ABOUT SAPPSmallholder Agribusiness Partnerships Programme (SAPP) implemented by Ministry of Agriculture - Sri Lanka. The programme aims to facilitate rural smallholder farmers in terms of building the commercial partnerships, providing access to finance, improving technical know-how and financial literacy, introducing mechanization to agriculture, and sustainable agricultural practices. The key driver of this programme is “Public-Private-Producer Partnerships” (4Ps) value chain model which brings public sector, rural smallholder farmers and private sector companies to a common platform where all the partners can develop their agribusiness towards a common goal of uplifting the rural farmer communities economically and socially and support rural economic development.
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SAPP under the financial assistance of IFAD is keen to promote 4Ps as a more systematic way of doing business with the private sector through the projects it supports. In this manner, IFAD communicates to global stakeholders, partners and clients its unique approach to partnerships that enhance the well-being of small-scale producers. A 4P arrangement ensures that smallholder producers are respected partners and not relegated to the receiving end of public-private partnerships (PPPs). There are important asymmetries in the balance of power that need to be acknowledged in 4Ps, since smallholders are typically not well equipped to negotiate with public and private actors. It is important to ensure the transparency, fairness and accountability of these arrangements, especially when it comes to recognizing local communities’ tenure rights (to land, water and forests), the role of women and environmental issues. The devil is often in the details of PPP deals when it comes to price-setting mechanisms, enforcement of contracts, regulatory issues, payment modalities, ownership and coordination. Introducing the 4Ps concept helps to identify and address these issues from the outset. It can also be employed to justify the use of public funds as an incentive for both the private sector and producers to make better deals in which everyone is genuinely committed to a long-term partnership.