Farmer Capacity Building
ADMI was set up as an institution that not only promoted cutting-edge research but also built and strengthened capacity to sustainably address postharvest losses at a local, regional, national, and global scale. Over the past decade, the institute has made large investments in capacity building focusing on diverse stakeholders, including smallholder farmers, students, research and educational institutions, and government agencies.
Farmer training is a cornerstone of ADMI’s work. In partnership with local institutions, ADMI has enabled postharvest loss reduction technology transfer to smallholder farmers through a variety of farmer training programs, including kisan melas, kisan goshtis, field demonstrations, and farmer cooperative training. Examples of in-depth capacity building programs are detailed below.
Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative: Partners in building knowledge for farmers
Led by Dr. Madhu Viswanathan, the Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative, a longtime ADMI partner, has improved the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers through innovative training methods. Through a combination of ADMI funds and ADM Cares grants, the Subsistence Marketplace Initiative has trained close to 2,000 smallholder farmers in India, Tanzania, Honduras, and Uganda on postharvest loss reduction.
Highlights include the first agriculture-centered marketplace literacy program (2018-19), which enabled subsistence women farmers in southern India to gain appropriate market knowledge, awareness of rights and opportunities, and the self-confidence to move forward in creating their own market conditions and outcomes. Postharvest loss prevention was emphasized within the broader value chain as an entrepreneurial opportunity with the intent of helping smallholder farmers keep more of their profits in hand.
Similarly, a sustainability literacy program (2019-20) for farmers focused on postharvest loss prevention in Honduras, India, Tanzania, and Uganda within the context of climate change and its impact on agriculture. Viswanathan and his team designed, piloted, and delivered the program to a variety of participants – rural/semi-rural village clusters near Chennai, India, a Maasai tribal community in Tanzania, a Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda, and villages in Honduras. The program used “bottom-up understanding”, the process of getting information and gauging knowledge from the farmers while the program is being designed. This has ensured the trainings are contextually appropriate and meets the farmers where they are and enhances their understanding.
Technology transfer in India and Bangladesh
The ADMI Village project worked with close to 10,000 farmers in 50 villages in Bihar improving awareness of postharvest issues and solutions. Through five technology centers managed by a trained community worker, farmers accessed training on topics such as safe storage practices using hermetic bags, mycotoxin contamination, and drying practices. The centers served as information and training hubs and were equipped with postharvest equipment, such as an STR dryer, moisture meter, hermetic bags, and a backup generator.
ADMI’s research and investment in technology development in India and Bangladesh pioneered the “ADMI Grain Handling System”, which demonstrates that improved grain drying and storage together can be key to mitigating postharvest loss, resulting in improved food security and food safety for both smallholder farmers and end consumers. Farmers using the BAU-STR dryer with hermetic storage achieved 95% germination rates from saved seed, as opposed to 35% for other households. Through the technology centers, more than 6,000 hermetic bags – both free and subsidized – were distributed to smallholder farmers, coupled with grain drying services. The impact from ADMI Village carried over to the Climate-Smart Villages project, which added postharvest loss reduction practices to the Government of Bihar’s work in Climate-Smart Agriculture. The project trained close to 9,000 farmers in 75 villages on postharvest storage solutions.