SFSA’s mission as a non-profit organization is to make a difference for smallholders in developing countries. By helping them become more professional growers, its projects achieve added value for rural communities. SFSA focuses on “pre-commercial farmers”, who typically own less than two hectares.
Throughout its first decade, the Syngenta Foundation has kept to the principle of building partnerships as the basis for successful agricultural development. “We have worked hard to find the right partners for each individual project,” says Executive Director Marco Ferroni. “SFSA is now increasingly recognized as a center of expertise in the creation of successful public-private partnerships and these are vital for the future of smallholder agriculture.”
From the outset, SFSA has been committed to lasting improvement in food security for those suffering from poverty. “We continue to address that challenge very specifically in each local setting, focusing strongly on raising smallholders’ yields and linking them to markets,” Ferroni emphasizes. “We also maintain a strong independent voice in the agricultural development debate worldwide.”
Since 2001, the Foundation has considerably expanded its reach, both thematically and geographically. Current projects run in ten countries across three continents. Maliand Kenyaremain very important – Berne University recently published a history of more than 30 years’ commitment to Mali by SFSA and its predecessor foundations. In both nations, the Foundation has started new projects while adding new countries of focus such as Indonesiaand Peru. “Our teams in Indiaand around the world serve numbers of smallholders barely imaginable when the Foundation started operations,” says Ferroni. “Our projects now also feature additional technologies, such as mobile telephony, to a degree that would have been hard to predict a decade ago.”
So what can we expect to see in the next ten years? One thing is certain: today’s challenges to food security will all continue, and many will intensify. World population, for example, is expected to rise by about a further billion by 2021, and demand for calories and protein even more sharply. Smallholders will still be absolutely essential producers of food, and their success will remain crucial for many economies. “The Syngenta Foundation intends to continue helping these farmers improve productivity and gain better access to markets,” declares Marco Ferroni. “We believe that is a task worth pursuing for many anniversaries to come.”
Learn more about SFSA here.
The Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Review is available here.