverty in the world are living in rural areas (IFAD 2010)
  • 60% of the population in Africa live in rural areas (UN ECOSOC 2011)
  • By the year 2025, 83 per cent of the expected global population of 8.5 billion will be living in developing countries.
  • 75% of all maternal deaths in developing countries could be prevented by prompt access to medical help.

areas of expertise

We therefore support governments in their efforts to develop rural areas and improve agricultural production. With our integrative approach, we address the multitude of perspectives and challenges facing the rural and agricultural sector today. Our areas of expertise include:

The challenge for regional economic development lies in identifying the specific competitive advantage of a given region, and to capitalise on it. We help governments improving its regional administrative and institutional framework, to enable businesses to thrive and to specialize in those prioritized sectors with a unique competitive advantage. With flourishing businesses, employment opportunities will be created, income level rise, the attractiveness of the region rises to live and work there etc. In other words, a positive cycle of economic development is jumpstarted. Most of all, this development is sustainable as it is based on the intrinsic competitive advantage of the region. Certainly, long term strategies and development plans are needed to assure the competitive advantage remains one in the future.

At Luvent Consulting, we are experienced in conducting evaluation studies, involving stakeholders in constructive dialogues and analysing the economic potential of a region to identify the areas of competitive advantages and the sustainable economic possibilities to build on them.

Luvent is based in Germany, where decentralization is enshrined in the country’s politics. Given its economic success, and relative prosperity of the regions in Germany, many countries are looking to emulate success story for rural development. Yet we are also aware of the challenges and inefficiencies of a decentralized government structure. The details and the how to are particularly important to understand when decentralizing government and administrative structures.

We are implementing decentralization projects, where we provide expertise in drafting a strategy and corresponding legislation. We support the capacity development of regions through pilot projects in one region, on one area of regional or local responsibility. We offer trainings and on the job coaching for regional and local officials to assume their responsibilities better, and we assist in sharing the success stories as best practices for other regions.

Rural regions in developing countries are mostly characterized by inefficient micro- or small sized companies working in the agricultural sector. The potential for increased productivity and offering produce competitively on the world market is large. Together with our private sector development team and its focus on SMEs, we are supporting the development of priority sectors in regions by developing capacities from a technical and business administrative perspective. We support the specialization of specific steps of value chains and integration into the global value chains by identifying customers and matching supply and demand better.

We further support the development of clusters to use the advantages of scale economies and open new sales channels through reliability and increased quantities of supply.

The relevance of agricultural production is undisputed, as everyone is dependent on its produces for subsistence, over 2bn people around the world finance their livelihood through agriculture, agricultural production methods have a significant impact on the environment, on greenhouse gas emissions and on alleviating poverty in rural areas where 75% of the world’s poorest are living.

Agrobiodiversity: The demand on crops, breeds and production methods vary as widely in agricultural production as the sizes of existing farms: From micro scale self-sufficiency farming which generally depend on traditional agriculture using old regional crop varieties to mega farms with over 100.000 head of cattle and sizes of up to 24.000km2 using modern biological research and genetic engineering to improve the yields of products. Agrobiodiversity is therefore critical to reduce poverty in developing countries, to allow production on soil with low fertility and irregular water supply, and to allow sufficient food production to feed the world population.

Agro-Finance: Critical for improving agricultural production methods and the yield of crops and livestock is the use of modern materials and production methods. They are often however prohibitively expensive for small scale farmers. As these small-scale farmers, often do not have any collateral or credit history it is not uncommon to resort to interest rates with private moneylenders of 50%. The institutionalization of special financial vehicles such as micro-loans or agro-financing banks allow small scale farmers to borrow at reduced interest rates.

Quality Standards: Technical barriers to trade, such as quality standards for agricultural produce are the main impediment for many developing countries to exporting towards the lucrative markets in the EU. Our section on Quality Standards explains our approach and our comprehensive services to overcome the hurdles organize export towards the European common market.

Transport infrastructure: our Infrastructure development team places great emphasis on the development of 1) storage facilities, cooling houses and processing plants for agricultural produce, 2) sale opportunities in particular local markets 3) transport infrastructure which includes rural and feeder roads to allow remote farmers to access markets in the nearest town. 4) corridors, ports and custom facilitation etc for trade and export of agricultural produce.

Much of the world’s biodiversity and natural resources is located in rural areas. Yet extreme poverty, lack of information and the failure to internalize the externalities of environmental degradation and resource exploitation as costs of the production processes leaves to ruthless exploitation and destruction of resources and the natural environment to the detriment of the local population with consequences for humankind as a whole. Oftentimes governments compromise natural resources and biodiversity for short term economic profits.

Our approach is to show that the interrelation between nature, biodiversity and economic development is everything but a zero sum game. Sustainable economic development is benefiting from biodiversity and environmental capital of a region or country. Obvious opportunities of course are the attractiveness of Natural Parks for tourism or the capacity of forests to serve as net carbon sinks. Researching flora and fauna for its value to the pharmaceutical industry might offer breakthrough medications. In other cases its pure poverty or ignorance that leads to environmental destruction like the burning down of forests to produce coal for heating and cooking. With renewable energy there would be no need to cut down forests, pollute the air with CO2 emissions and severely harm the health of those using the coal through carbondioxide intoxication.

We are taking a holistic approach, staying in sync with the most recent innovations and ideas in this area to provide governments and rural populations with the opportunities for economic development and prosperity while protecting and managing the environment and biodiversity at the same time.

Critical issues we are addressing are:

  • Indigenous populations and their living and herding grounds often clash with the boundaries and rules of the national park (see Massai Mara).
  • Wildlife management can be used smartly to reduce poaching, protect the wildlife and auction out hunting licenses for individual animals to manage the population
  • Natural Park revenues as income and allocation of spending and management of parks for tourism purposes.

For land reform to be successful it is important to be embedded in a broader reform effort and development concept that bring about structural change. Critical for improving agricultural production methods and the yield of crops and lifestock is the use of modern materials and production methods. They are often however prohibitively expensive for small scale farmers. As these small-scale farmers, often do not have any collateral or credit history it is not uncommon to resort to interest rates with private moneylenders of 50%. The institutionalization of special financial vehicles such as micro-loans or agro-financing banks allow small scale farmers to borrow at reduced interest rates. Supporting the foundation of clusters or cooperatives in which big machinery and knowledge can be shared is another way to enhance a farmers purchasing power and reduce operating costs.

our services

  • Project identification, formulation, appraisal, planning and pre-feasibility/feasibility studies
  • Policy, strategy, action plan development, stakeholder consultation and planning
  • Program and project monitoring and evaluation, including social and economic impact analysis
  • Institutional development and strengthening with capacity development of local and regional governments
  • Facilitate rural and agricultural finance and access to credit
  • Infrastructure planning, management and procurement
  • Supporting cluster and rural value chain developments
  • Strengthening cross-institutional linkages and development of networks – nationally and internationally
  • Technical and financial project management and implementation