Women's Economic Empowerment in Agriculture Knowledge Hub

Women's Economic Empowerment in Agriculture Knowledge Hub

Enterprise Development Programme (EDP)

The vision of Oxfam's Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) is to develop a model for supporting and investing in small and medium rural enterprises in places financial institutions do not reach.

EDP seeks to promote a different, more business-like approach to international development, more ambitious than conventional livelihoods initiatives and underpinned by robust commercial disciplines. It is, in effect, a social venture capital fund that identifies, nurtures and invests in small and growing businesses throughout the developing world – providing a mix of finance, training and advice.

There are three key elements to the EDP approach:

  • Agriculture. Studies have shown that investing in small-scale agriculture delivers more - in terms of reducing poverty - than other sectors. At the same time, food and agriculture sectors offer high growth opportunities.
  • Women. Women in rural areas often don't get the same opportunities as men, even though they are business-savvy, and do most of the work on the farm and in the home. Our enterprises ensure that significant opportunities are created for women, from production to marketing, and from the farm to enterprise management.
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Whilst microfinance offers great opportunities, evidence suggests that it is not the most effective way to reduce poverty and drive economic growth in the long-run. EDP helps promising businesses to reach SME size, so they can more easily ensure market access for thousands of farmers while also achieving economies of scale.

Since its launch in the year 2008, EDP has supported 14 enterprises in 12 countries and in markets as diverse as dairy, vanilla, edible oils, sisal, vegetables and micro-finance. In 2012, enterprises’ sales grew by 50% on average, and reached a total of 28,000 farmers, 37% of whom were women smallholders (up from 32% the year before).


The EDP community includes  five members of the EDP Global and Regional Team and 16 members in the EDP Country Teams.

Have a look at EDP blogs, discussions, events, case studies and resources.

Read the EDP country summaries




Find out more about EDP on Oxfam’s Policy & Practice website.

Read more about the GEM Programme

Quick Links



© 2020   Oxfam. Created by Helen Moreno.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service