Empowering young people to play an active role in agriculture with Agri-Entrepreneurs program
Syngenta Foundation, in collaboration with Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP), Government of Andhra Pradesh launched the ‘Agri-Entrepreneur’ program across Anantpur and Chittoor in 2017. Both districts feature on a list of 100 agriculturally distressed districts across India. The program support farmers in overcoming challenges that impact their yield and profitability.
The model follows a decentralized approach in empowering young people in rural areas to play an active role in agriculture development in their region. An AE brings together services such as credit and market linkage, access to high-quality input and crop advisory for a group of farmers. The AE has four critical functions, i.e. providing better quality inputs, knowledge and crop advisory, linking farmers to markets and facilitating credit. They acts as a business correspondent for banks and facilitates agri-credit to small farmers. AEs derive their revenue by providing the above services to farmers.
To give an impetus to profitable farming, 89 trained Agrientrepreuners are currently serving over 10,000 smallholders in the two districts. They have been trained for over a year as a part of the program. Under the program, irrigation, crop multiplication and other farming practices form a part of the training curriculum.
Mr. Muniratnam – District Project Manager, SERP says – ‘High quality seeds, pesticides and fertilizers are inaccessible to smallholder farmers. Credit support alone is not adequate; farmers are not receiving a profitable price. High production leads to a drop in prices and less production leads to higher prices. However, inefficient crop planning makes this a gamble for farmers where farmers end up losing. To come over these roadblocks, Syngenta Foundation India along with SERP FPOS runs the Agri-Entrepreneur program.’
The farmers had no awareness about technology. Input were not available locally, the farmers had to travel for 10-15 kms to Chittoor. Having agri-entrepreneurs in the village have been very beneficial to the farmers. They suggest the correct pesticides to the farmers. This reduces their cost and makes them visit the agri-entrepreneurs frequently. The AE’s also sell cattle feed at a lower price as compared to the other retailers. They also share prescribed dosage of pesticides with the farmers. The aim of the Agri-entrepreneurs is to serve the farmers rather than only make profit. The turnover has now reached upto 2 lakhs per month.
R. Hanumanthu, Agri-entrepreneur says – ‘I regularly use the digital kits, I train farmers at least once or twice a week using the projector. I cover crops such as potato, tomato and green chillies.’
This program is mutually beneficial for both agri-entrepreneurs and the farmers.
Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and Syngenta India Limited established Syngenta Foundation India (SFI) as an independent not-for-profit organization in 2005. From the outset, SFI’s mission was to have small and marginal farmers participate in agricultural development by improving their access to better seeds and other inputs, increasing their knowledge of agronomic practices, establishing ease of access to credit and providing systematic market linkages. The main objective has remained to educate small and marginal farmers on the latest developments suited to their local needs, and thus ultimately improve their income.
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