AMEA: Unleashing the potential of smallholder farmers by professionalizing farming

AMEA: Unleashing the potential of smallholder farmers by professionalizing farming

in News

AMEA launched its Agribusiness Leadership Program

September 28, 2016—Members of the Agribusiness Market Ecosystem Alliance (AMEA) gathered in the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss how the world’s 500 million smallholder farmers could become part of the solution for agribusiness market inefficiencies. Working with smallholder farmers holds great potential but is incredibly challenging. Smallholder farmers often lack the technical and business capacity, farm inputs or access to finance that is necessary to produce high-quality agriculture products consistently. And food companies and financial institutions are reluctant to work with smallholder farmers because they have trouble determining whether such farmers would be viable, credit-worthy partners. AMEA’s Global Standardized Quality System, which aims to build the business management capacity of smallholder farmers in a quantifiable way and link more professional farmers to market opportunities, directly addresses such challenges. Two key building blocks of the quality system are now available to AMEA members and are designed to be used together as part of an integrated package.

To improve capacity among smallholder farmers, AMEA will use training materials developed by IFC for its Agribusiness Leadership Program (ALP), which is a program that provides ways to assess, train and coach smallholder farmers. This 6- to 24-month program aims to strengthen the professionalism and productivity of smallholder farmers and their organizations so that they become more attractive to companies and organizations throughout the supply chain. To accurately assess smallholder farmers’ capacity and professionalism and encourage agribusinesses, farm input providers and others along the supply chain to work with smallholder farmers, AMEA will be using a set of assessment tools developed by SCOPEInsight, the leading provider of assessment and analysis tools that measure farmer professionalism. Professionalizing farmers may not be a panacea for agribusiness market inefficiencies, but it is certainly a step towards improving the livelihood of the smallholder farmers that can be part of the solution.

Watch the video of the webinar with IFC and AMEA's founding partners

By being more professional, farmers will be able to increase levels of production, provide a source of livelihood, create jobs and offer an attractive business case for financial institutions, markets and service providers.

Lucas Simons Founder and CEO of SCOPEinsight