When we began, hiking out to a field to understand farmers’ challenges was a time-consuming but essential exercise. Years later, the network we’ve grown and sustainable practices we’ve pioneered with our partners have become a competitive advantage.
Enriching the root of our value chain with training and tools has created sustainable supply and growth opportunities for our clients and improved the livelihoods of 10,000 farming families.
Today, the lessons we’ve learned in identifying and overcoming cultural, geographic, language, and technical hurdles are a service offering. The knowledge we’ve institutionalized can connect tomorrow’s marketers to the billion farmers across the globe in a win/win/win relationship that transcends yesterday’s barriers.
It takes local expertise to apply global standards locally. Our "Training the Trainers Program" trains field officers who live and breathe local idiosyncrasies to guide farmers in the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. The 170+ training events we've run represent our commitment to a structured holistic program imparting best practices that thrive in the local context.
Globally, agricultural practices have come a long way. But for the insights to translate into increased yields, education needs to undergo a similar revolution. Good news: Helping current best practices find a foothold in remote geographies, amidst language, culture, farming tradition challenges, without internet access or consistent electricity, has helped us develop a program that lets new approaches take root anywhere. The Marcatus Mobile Education Platform (MMEP) delivers sustainable best practices to farming families where and when they can best absorb it, in a voice they recognize. The platform has three pillars: videos, digital reference materials, and training events. But the magic is in how they're delivered. The videos feature local farmers sharing proven practices on their own farms in their local language and are shown to entire villages at training events that include facilitated group discussions led by field teams. And our Master Digital Textbook, containing the aggregate knowledge of 20+ industry partners, NGOs and ethnographic researchers is accessible via tablet for reference on demand. We aim to teach 10,000 farming families sustainable practices by 2018. WATCH and learn more about the Marcatus Mobile Education Platform (MMEP).
What if you could suddenly increase your access and training to an essential portion of your workforce? Our materials and the way they're disseminated are designed to reach and engage the women who play a pivotal role on smallholder farms. From identifying and featuring inspirational local women as experts in training videos to designing accessible training materials and events, empowering your entire workforce is never easy, but always worthwhile. Our innovative training model won a 2016 Guardian Sustainable Business Award for Diversity & Inclusion for empowering women farmers through education. We aim to have 20,000 women farmers trained in sustainable agricultural practices by 2018. WATCH and learn more about how we are empowering women through education .
You know who's more productive? Healthy people. People who have the energy to get to work and who don't need to spend their time taking care of sick family members. So we've developed comprehensive programming to turn good health and hygiene practices into habits. Our approach combines educational materials, checklists to encourage behaviour change, kitchen garden seeds for dietary diversity, and a series of household interventions over the crop season. We aim to teach 10,000 families (about 54,000 people) about health and hygiene. WATCH and learn more about the Seeds of Prosperity Campaign.
Water is an increasingly valuable resource. We can and should use less. The good news is that today's water management systems and technology do more than save water. They increase yields. They reduce weeding requirements. They reduce the amount of fertilizers needed. They make healthier and more resilient crops. Healthier plants are more resistant to pests, disease, and drought conditions. If only more farmers knew about the opportunities. We have programs that teach farmers about these innovations and their benefits, introduce them to products they can afford and run with, and help them find financing. The result is more consistent yields, lower costs, and correspondingly more confident clients. We have already close to 2 billion litres of water saved through our programs.
It takes nature thousands of years to create healthy topsoil. The kind teeming with the nutrients and life that yields healthy produce consistently. It's the foundation upon which farming families and businesses are built. So we work with local and global experts to find manageable ways to enrich it. For example, we now have over 4,550 farming families trained in our multi-layered scientific composting method.
Each growing region brings its own challenges. Turning challenges into opportunities requires being prepared to learn, innovate and pivot. Understanding how global supply practices can connect to and enrich regional growers means encountering, mapping, and then developing locally specific solutions to surmount barriers.
As with soil, what you put into your value chain determines its yield.