Rooting for smart agriculture
The world´s roughly 450 million smallholder farmers are disproportionately exposed to climate shocks and least well placed, both financially and technologically, to prepare for and respond to them. To stabilise and improve their livelihoods and contribute to climate and food security solutions, such farmers must reduce their sensitivity to weather shocks in the short term and increase their capacity to adapt to a changing climate in the long term.
Agricultural enterprises, or farmer collectives, are often the primary or only source of agronomic extension services for smallholders in Africa, Asia and Latin America. When they function well, these enterprises can help farmers adopt more sustainable practices by providing market access and agricultural extension services such as agronomic training. In the process, they can also improve livelihoods and build resilience to climate change. Yet most agricultural enterprises lack the necessary resources and knowledge to deliver optimal extension services, even in the highly-developed coffee sector.
With support from the Swiss Re Foundation, Root Capital will strengthen the capacity of 30 small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises in Latin America to deliver effective agronomic extension services to their farmer members. It trains enterprises to collect and analyse farm-level data and how to use this information to improve their agronomic extension programmes for farmers, including agronomic training and access to inputs such as fertiliser and farming tools.
GOALS AND EXPECTED IMPACT
The project aims to improve the enterprises' ability to create shared value by building resilience and productivity at the farmer level. This, in turn, will translate into more efficient and higher-quality production, better market access and higher prices for the enterprise and a more sustainable supply chain for everyone.
Beneficiaries include the roughly 12 000 farmer members of the 30 targeted agricultural enterprises in six Latin American countries – Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru – as well as the farmers’ families and communities.