Apart from the fact the three main associates have worked in India for more than two decade across Agribusiness and financial sector, some of the ongoing and recently completed projects are:
Reducing Postharvest Losses in Rwanda This project is aimed at increasing food security in Rwanda, by understanding and identifying the most efficient ways to reduce postharvest losses. ABA is working in partnership with University of Rwanda, National Agriculture Export Development Board and Rwanda Agricultural Board. The project is initiated by the Horticulture Innovation Lab, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of the US Government’s global hunger and food security initiative called Feed the Future initiative and led by the University of California, Davis. The project is working to understand postharvest losses, constraints and opportunities in key horticultural crops. The project will work to test and scale up several postharvest solutions through its three Postharvest Training & Services Centers. Our approach includes building local entrepreneurial capacity to support widespread adoption of appropriate technology.
Seed and Fertilizer Project RFI: Agribusiness Associates Inc. (ABA was commissioned by USAID Nepal to design a seed project with a focus on developing the private sector. Gurbinder Gill was the lead, together with a regional expert, Dr. Hari Upadhyaya. Based on the design submitted, USAID developed the RFI. This project is currently being implemented in Nepal with a budget of USD 15 Million.
ABA and Ohio State University collectively worked on an assignment for evaluating the value chain for Psyllium Husk for Proctor & Gamble. The objective was to strengthen the supply chain for procurement of raw material. P&G buys about 75% of the Psyllium Husk, which is packaged as OTC Metamucil. In the recent past, Europe has also started importing from India, which has put tremendous pressure on the P&G supply chain. In this context, P&G contracted the services of ABA with the objective of evaluating the value chain, focusing on understanding the backward linkages for increasing production through strengthening the research and extension component.
ABA worked closely with CIMMYT Nepal to strengthen the local market systems for small and medium wheat and rice seed companies. This was done through value chain analysis, business mentoring to strengthen their competitiveness and developing their capacity to rapidly move newly released varieties to the market. The main challenge faced by CIMMYT was that though they had shared good germplasm with the National Research system in Nepal, resulting in registration of newer varieties, the adoption rate by the farmers was very poor. One of the main reasons identified during the initial evaluation was that the small and medium seed companies were not promoting the newer varieties. These seed companies are the ones who deliver the seeds to the farmers, however, they were not involved by the research institutions during the evaluation of the new varieties. This business approach resulted in slower adaption to the new varieties.
ABA worked with CIMMYT Nepal to facilitate a strategic business roadmap for Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal. The objective of this intervention was to co create a vision for the association, followed by designing of measurable goals and strategies to achieve them, in consensus with a team of approximately 25 entrepreneurs and members. The group coaching discussion also led the team to chart the value system for SEAN in agreement.
ABA facilitated an intervention in collaboration with CIMMYT, for USAID, to co create a business proposal with the stakeholders from 4 different institutions including IRRI and CEAPRED. The approach used was brain based group coaching to bring consensus in the team for the best outcome.
ABA worked with IFPRI as a short term international consultant, along with the local expert team, to examine the constraints and problems in attracting private sector investment in commercial production of seed.
ABA worked with Pakistan Agricultural Coalition (PAC, an industry coalition) to conduct a pre-feasibility of the country strategy, with the objective of upgrading the capacity of cotton-seed industry in the country and based on the results of the study, worked on setting up the seed company along with a team of international consultants.
ABA was hired by PAC to work on the country strategy to improve the availability and quality of cotton. ABA worked with a team comprising a breeder, an entomologist and a production expert, and carried out the ground analysis.
Based on ABA’s recommendation, the three competing textile companies have come together and invested to set up a commercial seed company. Gurbinder Gill continues to be involved in identifying the technology partners and putting together a team of negotiators (business, technical, legal and financial) to get the most appropriate technology at the best possible commercial terms for the company.
ABA was asked by Horticulture Innovation Lab, UC Davis (USAID Initiative) for strengthening the commercialization of Conservation Ag project in Cambodia. ABA joined the project midway and worked with the technical team to establish a marketing and sales plan for promotion and maximization of profits for women farmers.
Gurbinder was a member of the Leader’s Quest organized by Rockefeller Foundation. Rockefeller Foundation wanted to invest in postharvest solutions in Africa. During the design stage they put together a team of 23 experts (including those from IT, Banks and industry) to evaluate the innovations in the field of postharvest in India for possible adaption in Africa. The trip focused on ideation and learning from the experiences of different industries/ professions to look into possible solutions for agribusiness.
Based on this quest and other such initiatives, Rockefeller has now rolled out a postharvest initiative in Africa with a total commitment of USD 70 million.
ABA was contracted by a global leader for a market assessment and for creating a Go to Market strategy in biological solutions for their product in developing world markets. ABA hired a team and developed a report highlighting the market opportunity and the strategic market entry along with recommendations for possible commercial partnerships.
ABA was hired by Cotton Incorporated (CI) to undertake a farmers’ survey for a project on Life Cycle assessment of cotton in India. Gurbinder Gill hired a local team of market research professionals and undertook the survey across three different cotton growing zones of India.
ABA was contracted as a business coach by a leading Business House in Nepal to grow their agribusiness portfolio, through identifying opportunities and building organizational capacity to achieve the planned goals. ABA worked with the leadership team, focusing on the research component, to help the organization develop the strategic plan using the technique of co–creation.
ABA undertook a trade competitive study across India and Nepal for Winrock (Kisan Project) for developing a business case for interventions on strengthening private sector linkages. This project was undertaken with the objective of understanding the competitiveness of growing fine varieties of rice, corn and wheat, while understanding the cost of production, subsidies and processing infrastructure across Nepal and the bordering states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
As part of a Winrock assignment, ABA worked on strategic capacity building of ACI Seed’s, Bangladesh with their leadership team to build a competitive seed enterprise. He conducted a two day workshop on co-creation of the strategic growth business plan along with the leadership team of ACI, Bangladesh.
ABA was hired by a US seed company to expand the market for Canola seed in Canada. ABA hired a breeder and a marketing expert, identified the marketing opportunity, conducted an analysis of the possible partners and developed the GTM (Go to Market) approach. Gurbinder was the lead in developing the market entry strategy and preparation of the execution model for the Canadian seed market.
ABA was contracted by Cotton Incorporated (CI) to assess the market size and also plan out the advocacy strategy for need assessment, creation and promotion of a new researched technology in South Asia. ABA hired the local experts and then planned the GTM (Go to Market) strategy. Gurbinder’s role was to provide the strategic advisory service to CI.
As part of a Winrock assignment, Gurbinder worked through ABA for building entrepreneurial capacity of the sales team of the BRAC Seed frontline team. ABA was hired to train and build the competency of the 64 member sales team by strengthening their entrepreneurial skills, and also refining their sales and marketing aptitudes.
ABA worked with World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO) to evaluate and suggest measures for sustainability of the Postharvest Centers established in Tanzania. ABA hired Gurbinder to evaluate the existing postharvest centers post the project implementation period. The primary methodology adopted was personal interviews with all the stakeholders, with the purpose of suggesting a strategy for sustainable operations of these post-harvest training centers.