Clinton Development Initiative

At the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2005, President Clinton made a commitment to improve economic growth in Africa. From this commitment, President Clinton began the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI), to help support smallholder farmers and families in Africa to meet their own food needs and improve their livelihoods. Working at the invitation of the governments of Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania, CDI works with farmers to transform subsistence agriculture into a catalyst for social and economic change. When families are empowered to secure their own food and support themselves financially, communities become more resilient – economies grow, jobs are created, and together, we build a strong foundation for the future.

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More About the Clinton Development Initiative

The Challenge

Farmers across sub-Saharan Africa face obstacles in agricultural production with little to no access to formal markets. Yields are declining, often as a result of limited access to improved seed varieties, quality inputs, and erratic weather patterns from climate change. Farmers also lack access to information about prices and market opportunities for their crops, making it harder for them to produce and sell.

The Community Agribusiness Approach (CAB)

CDI works with farming communities in rural areas through its Community Agribusiness Approach (CAB) to provide education on markets; training and techniques for improved climate-smart agriculture production; and resources such as seeds and fertilizer to help farmers become food secure and live more productive and healthier lives. CAB is a unique, five-year engagement with farmers to address the specific access challenges they face in increasing the quantity, quality, and consistency of production. CAB is based on the following fundamentals:

  • Bringing together a community - help farmers achieve more by working in groups or “hub farming,” helping individual farmers capitalize on new market opportunities through a collective voice and action.
  • Deploying improved agricultural training - provide direct training to farmers to teach spacing, planting rates, mulching, soil fertility, and climate-smart management techniques to maximize productivity while protecting the earth.
  • Supporting entrepreneurship - provide education to foster the creation of small and medium enterprises and support local business incubation hubs.
  • Emphasizing women's employment - prioritize women’s leadership and participation by requiring that women make up at least 40% of the farmers in our program. In Malawi, we’ve surpassed this, and women now make up over 60% of farmers.
A Growing Impact

CDI has a strong track record of generating steady returns for farmers and running cost-effective programs. In Rwanda, for example, every $1 spent on operations has generated $3.80 in additional income for smallholder farmers. CDI’s impact reaches beyond the individual farmer to the broader community.Improving food security, empowering women entrepreneurs, and putting more money in farmers’ pockets has been shown to have wide-ranging benefits including improved health and higher school enrollment for children.

Partnering for Success

CDI partners with governments, the private sector, and local NGOs to provide resources and credible technical support to maximize impact including: 

  1. The governments of Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania
  2. Agricultural Commodity Exchange for Africa 
  3. Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
  4. Dutch Postcode Lottery
  5. East African Grain Council 
  6. International Institute for Tropical Agriculture
  7. International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
  8. Global Health Corps