Building capacity of agri entrepreneurs

Small farmers in Asia and Africa continue to remain under distress with suboptimal incomes. One of the major challenges has been inadequate access and inefficient delivery of technologies and necessary agricultural services and inputs. This is defined by many as a ‘last mile delivery issue’ from the technology developers (companies) point of view or ‘first mile access’ from the technology adopters (farmers) point of view. This last mile delivery challenge is common in many sectors but gets accentuated in agriculture as small farmers struggle with access to information, access to financial services, quality inputs, mechanization, and physical access to the technologies, access to know-how and foremostly access to markets for increased production. Improving efficiencies in the last-mile delivery of services and products could transform agriculture and incomes of small farmers. 

Syngenta Foundation has conceptualized, piloted, standardized and scaled-up a last mile delivery model through rural entrepreneurs. In this initiative, we engage unemployed rural youth in villages and train them to become agri-entrepreneurs (AEs). These AEs provide a single window to multiple agriculture services, including agronomic training and advisory to 100-1500 smallholder farmers in their own village. This initiative aims to create a network of service providers providing end-to-end solutions that can respond holistically to the needs of disadvantaged smallholder farmers.  

Agri-entrepreneur model has now scaled up in 8 countries that Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture is operating in Asia and Africa to anchor 10,000 agri-entrepreneurs and engage 1.5 million small farmers. In partnership with IFC, Bayer and other organizations, we are planning to establish a Global AE Academy that will act as ‘Technical Assistance Unit’ for promoting agri-entrepreneurship across Asia and Africa. Any organization interested in developing agri-entrepreneurs in a country can reach out to Global AE Academy. The academy will provide the common operating systems, technical assistance, digital tools and in some cases trained manpower to launch agri-entrepreneurs in that country.  

This is an ambitious initiative to launch half a million entrepreneurs by 2030 and directly engage 100 million small farmers in Asia and Africa. This initiative intends to achieve two major objectives i.e. create employment and sustainable livelihood for 0.5 million rural youth and increase income of 100 million farmers and enabling climate resilience in them.