A New Model for Agriculture Extension in Peru: Leveraging Business Principles to Reach the Nation’s Smallholder Farmers

A New Model for Agriculture Extension in Peru: Leveraging Business Principles to Reach the Nation’s Smallholder Farmers

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Posted
9/26/13

In 2000, the government of Peru stopped employing agricultural extension officers after seeing poor returns on its investment. While the private sector partially filled the gap, smallholder farmers in remote Andes regions Peru were left with limited access to quality extension services. CARE Peru has worked since 2004 to test models to fill this gap with incredible results.

In remote areas, where poverty levels reach 71 percent among rural farmers, CARE has pioneered the development of a model for private sector agricultural extension. By engaging young people from local communities (often college or university graduates) and training them in business skill and agricultural practices, CARE has developed a model through which smallholder farmers can access high-quality agricultural information as well as the seeds and fertilizers they need.

The model has demonstrated significant achievements, benefiting both smallholder farmers and the young entrepreneurs, which are titled “Proveedores de Asistencia Técnica” or PATs. Twenty-five PATs have doubled their incomes on average to $5,323.00 annually and brokered deals with additional input providers to sell a wider range of products. Farmers are now benefiting from increased choice and higher productivity.

The impact does not end there, however. Using our market engagement approach, CARE has worked closely with the government throughout the testing of the PAT model. As a result, in 2012, the government of Peru officially recognized PATs as an important stakeholder in national agricultural extension.

PATs have now been linked to the National Institute for Agricultural Research, who provides access to new technological advances that can be passed along to farmers. The government is also planning to fund training of additional PATs to expand their reach.

With approximately 1.1 million smallholders living in the Andes regions of Peru, the PAT model is poised to significantly impact rural poverty, drawing on a relatively small direct investment by CARE and our partners. This is the power of CARE’s market engagement approach in action.

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