Sustainable business models for smallholder farmers: Challenges for and lessons from the Barsha pump experience

Juan Carlo Intriago Zambrano*, Jan-Carel Diehl, Maurits W. Ertsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Smallholder farmers (SFs) are cornerstone actors in eradicating poverty and hunger. Companies have recently focused on SFs as potential customers and suppliers. Several hindrances yet prevent SFs to be commercially viable actors. In this respect, sustainable business models (SBMs) bring opportunities for companies to increase profit, improve SFs' livelihoods, and promote environmental sustainability. Recognizing these opportunities, the Dutch company aQysta provides the Barsha pump (BP) as a sustainable irrigation solution for SFs. The challenges for BP adoption that remain for SFs illustrate that there is still limited understanding of how SBMs can support companies in engaging with SFs. To expand this understanding, we conducted a multiple-case analysis of 10 organizations providing SF-tailored products and/or services. Based on this analysis, we have drawn lessons for aQysta (and similar companies) to improve the BP's value proposition and we elaborate on the implications of this study for other organizations engaging commercially with SFs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalBusiness Strategy and Development
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Smallholder farming
  • Sustainable business models
  • Product-service systems
  • Barsha pump
  • Hydro-powered pump
  • Irrigation

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