PAVE (Partnership and Value Expansion) for Inclusive Seed Systems in Pakistan
Engro Fertilizers Limited
INTRODUCTIONThis initiative develops an innovative, scalable and sustainable business model in Pakistan’s seed sector that broadens and diversifies the seed procurement base for rice, wheat and vegetables, resulting in improved livelihoods for male and female smallholder farmers.
Under the project, Engro works with smallholder farmers, introducing them to seed growing techniques and helping them become part of the seed supply chain. Through existing partnerships with Engro, MEDA helps smallholder farmers while ensuring sustainable business benefits for Engro. DFAT provides expertise in women’s economic empowerment and agricultural development, and support with critical coinvestment. DFAT also leverage its convening power and local networks to achieve development and social outcomes.
This partnership creates shared value by redefining productivity in the value chain. By working with smallholder farmers, Engro will be able to broaden its seed supplier base and the volume of seed available for sale. These farmers benefit primarily through increased income from producing and selling certified seeds, which can be sold at a higher price than regular crops; as well as learning new farming practices and marketing techniques.
FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGYThe project is led by Engro Fertilizers Senior Advisor Seeds, an agriculture expert, with a dedicated field team of 15 members, while donor relations, reporting and financial control is extended by Engro Foundation and MEDA. Project financing has been provided by Department of Foreign Aid and Trade, Government of Australia, and Engro Fertilizers equally.
The project objectives are being achieved through a structured programme where farmers are registered, inducted and trained on their farms for multiple crop cycles with easyto- understand trainings in local language. The programme includes a robust monitoring and evaluation mechanism. The training sessions are held at village level every two weeks and progress of farmers is regularly monitored by the project’s agriculture experts.
ACHIEVEMENT AND IMPACTUpon completion in its first year, the initiative has shown encouraging response in terms of participation of 4400 beneficiary smallholders farmers (110% vs. a target of 4000), including 600 smallholders women farmers (150% vs. a target of 400). Smallholders have also implemented upon the modern farming concept of crop diversification by planting vegetables on their land which has significantly improved their financial status.
Engro provided orientation and training for all farmers in over 175 villages in the districts of Gujranwala and Sheikupura. The training included the benefits of certified seed use, optimum plant population management, direct seeding of rice, water-saving techniques, balanced fertilizer use, farm safety, seed production and environmentally friendly crop management practices. A focus on vegetable growing was added as a way to supplement incomes in addition to growing rice and wheat.
This initiative has promoted women’s economic empowerment through alternative livelihoods and has enhanced women’s voices in decision making and community leadership through introduction of Women’s Seed Multiplication groups.
FUTURE DIRECTIONThe continuity of benefits accruing from the project activities have three dimensions. First, the conversion of farmers to certified seed. Engro believes the positive economics of improved yield will keep farmers motivated and ensure sustainable use of certified seeds.
Second, Engro has signed seed supply agreements with farmers trained through this project. These highly skilled farmers have entered the supply chain of Engro’s business and will have continued relationships as it helps Engro diversify its supply sources. Engro does research on different seed lines which includes open-pollinated and hybrids. These farmers will be among the preferred partners to carry out research trials and will continue to benefit from the skills they have learnt.
Women farmers have been trained in vegetable growing and when they successfully manage three-crop-rotation of rice-peas-peas, the economics is significantly favourable compared to rice-wheat rotation. Again, the better economics will ensure that these behaviors will be sustained by women farmers.
Development of 100+ Community champions as Master Trainers intensively trained on seed cycles, SDG’s, HSE and Water productivity are another value-added achievement of the project. These Master trainers developed from within the rural communities will further take the flag of the PAVE project concepts forward after project completion.
Engro Fertilizers Limited is a subsidiary of Engro Corporation and a renowned name in Pakistan’s fertilizer industry. Engro holds a vast, nationwide production and marketing infrastructure and produces leading fertilizer brands optimised for local cultivation needs and demand. Engro is a dynamic company driven by a vision to improve productivity and lifestyle for thousands of farmers across Pakistan. Engro Fertilizers Limited has earned itself a distinguished name by continually striving to uphold its tradition and trust of its loyal consumer base.