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.
Ivo Mello – Confederacion de Asociaciones de Productores para una Agricultura Sustentable (CAAPAS)
From the late 80s to the early 90s, the farmers of Mercosul Countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) faced difficult economic conditions. As a result of external and internal factors, many governments in the region were unable to maintain agriculture subsidies, and farm economies were negatively impacted by high inflation levels.
Despite these difficulties, farmers in the Mercosul region have created innovative mechanisms to support production and the adoption of best practices. For example, adoption of no till has greatly increased in the region. No till allowed farmers to make savings while providing opportunities for good stewardship. As farmers improved their knowledge and practices, their experiences helped to feed back into industry, state research and advisory agencies to further improve the technique and scientific knowledge linked to no till. In order to bring the different actors together, no till farmers associations were created. They helped organize farmers and coordinate the private sector and state agencies to plan successful strategies.
In South Brazil, the case of “Friends of The Earth” clubs is also famous. In the early 90s there were many such clubs spread over the cropping regions, helping farmers liaise with other stakeholders and making agronomic information available to their members on how to adopt no till practices. The clubs played a key role in making no till accessible to farmers by breaking down the information and making a new practice understandable, resulting in improved profitability for farmers. During difficult economic times, farmers who had adopted no till through the clubs were able to better adapt.