Our programs help stabilize the poorest farmers by reducing their risks to outside shocks, whether outside shocks like those from extreme weather or market volatility or internal shocks caused by a health crisis or food shortage. To be prepared, farm households need some form of financial security, health protection, access to weather information, and tools for adapting to extreme and hard-to-predict events.
“I have a 4.5 hectare farm which I inherited from my parents. My plants are coconuts, mangoes and other fruits. Between them, I have intercropped cacao trees. Now, I am part of FarmerLink and it gives me continuous [text alerts] about farming…. it’s good to take all the precautions from the text messages. The plants didn’t dry up because of the ground cover and regular watering. Thanks God, our cacao plants survived. They are still under the coconut trees.” –Christina Florentino
In the Philippines, more than three million coconut smallholder farmers supply a multi-billion-dollar export industry. Yet, they are among the poorest households in the country. Grameen Foundation developed FarmerLink, using digital technology and field agents to provide farmers with complimentary resources: agricultural training via SMS on their mobile phones, connections to high-value markets, support for organic certification, extreme weather alerts, training in financial management, and access to financing.
At the end an 18-month pilot, FarmerLink had engaged 27,557 farmers with SMS campaigns containing good agricultural practices, cash management practices and pest and disease information. The farmers who received the mobile-enabled extension services adopted six out of nine crucial agricultural practices to improve their productivity. More than 3,000 farmers, including Christina, were able to protect their crops against a prolonged drought through following FarmerLink advice.
Partners included the government’s Philippine Coconut Authority, coconut exporters Franklin Baker and Nutiva, the microfinance-oriented People’s Bank of Caraga, and others. As of May 2018, the pilot has concluded, and the Philippine Coconut Authority is developing plans to extend the use of FarmerLink more widely in the country.
Watch this video to find out more about FarmerLink.
“We must not rely on the man to flourish. The Savings Groups open our minds, bring us light. I invite women to join groups to share ideas, to have dignity, to keep their heads up, to manage their daily problems of clothing, food and others. Today, I give thanks to God.” – Sophie, savings group member
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in Africa, with 44.5 percent of the population living on less than $1.90 (PPP) per day and 64 percent deprived of adequate levels of education, health services and overall living standards. Climate-related hazards such as drought and flooding exacerbate hunger and sickness, and climate change is projected to continue to decrease food availability and threaten agricultural livelihoods of rural Burkinabé, making entire communities vulnerable to external shocks.
It is in this context that the Building Resilience in Burkina Faso project has reached nearly 80,000 savings group members, helping them to build their capacity in the face of disasters through training on climate resilient agriculture, nutrition and financial services.
Using savings groups as a platform, this program links women farmers to services and financing for climate-smart agriculture, strengthens knowledge and skills on better food utilization and nutrition practices, and improves resilience to food security shocks through increased savings and assets.
Savings group members learn about agricultural information specific to the fragile ecosystem that supports their farms. They are trained in affordable conservation techniques, practices to improve their yields, and business skills to better market their crops. As a group, they have access to suppliers and supplies that would otherwise be challenging for an individual woman farmer to get – fertilizers, pesticides, and improved seeds.
Nutrition education enables group members to make the most of available foods for the long-term health of their families and, critically, during lean times. Savings and loans are generated and managed by the group, which is also offered access to formal financial services through mobile banking.
Building Resilience in Burkina Faso is a project of Freedom from Hunger, a supporting organization to Grameen Foundation in Burkina Faso.