Connecting to Markets
Varuniya lives with her elderly mother, her husband and three children in Kanthansamy Nagar, a village in Sri Lanka. Varuniya and her family recently returned from India, where they had been living in the refugee camp for more than 20 years. When returning to their home, they found a lot had changed: their land had been neglected and was now overgrown, the soil was now different and there were new quality requirements that hadn’t been in place before and their network of buyers from twenty years ago no longer existed.
Varuniya has 2 acres of land, enough to provide her with a good income, but she struggled to get the right price and produce at the quality that buyers expect. She hasn’t been trained on any of the new requirements and with the changing weather patterns, is unable to prevent losses in her harvest.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
We want to work with 105 small-scale farmers just like Varuniya to build thriving farming businesses and be able to compete in the market place – by helping them to develop new practices, technologies and access to strong financial products. We want to support farmers like Varuniya to invest money each season and to protect themselves against losses by taking out insurance. By doing so, we will be providing farmers of Kanthansamy Nagar with a complete bundle of services to be competitive and successful in the market place and help them break down the barriers that keep them excluded.
WHY WE ARE DOING IT
There are a number of benefits to helping Varuniya and her fellow farmers in Kanthansamy Nagar to develop their businesses. By identifying and training these farmers in new practices, technologies and techniques, they will be able to improve the productivity of their farms and better compete in the market place. They will be able to get a better price for their produce and enjoy a more reliable long-term income. Through a stable and growing income they will be in charge of their own destiny, able to make decisions for the improved well being of their families.
HOW WE ARE DOING IT
We will begin this project by running a workshop with the members of the village about their farming business to identify the key barriers and challenges they face. We will then work with companies, governments, think tanks and other experts to identify the technologies and practices that will overcome these barriers. Once we have done so, we will invite 105 farmers to self-select for training in the new technologies or practices. We will work closely with these farmers over a 5-year period to ensure that they are effectively implementing the training and monitoring the increase in the quality of their produce, the productivity of their farm and the increase in their income.
While we do this, we will simultaneously improve the financial literacy of farmers so they better understand when loans are required and how to select the right financial provider. We will connect farmers with a range of providers and work with them so they can access the provider best suited to them. Accessing financial providers is essential not only for loans but also for insurance purposes. We will work with farmers to educate them on the need for insurance practices, identify the right insurance product and providers and improve the financial literacy of farmers so they can continue to select the best option for them.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Building thriving business farms in Kanthansamy Nagar costs as little as $349 per farmer; only $78 a year over the 5-year programme.