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Knowledge Center

FES is a learning organization that leverages research and analysis to identify food systems constraints and develop practical approaches that businesses can adopt.

This case study provides examples of some of the experiences and challenges of implementing a business-to-business (B2B) approach that intentionally incorporates sustainable economic development principles.


We describe how FES supports women coffee producers through its programs and how Artisan, as a private sector actor in the coffee value chain, has managed the challenges of creating a sustainable supply relationship with women coffee co-operatives in Rwanda. Both companies address some of the broader challenges and opportunities associated with trading relationships and women’s economic empowerment. Some of the results of Artisan’s efforts are described, and recommendations for much-needed research validate the value of incorporating sustainable economic development principles in B2B relationships.


Artisan buys from about five Rwandan cooperatives, typically only buying from their women’s groups. In this case study, we focus on the B2B relationship between Artisan and Ejo Heza, the women’s group with parent cooperative, Kopakama. We chose to write about the relationship with Ejo Heza because this is Artisan’s longest relationship, having started in 2016, and Kopakama is one the oldest coffee cooperatives in Rwanda. The female farmers, prior to Artisan’s arrival, named themselves “Ejo Heza”, which means “bright tomorrow” in the local Kinyarwanda language. Thus, the B2B relationship between Artisan and Ejo Heza has a unique focus on gender.

 In April 2021, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS) launched the Youth Food Safety Application Competition.  The competition sought out young software developers to create innovating learning approaches about food safety, especially among young entrepreneurs. By developing smart phone applications, the competition aimed to assist small business owners to adopt safer food handling practices. BD4FS, implemented by Food Enterprise Solutions (FES), and its partner Feed the Future Youth in Agriculture (YiA), implemented by Virginia Tech University, worked with technical judges chosen from among Senegal’s finest professionals in the field. A total of 14 young developers entered the competition, from which 10 finalists were invited to pitch their concepts to the panelists.

Highlights:

  • The BD4FS Pre-HACCP Training Offer:19 PRPs in Two Parts

  • Upgrading Training for Agrifood Processing Actors

  • Launch of Food Safety Game-based Learning Mobile Apps

  • Testimonial from a GFB on Co-creation with BD4FS

BD4FS Senegal has partnered with local agribusiness actors to provide Pre-Haccp trainings that can prepare them for eventual certification, promote food safety financing, initiate a mobile platform for food safety learning, and help to organize a World Food Safety Day event. All activities are designed to support programmatic objectives by understanding basic local drivers for food safety, supporting GFB adoption of safer food handling, management practices, and preventative maintenance in accordance with government rules and regulations and international standards, and raising awareness among local businesses and consumers to promote a culture of food safety. 

Senegalese consumers are increasingly oriented towards higher quality purchases across many sectors, and with this trend, processed poultry products are in high demand. Mrs. Fatim Basse - the founder of Gourméa, a company specializing in smoked poultry products - is aiming to meet this growing market demand. Gourméa has partnered with Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS), funded by USAID and implemented by Food Enterprise Solutions (FES), to increase product safety and quality. This partnership approach allows BD4FS to tailor capacity building efforts to be relevant and applicable to the needs of Senegalese food businesses, according to the company's products and business objectives.

Like the other countries of the world, Senegal celebrated World Food Safety Day on Thursday, June 07, 2022, in the city of Saint Louis located 255 km from Dakar. The celebration was organized by the National Codex Alimentarius Committee in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, FAO, WHO and Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS) - Senegal through popular gatherings and conference debates. The BD4FS Senegal Team was actively involved in the organization and facilitation of the various activities to mobilize action toward the 2022 goal of Safer Food, Better Health.

Food Enterprise Solutions recognizes that food safety is everyone’s business.  And – that food safety is good for business!  Today, June 7, 2022, we are celebrating Food Safety Day 2022 to highlight the exciting work that the Feed the Future Business Drivers for Safety (BD4FS) project is doing with growing food businesses in Senegal to promote safer food handling and ultimately more successful businesses. 
Growing food businesses (GFBs) face various challenges to improve the quality and safety of their food products as they move through supply chains.  The consequences of improper handling can be direct and severe, often manifested as an increased rejection of products in the marketplace, both local and export, which for a struggling GFB means reduced revenue and possible business failure.  It can also pose a huge reputational risk to enterprises and mistrust of their products by consumers and partners. As consumer demand for safer foods increases, so does the business incentive to adopt best practices in food handling. Not only does improved food safety compliance protect consumers from foodborne illness, it also improves business competitiveness and growth.  Hence, there is a tremendous demand by GFBs in Senegal for information and technical training to improve food handling practices.  And, many of the promoted practices are low-cost and relatively simple to implement.  Most importantly, businesses recognize the immediate benefits which this short video highlights.  GFBs partnered with BD4FS appreciate completely that ‘food safety is good for business'. 

Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS), funded by USAID and implemented by Food Enterprise Solutions, helped build the capacity of Carvi Food to supply safe food products. BD4FS food safety experts trained Carvi Food employees and management on implementing Pre-Haccp prerequisite programs (PRPs). Resulting from this prerequisite training and implementation of the PRPs, Carvi demonstrated to Auchan that they could be a safe food supplier, thus winning a lucrative contract.

​Carvi Food, founded and managed by Alimatou Zayda Diagne, a 26-year-old Senegalese woman, has just been approved by Auchan following a supplier audit. Carvi Food is the first Senegalese company to make and offer "Kilichi," a product that had previously been imported from Niger and South Africa. Kilichi is a dried meat with spices that is usually prepared at home during holidays following the traditions of Northern Senegal. Carvi offers its customers assorted flavors of kilichi in 30g and 100g packets at 1,000 and 3,000 FCFA (around US$ 1.70 and US$ 5.20). The chili, garlic, salt, and ginger flavored products are marketed on their website with home delivery service. With 10 full time employees, Carvi’s operations are expanding. Ms. Diagne estimates the Auchan contract will increase their annual sales by 100% (from US $30,000 to US $60,000). Carvi benefits from Auchan’s broad geographic network and its products will soon be available in major Senegalese cities beyond Dakar.

Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS), implemented by Food Enterprise Solutions (FES) and funded by USAID, is a multicountry effort that works alongside agrifood actors to codesign and implement incentive-based strategies to accelerate the adoption of food safety practices in local food systems. To expand baseline knowledge of food safety practices in Senegal, BD4FS initiated a rapid market assessment utilizing a local network of experts and data collectors hired by Premise1, a company specializing in crowdsourcing data through mobile-app technology. Premise data contributors conducted a visual assessment of market characteristics, vendor food safety practices, and infrastructure conditions in 64 food markets across eight cities which aided BD4FS in understanding the principal issues around food hygiene and temperature control in Senegal. The primary objectives of this study were to identify local food markets in selected regions of Senegal and explore their food safety practices and challenges in three critical areas: 1) market demographics and physical characteristics, 2) food safety conditions and food quality at the individual retail locations, and 3) water and sanitation facilities available at the market.

Smoked fish is widely traded and consumed in the entire West African region and is even exported internationally. In Senegal, artisanally-caught fish is typically processed by women’s groups who use a variety of traditional processing techniques, most commonly smoking. Traditional smoking produces high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are recognized as carcinogenic when consumed. Modern smoking ovens have been developed to reduce PAH levels in smoked fish; however, these improved methods have not been widely adopted in many regions.

To investigate this food safety concern, BD4FS initiated a series of studies on PAHs in Senegal: (1) an in depth literature review, (2) an ethnographic study among women fish processors to assess barriers to adopting improved ovens, and (3) a survey to understand consumer awareness and willingness to pay more for a safer product. Continue reading to learn about findings from these studies: 

Safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services are essential for household health and equally critical for food businesses to reduce the incidence and transmission of foodborne diseases. The economic and health benefits of investing in water and sanitation are considerable. The estimated return on investment for every dollar spent is $4.3 USD – a gain achieved by reducing health care costs and improving workplace productivity.1 Investing in WASH also saves lives - diarrhea kills over 2,000 children per day globally, most preventable through improved WASH conditions.2 In Senegal alone, more than 40,000 deaths could be prevented annually through adequate WASH infrastructure and practice.

In March 2021, FES began implementing its private sector food safety strategy in Nepal through Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS), a project co-created with and funded by USAID. While implementing the BD4FS “Food Safety Situational Analysis”, the COVID-19 pandemic took a sharp turn for the worse in Nepal, almost completely shutting down the food system. BD4FS developed and implemented a rapid survey of the COVID-19 impacts on food businesses to understand how and to what extent lockdown and prohibitory orders have impacted their key business parameters such as demand, sales, and costs.

Food safety is an integral part of growing food businesses, economic development, and public health. Food businesses, government, policy makers, and researchers all have different perspectives on promoters and barriers that affect food safety, and they provide important contributions to ensuring food safety practices occur in low- and middle-income (LMICs). In order to obtain insight on how to develop policies and programs that ensure food safety practices are present in LMICs, BD4FS conducted a rapid assessment with selected food safety experts.

Horticulture crops such as fruit and vegetables play a significant role in income generation and help to ensure nutritional security via small business activities for many countries in Africa and Asia (Demmler 2020). In the case of Ethiopia, Rwanda, Senegal, and Nepal, focal countries for Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS), the majority of the population is directly or indirectly involved in agriculture. A Commodity System Assessment Methodology (CSAM) was undertaken in these countries, initiated by BD4FS and conducted by MarGEn, in recognition of the immediate necessity for interventions to reduce food losses and ensure food safety.

Horticulture crops are a good source to ensure nutritional security, and they also play a significant role in income generation by providing opportunity for a range of small business activities (Demmler, 2020). However, nutrient levels of fresh fruit and vegetables begin to decline gradually once harvested, due to their high water content (about 90%), contributing to deterioration and decay. The storage conditions and temperature management along the supply chain play a key role in preventing postharvest losses, and the cold chain management should start right from the time the produce is harvested.

Based upon the immediate necessity for interventions to reduce food losses and ensure food safety, Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS), funded by USAID and implemented by Food Enterprise Solutions (FES), initiated research focused on Senegal, Nepal, Rwanda, and Ethiopia to be conducted by MARGEN. Considering the importance of crops with respect to consumption status, nutritional aspects, degree of postharvest loss, food safety issue and scope to the business opportunities, each country selected two important horticultural crops: Rwanda (Banana and Tomato), Ethiopia (Tomato and Mango), Nepal (Tomato and Apple), and Senegal (Tomato and Mango).

This Financial Landscape Analysis explored financial barriers faced by agribusiness in Senegal and avenues to make funding more accessible for investments in services such as cold chain logistics as part of a broader effort to improve food safety. The study focused on small- to medium-sized local food businesses in perishable foods sectors, referred to as growing food businesses (GFBs)1, and ensured the inclusion of women and young entrepreneurs.

Food safety losses are related to both physical and quality losses. The damage caused by unsafe handling practices can lead to both physical losses due to discarding product with insufficient cold storage, and to quality losses with associated loss of market value. Postharvest and food safety assessments were carried out using Commodity Systems Assessment Methodology (CSAM), which includes literature reviews, interviews and observations (LaGra et al 2016). Key informant interviews with experts, farmers, traders and extension workers in Ethiopia, Senegal, Rwanda and Nepal have revealed a wide range of food safety issues and associated SME business opportunities.

In Senegal, artisanal processing of seafood is the oldest form of seafood value addition. It remains a relatively simple means to preserve and sustain the share of artisanal and industrial production not consumed fresh. Artisanally processed products are an integral part of Senegalese cooking practices and therefore contribute to meeting protein demand. However, it is often considered a marginalized sector although of paramount importance. Notwithstanding, the sector is faced with major challenges compromising its development, including difficulties accessing water, sanitation and hygiene. This study reviews the conditions of access to water, hygiene and sanitation for women fish processors on ten processing sites in the regions of Dakar.

Au Sénégal, la transformation artisanale des produits de la mer est la forme de valorisation de produits de la pêche la plus ancienne. Elle s’impose comme moyen relativement simple pour conserver et reporter la partie de la production artisanale et industrielle qui n’a pas pu intégrer la consommation en frais. Les produits transformés artisanalement font partie intégrante des habitudes culinaires des sénégalais et par conséquent contribuent à la satisfaction de la demande en protéine.

Seafood is a critical source of nutrition in Senegal, especially among populations with low incomes. Post-catch processing, packaging, distribution and retailing are also a source of employment and income: in addition to fresh seafood sold near the point of catch, a significant amount gets processed (salted and smoked) and sold further inland and cross-border to neighboring countries. This important commodity for Senegal’s food security comes with important public health and food safety challenges. Many handling practices along the supply chain – cleaning, smoking, salting, drying, transporting and retailing – can contribute to loss of potential nutrients for consumers as well as losses of income and profit to businesses. In addition, poor food safety practices set the stage for transmission of food borne pathogens.

The current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is a fluid situation that is fueling a livelihoods crisis in both developed and emerging economies. Globally, consumers are concerned about the safety of their food and the risk of potential contamination. Though COVID-19 is a respiratory infection transmitted typically from person to person through direct contact, food systems are likely to be negatively impacted as they include human as well as surface transmission through critical actors including food producers, processors, transporters, warehouses, wholesale and retail food providers, and, of course, the consumer. 

The term “productivity” in agriculture typically refers to the cost efficiency of crop yields per unit of land, or the ratio of outputs, or yields, to inputs. But with so much of the food produced being lost to spoilage or damage before it gets to consumers in developing economies, we need a new definition of productivity. We must focus on the whole system that moves food from the farm to the consumer. 

Food safety is everyone’s business – and it’s the businesses that make up food systems that are the cornerstone for providing safe food. Today's food systems are increasingly more global, diverse and complex, involving an array of businesses from subsistence farming to multinational food companies. Everyone eats – therefore, everyone relies on local and global food systems. For World Food Safety Day, FES will describe four key focus areas of food safety: nutritional impact; the importance of post-harvest food management (PHFM); efficient logistics and cold chain; and affordable, accessible financing. 

At this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on the most vulnerable populations and on food supply chains has mushroomed into a global concern. Senegal is no exception. Food Enterprise Solutions (FES) is currently conducting a food safety situational analysis (FSSA) in Senegal through its USAID-funded Feed the Future initiative called Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS) with the aim of identifying key barriers and opportunities to improving seafood safety practices.

Local businesses within the food system – micro, small, and medium sized food enterprises (SMEs) – have the potential to substantially reduce contamination and spoilage by adopting better food safety standards and practices.  FTF’s Business Drivers for Food Safety project (BD4FS) aims to strengthen capacities of these key actors and make them agents of positive change in the effort to reduce malnutrition, pre-consumer food loss, and overall hunger. BD4FS complements other Feed the Future programs through capacity building activities targeting SMEs in the food sector. With a goal of improving access of poorer consumers to safe, nutritious foods, the BD4FS approach includes strengthening formal sector SMEs as a strategic component of overall food systems development.

'The Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS) project in Senegal has recognized LDB as a leading firm or “Ambassador” in the dairy value chain. An “Ambassador firm” is a well-established business that has a branded product or products with a good local reputation, an established QMS (quality management system) and has either been certified or is working  towards  certification.  These firms  help  BD4FS facilitate access to small  and medium  growing food businesses  (GFBs)   who  are  part  of  their supply  or  value chain(s).  The primary mission  of  LDB  is to  connect rural  milk supply to  growing demand in urban areas.  Through its   signature co-design process, BD4FS and  LDB reviewed potential  points  of  contamination in the dairy value chain and recognized that producers—at the beginning of the value chain—required training and technical assistance in safer food handling.