IDH has joined Agri-Entrepreneur Growth Foundation (AEGF) as a core partner, along with Tata Trusts and Syngenta Foundation India, to support farmer livelihood through improved access to inputs and services.
IDH has partnered with AEGF with the ambition to build on its outreach to over 2500 villages through a program that has been designed as an alternate model for sustainable engagement with the smallholder farmer at the village level.
Small farmers in India are generally trapped in a vicious cycle, by low productivity, high input costs, lack of credit and market connectivity and as result, tend to be in subsistence farming mode. AEGF implements Agri-Entrepreneur (AE) model, which has been designed as an integrated approach to address these issues and increase smallholder income through improved productivity, market linkage and access to finance.
Under the AE model, a rural youth is trained as an AE to handhold 150-250 farmers in a cluster of 4-5 villages and act as a one-stop resource provider for the agricultural needs of small and marginal farmers including quality agricultural inputs, crop advisory, supporting market linkages and facilitating access to finance to the farmers.
For IDH, the AE model is being integrated into existing programs in India across three commodities – cotton, spices, and tea, in Maharashtra, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana covering over 500 villages. So far, within the IDH programs, the model has established:
- 152 AEs in Assam
- 28 AEs in Telangana
- 21 AEs in Andhra Pradesh
- 50 AEs in Maharashtra
Overall the AE program has over 3000 Agri Entrepreneurs active across the country. The end objective is to develop a self-sustaining model for farmer capacity building. IDH will also build out on this pilot engagement to develop a similar framework for roll out in key African Markets.
AEGF targets to set up 100,000 entrepreneurs across India, reaching out to 15-20 million smallholder farmers in the coming five years.