Farmers introduced to ‘Cigar Box’ investment tool

Inventor of the Cigar Box tool, Olivier van Lieshout, makes a point to workshop participants. Picture: SUPPLIED/FCLC

Some 50 participants who were part of a week-long workshop earlier this month were introduced to an innovative investment appraisal tool called ‘Cigar Box’.

Facilitated by the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC) and supported by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Netherlands, and the Fiji Government through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), the workshop that was held in Suva aimed to educate farmers on improving their analysis of agriculture.

In a statement, FCLC chairman Simon Cole said as farmers were not usually recordkeepers, it was difficult to gather accurate data that could assist them in their business.

“The Cigar Box model really starts to improve our analysis of agriculture as it analyses the value chain, from the farmer to the processor, to the exporter and to the retailer,” Mr Cole said.

Meanwhile, Agricultural economist Olivier van Lieshout from the Netherlands, who is the inventor of the Cigar Box tool, said he developed the Cigar Box tool because of the need to know exactly where the bottlenecks were in the value chain.

“I called it the Cigar Box because a person should be able to make all of his/her important business decisions with calculations written on a 10 by 10 size box, which ultimately, gives a farmer a bankable proposal,” Mr Lieshout said.

“If you need more space, already you don’t know what you are doing. If you’re unable to concentrate on the most important points, and you need more space to write down and convince people that your business is viable, then you’re already wrong,” he said.

Mr Lieshout was in Fiji to specially train master trainers on its specifics, through FCLC, and he was also the workshop’s key facilitator.

The workshop was held from March 16-19, 2020.

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