Although 80% of the world’s food is made by smallholder farmers they are facing the multiple challenges of changing climates, volatile markets and aging populations. Despite this only 15% of farmers trained by traditional methods go on to make changes on their farms. Top-down methods often fail to promote farmers as leaders, and boost their natural entrepreneurialism. This leaves them unable to make the lasting changes needed to counteract these challenges.
Producers Direct is an award winning organisation that is owned and led by smallholder farmers. Since 2009, we have been working to pioneer a new model – one centred on smallholders taking leadership and developing innovative solutions to the challenges they face and provide an opportunity for smallholders to transform their farms into sustainable businesses.
What makes Producers Direct different?
Producers Direct was established to be an organisation led by farmers, for farmers and we’ve seen first-hand the wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise which exists in underserved rural farming communities. Our model and approach focuses on creating opportunities for smallholders to share, build upon and strengthen this knowledge and expertise. Farmer ownership and leadership is central to activities on the ground, our governance and strategy.
With 50% of our board members being smallholder farmers themselves, we trust our board to lead our strategy and vision, and keep us accountable to our network of smallholders. The international network of Promoter Farmers, operating through farmer-led Centres of Excellence, helps to deliver a successful adoption and implementation of farming techniques, capable of transforming lives. This success is directly linked to training designed and delivered by peers.
Key aspects of the Producers Direct model:
- Farmer leadership and expertise are central to design and delivery of all activities
- Peer-to-peer services are delivered in a mix of in-person and digital support to increase the rates of adoption and maximise impact.
- Development of a global network of self-sustaining, revenue generating businesses led by cooperative partner organisations.
- Leveraging of investment in farmer-led programming through co-financing and payments from smallholder farmers.