Design Research + Strategy

Combatting Fake Agro-Inputs

How can we regulate agricultural inputs using the power of markets?

// Field Research, Strategy

// Winner, Consulting Magazine's Excellence in Social and Community Investment Award



Fake agricultural inputs - including seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides - are ubiquitous in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and pose significant risk to smallholder farmers' health, safety, and livelihood. The Gates Foundation was interested in how they might help design a sustainable, market-based intervention to cut down on counterfeiting and improve the livelihood of small holder farmers in the region. 

Project: Market-Based Solutions to Counterfeiting in the Sub-Saharan Agricultural Inputs Sector
Context: Research and solution assessment prepared for the Gates Foundation, in collaboration with Monitor Deloitte


  • Assessed 40+ value chains, taking into account relevance to smallholder farmers, commercial attractiveness, and prevalence of counterfeiting

  • Conducted in-field market research in Ghana and Uganda to further understand the extent and root causes of counterfeiting in these geographies

  • Shared findings at a convening of 30+ key stakeholders in the sector in Nairobi

  • Assessed six leading anti-counterfeit solutions that were successful in order industries, and shortlisted promising and feasible interventions

  • Evaluated the technological enabling environment to understand key requirements to scale solutions across sub-Saharan Africa

  • Designed a pilot implementation roadmap and path forward

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Based on our research and analysis, we recommended an end-user verification model and designed a pilot to operationalize the concept. The pilot was successfully funded and rolled out across three target geographies.