Syngenta will carry out a three-year program to empower women smallholders to become more productive, profitable farmers. In Year One, Syngenta will convene a series of community workshops with its partners targeting 300 women in 10 communities in 10 different countries. These workshops will focus on discerning important pathways to farmer productivity. The workshops aim to have 30 participants each and take place on Syngentas existing demonstration farms.
Year Two will focus on developing collaborative interventions with the project partners, communities, and governments that address the challenges identified through the workshops. These interventions will be informed by Year One workshop outcomes, and may address impediments such as access to extension services or business training that builds on the key role women play in farm and financial decision making. They may help create local women networks to drive informal knowledge exchange and support better farming and decision making including crop choices, agronomy practices and access to technology and marketing. They may support new financial products and services or education and access to opportunities in agriculture that exist off the farm. Subsequently, Syngenta will explore a virtual learning concept to help reach more women and eventually establish a women farmers network.
Year Three will entail a full years implementation of interventions designed in Year Two. These interventions will be implemented to allow for impact measurement and planning for scaling up successful learnings. By the end of Year Three, it is expected that more than 3,000 women will have been reached by the program, whether through agronomic training, access to cropping inputs or other interventions.
Syngenta is committed to fully fund this three-year program and bring its agronomic, business and marketplace expertise to the work. Implementing partners will be asked to bring their expertise in convening groups for meaningful discussions and advising how best to take successful interventions to scale sustainably.
Syngenta currently has a network of more than 3,600 Good Growth Plan reference farms in 28 developing markets and 15 developed market countries. These farms will serve as the convening forum for providing agronomic services, training, and education to women farmers. Together with the expertise of implementing partners, the program will have a powerful ability to improve smallholder farming yields and livelihoods and ensure that women farmers, especially smallholder farmers are at the center of determining what can best help them achieve their agricultural potential in their respective communities.
Phase One: An initial test of the concept will be conducted in communities in Brazil and India in 2016. Based on these learnings, the workshop design will be further developed with the project partners and brought to communities in the other eight countries. Deliverables include workshop design, organization, and execution of the workshops.
Phase Two: Once the workshops have been completed, the findings will be evaluated with the project partners. Community intervention programs (and measurements) will be designed and tested with the aim to have interventions tailored for local communities in place by 2018. Deliverables include community intervention plans and execution of those plans with local partners.
Phase Three: This phase consists of monitoring a full year of interventions being deployed and assessing a full-year impact. This phase is community specific and will start once the interventions are in place for three to four months. Deliverables include an assessment tool and an impact assessment for each community.
Investment in rural economies has immense potential to improve national productivity and output in developing country contexts. By one measure, rural development has the potential to unlock $2 trillion of annual rural output across the globe by 2030, boosting baseline rural GDP of $14.8 trillion by 13.4% to $16.8 trillion. (Economist Intelligence Unit 2015). A major part of the solution has to come through empowering women.
A significant component of equitable rural development lies in empowering entrepreneurial women farmers who are often hampered by administrative and cultural barriers to success. Women comprise the majority of smallholder farmers in most countries, yet face dramatically unequal access to extension services, financial services, markets, land tenure, and other resources critical to productivity and profitability in agriculture. As just one example, a recent FAO study across 97 countries found that female farmers receive just five percent of all extension services, representing an enormous unmet gap in knowledge delivery.
While a number of interventions targeted at female smallholders exist today, many struggle to meet their objectives due in part to unique barriers that women face that may prevent them from attending trainings, accessing services, or utilizing new products. Efforts to empower women in agriculture must take into account these unique needsfor example, trainings should be conducted at times that accommodate the schedules and many responsibilities that women carry in their communities. In order to understand these needs, women need to be involved in the planning process of these interventions.
Programs must begin with a participatory approach that enables communities to analyze their conditions to help design the program. It is also vital to involve men in the intervention in order break down the discrimination and gender barriers that prevent women from unleashing their full economic potential.
Syngenta seeks to find partners with experience in convening community-based workshops with women, and partners with experience in impact assessments on a community level. For Phase Two, resources will be better defined during the Phase One workshops when the community challenges and subsequent interventions have been identified.
Syngenta offers its experience in providing growers with technical knowledge and training on use of agricultural inputs and tools and sustainability practices; its existing demonstration farm network and/or Good Growth Plan reference farms; its experience with the implementation of the Good Growth Plan, including measurements; and a commitment to fully fund this three-year program.