What is farmer stewardship?

Farmer stewardship refers to the collection of initiatives and measures undertaken by IFA, national fertilizer associations, and by member companies to promote best practices and capacity building among farmers through training and extension services.

Through these farmer stewardship initiatives, the industry works together with farmers to advance food and nutrition security and productivity increase while safeguarding biodiversity and improving access to inputs and know-how for both small and large holders. 

Farmer stewardship is central to the 4R nutrient stewardship initiative, promoting the right source, right product, right rate and right time of crop nutrient application.

Rikin Gandhi is the Chief Executive Officer of Digital Green, a non-governmental organization whose interests include sustainable agriculture and technology for socio-economic development in India and Ethiopia.

It supports established extension systems and other partners to improve livelihoods of small, marginal farmers through the targeted production and dissemination of locally relevant agricultural information via participatory video and mediated instruction.

Extending agro-dealers networks

According to the evaluation report of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on IFDC’s West Africa project, "Combating Soil Fertility Decline," the single most significant factor that has an influence on agricultural sustainability in the region is accessibility to fertilizer. The report further asserted that if fertilizers are readily available and affordable, farmers will try to use it, and for those who have been trained in advanced technologies will continue to use fertilizer.

Agro-dealers play a key role in linking smallholder farmers to input and output markets. The IFAD-funded EADN project focuses on Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and seeks to improve agro-dealer access to modern production technologies and yield-enhancing inputs such as fertilizers, improved seed and crop protection products as well as support smallholder farmers to increase their productivity. Innovation and knowledge transfer are key elements of the EADN activities.

The EADN approach aims to increase the number of markets served by agro-dealers, increasing level of participation in these markets by the dealers and increasing their technical expertise so they can be of greater service to their farmer customers. These actions spur customer demand, influencing promotional activities and expansion of agro-dealers’ services.

Through the EADN, Agro-dealers associations are formed. Linkages among national and regional agro-dealer associations will improve member’s buying power, access to loans and address cross border issues and better serve inland markets.

These associations have active participation in assessing market situations, assist in human capacity building and introduction of new technologies to the farmers. Thus, developing strong and active agro-input dealer networks and associations can be a boost to effective last-mile delivery.

IFDC photo gallery on EADN
The Current State of Rural Farming in Uganda, Kenneth Katungisa, Uganda National Farmers Federation 

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