Smallholders FAQ


Smallholder farmers and their livelihood

How does the company define smallholder farmers?

Worldwide, there are around 450 million smallholder farmers. We define smallholders as growers who face significant challenges in production and market access due to their limited land area or lack of infrastructure. They are generally dependent on their own and family labor. While this typically means growers with less than two hectares, each country and crop has its own particular dynamics and so we do not use a rigid global definition based on farm size.

In The Good Growth Plan, we have committed to empower smallholders by reaching 20 million small farmers and enabling them to increase their productivity by 50 percent by 2020.

How does Syngenta advocate the interests of smallholder farmers?

Smallholders are vitally important to addressing and achieving global food security. They constitute almost half the hungry people in the world even though they currently produce around 25% of global food and feed more than 2 billion people. We estimate that by 2050, even if large farmers can increase their production by 20%, smallholders will still need to more than double their production to feed the world.

Our experience has shown that an ongoing engagement with smallholder farmers on-the ground is needed to help them increasing productivity and profitability in a sustainable way. In The Good Growth Plan, we have committed to empower smallholders by reaching 20 million smallholders and enabling them to increase productivity by 50 percent by 2020. Smallholder farmers are an integral part of Syngenta’s customer base in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Half our sales come from emerging markets where smallholders dominate the farming market (80% and 95% respectively).

The Good Growth Plan is the enabling platform for many initiatives and projects that we have initiated and that we are supporting to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers across the world. Wherever we operate, we seek to make a positive contribution, as outlined in our Code of Conduct.

How does Syngenta engage with female smallholder farmers?

Women are often the backbone of rural economies around the world. Globally, they represent two-thirds of smallholders and 60 percent of all farmers. Research has shown that when women do have access to relevant services and other inputs, such as improved seeds and fertilizers, they will increase their yields substantially.

From the data gathered three years into The Good Growth Plan, we have learned that there is more to be done to address women better, and we are now taking a step towards exploring this opportunity. We have a significant number of women among our existing and potential customers and we understand that there are opportunities to tailor our outreach programs to serve them more effectively.

Are there initiatives developed by Syngenta and its partners that focus on improving smallholders' livelihoods?

There are more than 450 million smallholder farmers around the world who grow approximately 25% of global food. They economically support more than 2 billion people. However, the farm productivity is relatively low in these markets, and Syngenta is working to increase the productivity of more than 20 million smallholders by 50% by 2020. This is a key element of The Good Growth Plan.

In markets around the world, Syngenta develops and sells solutions that enable smallholder farmers to improve their productivity and profitability. Our solutions are tailored by crops and geographies. In Asia for example, our GroMoreTM program looks at rice growing through a paddy farmer's eyes. It provides growers with the right knowledge and technology in each key development phase of the crop (seedling - vegetative - reproductive - ripening). The knowledge is transferred to smallholders through farmer meetings, field days and other training platforms.

Along with better agronomy, trainings on the safe use of crop protection products, the cascading of know-how and technologies through self-help farmer organizations, and as a result of strategic partnerships, our solutions may include improved access to finance and provide better access to market.

Read more about Syngenta’s participation in public private partnerships under the World Economic Forum's New Vision for Agriculture, including the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor in Tanzania, Grow Africa, and Grow Asia (Vietnam, Indonesia). Additionally, Syngenta works together with public and private food chain partners in various smallholders initiatives in several key countries (Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua; Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Vietnam; Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal).

Improving smallholders' access to technology

How does Syngenta contribute to agricultural education programs or institutions to improve capacity building amongst farmers – and smallholders in particular?

Specific Syngenta initiatives demonstrate how we help farmers in all parts of the world to better protect their crops and seeds. We accompany our solutions with capacity building initiatives for our customers that range from the dissemination of good agronomy, training in the safe, efficient and responsible use of agrochemicals, to biodiversity protection measures and advice on how to improve access to markets.

We entered into partnerships with other organizations including academia, NGOs, industry associations, local organizations and product retailers, to scale up the initiatives and programs to support their agronomy programs. To this end, the company and its partners run trainings in agronomy and in the safe and responsible use of crop protection products.

Our training programs raise awareness and share knowledge. They are part of our commitments to empower smallholder farmers and to help people stay safe as outlined in The Good Growth Plan. Since we have started this ambitious program, we already have come a long way.

How does Syngenta market commercial varieties and other inputs that are appropriate to the needs of smallholders?

We focus on building and sharing knowledge by providing smallholders good agronomy practices, combined with safe use and environmental stewardship. We operate Syngenta Learning Centers where farmers can experience first-hand the solutions we are tailoring to meet the local needs.

Through our Lead Farmer Networks we can reach a greater number of smallholders within the same community. We support Lead Farmers through education programs on best practices on the farm. Thereafter, these Lead Farmers will disseminate the knowledge by demonstrating the solutions and providing advice to their neighbors.

How does the company leverage its strengths to increase access to seeds and other inputs for smallholder farmers?

Syngenta’s presence in over 90 countries brings us close to smallholder famers in any part of the world. We reach out to them via distribution channels, our sales force and through specifically designed projects. In The Good Growth Plan we have committed to reaching 20 million smallholder farmers by 2020 and enable them to increase productivity by 50%. Read more about our progress.

Smallholder farmers need skills and resources to prosper. To increase productivity and profitability in a sustainable way, we offer training on agronomic practices, and provide advice on appropriate products and technology and how to use these effectively. By equipping smallholders with appropriate solutions and expertise, we help them develop their farming practices to ensure increased food security for themselves and their communities.

Solutions that are specifically designed for smallholders range from: producing smaller, more affordable packs of products in Asia and Africa to establishing demonstration farms, Centers of Excellence and Learning Centers. We are developing solutions to help farmers gain access to market, finance and insurance, and we are offering bartering models. Furthermore, in a number of countries we are using a lead farmer model to disseminate best practices from a community’s lead farmer to the smallholders he is surrounded by. We are replicating this model and rolling it out across different smallholder environments in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

What programs has Syngenta in place to make seeds and inputs more affordable to smallholder farmers?

Syngenta tailors its solutions to the needs of its customers. Initiatives such as UWEZO develop and promote the introduction of small packages to help smallholder farmers get access to high quality seeds and crop protection products. While we pay particular attention to local languages, the use of pictograms helps overcome language and illiteracy issues and ensure growers understand how to safely use, store and dispose the product. Furthermore, the sachets are designed to withstand humidity changes. Read more about what Syngenta does to make sure its products are used safely

In The Good Growth Plan, we have committed to empower smallholders by reaching 20 million smallholders and enabling them to increase productivity by 50 percent by 2020. Increasing productivity is an important first step to raise smallholders above a subsistence level.

We want to understand what impact our products and services have on smallholder livelihoods. In numerous countries with smallholder customers, we have launched a series of independent Social Impact Assessments conducted by CIMS, Solidaridad and Market Probe. These assessments help us to understand e.g. whether our smallholder customers (compared to smallholders with similar growing conditions but who hardly use technology or attend trainings) have more income, whether their Progress Out Of Poverty Index is higher, whether they practice better soil and biodiversity management, and whether they know how to safely use crop protection products.

Social Impact Assessments depict a given social, economic and environmental situation. They also provide in-depth insights into how we can continuously improve our agronomic, environmental and safe-use trainings to enable smallholder farmers to achieve higher yields and better performance.

Read more about our projects and solutions and how we are progressing on achieving our commitments

Does Syngenta participate in the 'Access to Seeds' index?

The Access to Seeds Index is published every two years by the Access to Seeds Foundation, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Syngenta is part of the Access to Seeds Index. The index recognized the high level of transparency about how Syngenta engages with smallholder farmers across the world. With the launch of The Good Growth Plan Syngenta has committed to reach 20 million smallholder farmers and enable them to increase productivity by 50 percent by 2020. The Good Growth Plan is an integral part of our strategy and we report on progress regularly on our website.

Read more about how we do business with smallholder farmers and how we advocate their interests

Note: To add/edit content, please navigate through the Advanced Editing visible in the ribbon at the top.

Find it here

Expand all