In the real world
Key points for companies
A company must first determine whether the target landscape/jurisdiction has set a goal around training farmers for sustainable commodity production. If so, companies should align their efforts with the L/JI’s geographic priorities. Alignment could mean redirecting and/or expanding existing farmer training or investing in programs delivered by others. Upstream companies with capacity to engage and train farmers can take the lead, while downstream companies could provide funding and incentives for farmers to adopt best management practices.
Companies can support farmers in several ways:
External conditions that improve likelihood of success
- Clear priorities for farmer training, extension, and incentives have been linked to landscape/jurisdictional goals and strategy.
- Linkages between company interventions and priorities, programs, and policies of government and other partners, ensuring continued support for implementation of best practices once the company’s engagement ends.
- Farmers have granted free, prior, and informed consent to participate in any programs, activities, data collection, or polygon mapping.
- Farmers are receptive to new management practices and trust the entities who provide training and extension services.
- Initiative partners have clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and capacity to provide culturally and agriculturally appropriate training.
The business case for this intervention
- Helping farmers improve yields without clearing more land directly increases deforestation/conversion-free supplies with which to meet corporate sourcing commitments.
- Companies who support farmer training can cement connections with responsible suppliers who improve the company’s ability to secure deforestation/conversion-free supply in competitive regions where producers can choose to whom they sell.
- Building trust and relationships with farmers through support programs can strengthen farmers’ long-term commitment to work with the company, reducing churn.
1 See graphic on p.26 in Neeff, T., von Lüpke, H., & Hovani, L. (2018). Cross-Sector Collaboration to Tackle Tropical Deforestation – Diagnosing Backbone Support in Jurisdictional Programs. The Nature Conservancy: Arlington, Virginia.