The core of Producers Direct’s model is its Centre of Excellence network. Each Centre of Excellence (CoE) is a farmer-run enterprise hosted by a smallholder producer organization. Our goal is for each CoE to serve as a ‘one stop shop’, providing a complete bundle of support – including training, funding, market access and data – in a blend of in-person and digital services.
In-person services are primarily delivered through a network of locally based Promoter Farmers – who run demonstration sites as living, learning classrooms where innovations can be tested, developed and passed on to other farmers. By working with local farming, youth and women’s groups each CoE is adaptable to regional contexts and can be combined and adapted in various ways to meet the individual needs of each producer organization and their farmers.
By combining this with digital data and information tools the CoEs can ensure that all producer organisations and farmers can benefit by being part of a global network. By crowdsourcing key farming knowledge through WeFarm; accessing farmer-led credit fund; developing farmer-owned market opportunities; and accessing applicable data, digital services are backing up vibrant local systems to ensure farmers and their organisations can tackle the barriers to boost their resilience, productivity and livelihoods.