2.2.2 Support Farmers Taking a Commercial Approach to Farming

In contrast, to Fabretto’s SAT curriculum, Making Cents Agricultural Enterprise Curriculum, offers a low cost, low intensity intervention, allowing current or prospective business operators the opportunity via a game simulation the opportunity to establish and manage a business.

Making Cents' Agricultural Enterprise Curriculum

Making Cents International’s Agriculture Enterprise Curriculum™ is an interactive course that empowers small-scale producer farmers to take a more commercially minded approach to their farming activities. Smallholder farmers participate in role-playing, simulation and other exercises to practice business concepts, experiment, take risks, and use creative problem-solving techniques in a safe environment. Participants apply lessons learned through these activities to develop a business plan for their own individual farming businesses, which they can implement upon completion of the course.

The curriculum aims to help agriculture value chain players:

  • Enhance their understanding and awareness of basic business concepts and market conditions that affect their ability to maximize their profits and improve production;
  • Understand the broader context of suppliers, producers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers in which they conduct their agricultural operations (value chain);
  • Discover practical methods and techniques for planning, income projection, risk assessment, debt management, savings, and profit maximization-allowing farmers to move from subsistence to commercial farming practices;
  • Improve skills in the areas of financial management (including cash flow), record-keeping, and market analysis; and
  • Formulate individual action plans to implement what they have learned after the training.

Making Cents originally designed this curriculum for use with agricultural value chain actors, including input suppliers, input distributors, producers, and wholesale traders. Making Cents shares the content breakdown in the graph below. They adapted the methodology in 2010 to target youth.

Content for Making Cents' Agricultural Enterprise Curriculum

Making Cents International has used this curriculum in:

  • Nigeria: 250,000 farmers and 400 input suppliers; five staple crop value chains; aquaculture adaptation.
  • Nepal: 10,000 smallholders and 1,000 input suppliers and traders; open-field vegetable value chain.
  • DRC (French): 50,000 cassava farmers; cassava and maize production cycles.
  • Senegal (French): 173 school-aged youth and 18 teachers; formal and non-formal educational environments.

After participating in this training, smallholder farmers have shown that they can do a better job of growing their businesses: they maintain better records; they do a better job of purchasing inputs when prices are low and selling goods when market prices are high; and, most importantly, they successfully increase their profits.

See Graph 1 for results from the Maximizing Agricultural Revenue and Key Enterprises in Targeted Sites (MARKETS) I program conducted in Nigeria. In addition to being more likely to keep records than prior to the training and seeing an overall increase in income and monthly profit margins, 100% of farmers said that they began to purchase inputs when prices were lower, rather than just before planting.

Similarly, more than 81 percent of the producers trained under Nepal Economic, Agriculture, and Trade (NEAT) stated that the volume of products for transactions increased after the training and 80 percent mentioned that they were able to increase the price of their products. For more information, please visit http://www.makingcents.com/products_services/curriculum.php or email [email protected]