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Published on 29/10/2016

Find and the Louis Dreyfus Foundation are supporting farming innovation

In October, the Louis Dreyfus Foundation – whose main objective is to promote projects contributing to the reduction of hunger and poverty by providing sustainable solutions to small-scale farmers – renewed its partnership with Find, the innovation fund for development. Find supports innovative projects implemented by GRET-Professionals for fair development.

Initiated in 2014, this partnership focuses on the development of sustainable agriculture and food security in South East Asia. During the first phase of the project, disadvantaged farmers in Myanmar and Cambodia tested various irrigation and growing techniques suitable for market gardening. In parallel, commercial opportunities were identified in order to facilitate their economic integration, especially by making the markets in the Irrawaddy Delta and the Siem Reap region accessible.

The results of this first pilot phase, which took place from December 2014 to September 2016, are encouraging: in all, over 1,000 farmers were trained in appropriate agro-ecological practices; 422 families gained access to new small-scale irrigation techniques (drip, foot pump, solar pump, raised water storage, sprinkler); and 235 farmers developed their vegetable sales and increased their income.

The participative evaluation method implemented by GRET makes it possible to analyse the direct impact of actions undertaken with small farmers who participated in the project. This is the case for U Han Aye for example, a Burmese farmer who lives in Ahlae Chaung:

“This winter, I applied what I had learnt during the training sessions provided by GRET’s team of agronomists to grow melons. I used the mulching technique and methods of organic fertilisation, and I replaced the bamboo with nylon netting. I invested 74,000 Kyats (55 USD), but I will be able to use it for at least another three seasons. We harvested more vegetables, both for the family and to sell, which enabled us to increase our income by 100,000 Kyats (75 USD).”

In order to ensure that the techniques used were appropriate to the farmers’ requirements and to guarantee sustainability of the actions undertaken, GRET developed an action-research approach with small farmers. The latter are involved in every stage of the approach: identification of techniques, in situ testing, analysis and evaluation, and sometimes – when techniques are promising – demonstration and dissemination to other famers. By contributing their ideas and knowledge, they are no longer just beneficiaries, they are project actors in their own right. The fact that the pilot farmers take ownership of the techniques facilitates their dissemination to their fellow farmers, via demonstrations and practical workshops.
The second phase of the partnership agreed between the Louis Dreyfus Foundation and Find will be extended until the end of 2017. It should make it possible to consolidate the progress made and continue to disseminate best practices. Access to irrigation water, innovation with small-scale farmers and technical support to disadvantaged farmers are also the key elements of this second phase.

More information on the project (only available in French).

More information on Find (only available in French).