17 March 2022, Germany: The Better Life Farming (BLF) Alliance has been launched in Latin America starting with the opening of the first BLF Center in Córdoba, Mexico in February 2022. The Alliance is supported by the global partner Bayer, and the local partners AMSA (Agroindustrias Unidas de México) and Yara. It brings together global as well as local private and public organizations to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and their communities in low- and middle-income countries. Assessment studies are underway for further expansion plans of BLF in Latin America, Africa and Asia in 2022 to help unlock full potential of smallholder farmers.
“The concept of Better Life Farming is to build partnership ecosystems that are able to address farmers needs by providing advanced agronomic solutions, good agricultural practices, on-farm trainings, market access to help farmers grow their farms into commercially viable and sustainable farming businesses, rather than just a means to thrive”, said Dr. Lino Dias, Vice President of Smallholder Farming at Bayer’s Crop Science division. “I am very excited that we are now able to bring this concept to Latin America to help unlocking the farming potential of Mexican smallholder farmers.”
BLF was founded in 2018 by Bayer, IFC and Netafim. The initiative seeks to facilitate agricultural capacity building in rural areas across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It acts as a last-mile delivery solution to provide smallholder farmers access to high-quality agricultural inputs, services, and trainings needed to enable local farmers’ capacity building and connection to the food value chain. At the heart of the ecosystem are BLF Centers, local shops run by agri-entrepreneurs, at which farmers can purchase high-yielding vegetable seeds, fertilizers and modern crop protection products, drip irrigation systems and get knowledge on advanced agricultural solutions. The Centers also facilitate trainings on Good Agricultural Practices (G.A.P.) which open market opportunities for smallholder farmers.
The expansion to Latin America is a natural step forward after proven success in South Asia. Today, BLF already reaches more than 600.000 smallholders in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. The alliance has successfully operated more than 1.600 BLF Centers in 2021, thanks to the vast number of motivated local agri-entrepreneurs including many women, committed to making a difference in their communities. BLF seeks to serve 2.5 million smallholders by 2025, contributing to Bayer’s overall sustainability commitment of empowering 100 million smallholders by 2030.
Numerous local and global voices continue to confirm the positive impact BLF creates for rural, smallholder farming businesses, allowing them to thrive in a sustainable manner. In 2021, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) awarded a special commendation to Better Life Farming for their role model work creating public-private partnerships in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Earlier this month, the Alliance also received the Bangladesh Innovation Award in the category “Best Innovation in Agriculture”.
The BLF partners in Mexico
Bayer: Provides high performing seeds and crop protection to allow farmers grow healthy crops, protect their yield from risks and boost their profitability and income in a sustainable manner.
Agroindustrias Unidas de México (AMSA): As part of the ECOM Agroindustrial Corp. Ltd., AMSA leads the commercialization of coffee in Mexico and through SMS, provides training services, technical assistance, high quality plants, inputs, financing and management of sustainable certifications, seeking to improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of coffee growers and their families.
Yara Mexico: A leading producer and provider of mineral fertilizers for sustainable agriculture. Yara’s mission is to feed the world responsibly and protect the planet. Knowledge to care for people’s lives, improve resource efficiency and increase farmers’ profitability is key.