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TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

The technical assistance methodology aimed at farming families is based on a theoretical-practical education plan for adults, the primary purpose of which is to increase productivity and improve the quality of cocoa while incorporating an intercultural approach (adapted to the reality of three Amazonian regions). Technical assistance comprises the following activities:

1Group Training

Educational sessions delivered by the Alliance’s technical staff, where make and female farmers alike develop their knowledge on good agricultural practices in cocoa. Trainings are divided into theoretical sessions and practical sessions. This way, participants can reinforce their knowledge in a didactic way and return to their parcels with greater knowledge to improve their crops.

As of March 2020 in Huánuco

6,815Farming Families

have participated in group trainings

Men4,202

Women2,613

2 Field Days

Theoretical-practical educational sessions where participants are divided into 4 groups and are assigned a temporary station. Groups spend around 30 to 40 minutes on each station. Each station develops a different theme: soil nutrition, timely pruning, integrated pest management, plant density and irrigation for cocoa, financing, gender or agricultural technology; pursuant to the area’s needs. This affords male and female farmers the opportunity to ask specific questions about their cacao crops.

As of March 2020 in Huánuco

2,966Producers Families

have participated in group trainings

Men 1,812

Women 1,154

3 Technical Visits

The Alliance’s technical team carries out personalized visits to farmers in order to evaluate the application of good agricultural practices, offer any recommendations and provide advice to the cacao plot owner.  This way, any technical-related questions can be addressed in a personalized manner, promoting the increase of crop productivity.

As of March 2020 in Huánuco

6,866Producers Families

have received technical visits.

Men 5,149

Women 1,717

4Internships

Visits to plots owned by male and female farmers who comply with good agricultural practices, have high productivity and whose cacao is of good quality. The principle behind this activity is ‘seeing is believing.’ Farmers have the opportunity to listen and observe successful experiences and can return to their own plots and duplicate what they’ve seen.

Mallki

SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE FOR CACAO PRODUCTIVITY AND QUALITY

The Schools of Excellence in Productivity seek to achieve higher yields of excellence among the families partners to the Alliance, providing both male and female farmers with the knowledge required to achieve it. The Schools of Excellence include the participation of technological partners and suppliers of inputs, as well as the participation of the financial partners.

The Schools of Excellence for Cacao Productivity and Quality seek to boost yields of farming families by offering the technical expertise necessary to properly implement good agricultural practices. These Schools include technology partners and input providers to offer the proper tools to upgrade one’s plot, along with financiers to help farming families make productive investments. The objective of the Schools of Excellence is to equip producers with the necessary tools to become a technology agent for his or her community.

As of March 2020 in Huánuco

279Producers Families

have participated in Schools of Excellence for Cacao Productivity and Quality.

Men 191

Women 88

The objective of the Schools of Excellence is to equip producers with the necessary tools to become a technology agent in his or her community.

Who participates in the schools?

Technology Partners/Input Providers:

MALLKI

San Fernando

HUSQVARNA

Commercial Financiers:

Agrobanco

Mibanco

Financiera Confianza

Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito Tocache

Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito Prisma

Agents transfer their knowledge (acquired in the Schools of Excellence) to smallholder producers in the community. This “training of trainers” or “cascade training” model allows the Alliance to reach an exponentially higher number of small holder producers in the outermost reaches of the Amazon.

HOW DOES THIS MODEL WORK?

The skills and capacities needed to become a Technology Agent include:

1

Comprehensive soil nutrition management and appropriate pruning methods

Organic fertilizer and appropriate pruning methods

2

Comprehensive pest management

Pest and disease control

3

Soft skills

Leadership abilities, gender focus, and self-confidence

4

Business management 

Financing or investment in rural businesses, financial education, loan applications, and digital inclusion.

After training for eight months, the producer will learn the ins and outs of the technology package and, in coordination with private sector partners, build local demand for plot upgrades.

The Agent will continue to maintain his or her plot according to Alliance standards, acting as a demonstration plot to show in the community.

The Schools of Excellence help Technology Agents identify potential clients within their own communities.

WHAT PRODUCT AND SERVICES DO THE TECHNOLOGY AGENTS OFFER?

The Technology Agent is first and foremost an entrepreneur, facilitating technology to smallholder farmers in the community.

For example, Agents can become distributors of fertilizer or pruning machinery.

Agents, however, do not merely offer the technology or inputs—they are a local resource to offer technical assistance on the correct use of such products for cacao producers. This continued engagement ensures Agents can monitor the progress of each plot and identify the needed upgrades to increase productivity.

Likewise, Technology Agents can become service providers by offering to prune crops, prepare the soil, and mange pest control with their specialized skills.

That Agents are part of the communities they work in is critical to the technology distribution model. Agents are at-the-ready to offer technical assistance in the use of these technology upgrades to build customer loyalty.

As of Mach 2020 in Huánuco

52The Alliance
has trained

potential Technology Agents

Men 33

Women 19

SUSTAINBILITY STRATEGY

The Peru Cacao Alliance model builds a dense network of Technology Agents to ensure a functioning business ecosystem for producer families that have participated in the Alternative Development program for more than fifteen years.

The Alliance believes that producers are ready to become agricultural entrepreneurs, themselves capable of replicating and passing on the technical assistance required to increase productivity and incomes.

Since Alliance cacao producers are fully integrated into stable and profitable value chains, the commercial relationships will continue to grow once the donor funds end.

The private sector will remain working within these profitable market niches in each of the regions. Input providers or technology distributors wish to continue growing alongside their eager and reliable client base within the cacao value chain. They are financially incentivized to continue offering solutions to agricultural bottlenecks and provide a pathway for farmers out of poverty.