As part of GCARD 2010, Farming First hosted a session entitled ‘Better Benefiting the Poor through Public-Private Partnerships for Innovation and Action.’ Within the discussions, our panel of experts addressed several case studies that present different ways that partnerships have helped to empower smallholder farmers around the world.
Dr. Claudio Barriga – Agronegocios Lantinoamericanos Chile Ltda
The seed industry has been an important contributor in the improvement of general agricultural practices by small farmers. By working closely with growers, seed companies have helped build capacity and support farmers to meet quality standards.
Vegetable seeds, especially when hybrids are produced, involve manual pollination, a highly specialized work for which people have to be trained. Small farmers involved in this type of production normally work with family members, and occasionally with hired labour. As part of the production contract with the farmer, seed companies provide training to farmers as well as the funding needed to move ahead with the production cycle.
Harvesting of the crops is done on a coordinated basis with the seed company, who – depending on the vegetable species – provide the necessary equipment that collects the seeds during harvest.
Economic results of seed production have shown significant increases in rural family income and a rational land use, which, in some cases, has allowed for the production of two crops per year. Partnerships between small farmers and seed companies are enabling farmers to access new innovations that are providing important economic benefits.