A recently concluded project by CSIRO and BAU has explored Farmers’ Hubs as a vehicle to help deliver new services to small-holder farmers and their communities. Farmers’ Hubs were developed by the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) and are designed to provide multiple services such as the purchase of inputs including seed and seedlings, selling farm produce, and access to machinery as a commercial business. Six hubs were studied in detail to understand how they are being used to improve the adoption and scaling of new agricultural technologies to small-holder farmers, and identify opportunities for them to be used more effectively
Most hubs were engaged in production and selling of vegetable seedlings. Hub owners and network managers act as aggregators of produce from many farmers, and this enables access to distant markets at a better price. A greater proportion of hub participants said their productivity had greatly increased, whereas non-participants said their productivity had moderately increased. The hubs have been successful at attracting young entrepreneurs and developing their capacity to lead a farming business, but involvement of women has been less successful.
The hubs play a broader role in the rural communities in which they are based, with several social-service roles the hubs could play in the future identified. Suggestions included a club or training centre for farmers, education and library facilities for children and farmers, health facilities, and resource support (financial and physical).
Dr Nahid Sattar and Dr Sarina Macfadyen will present the results of the work. Registration is via the link below. Please circulate to others who may be interested.