FAO launches Smallholder Support Programme to improve business-oriented agricultural skills for youth and women

FAO launches Smallholder Support Programme to improve business-oriented agricultural skills for youth and women

10/01/2020

The launch of a training series by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to support agricultural entrepreneurship in the Syrian Arab Republic, through its Smallholder Support Programme (SSP), will boost the ability of rural youth and women to develop their businesses, achieve a viable income and improve their livelihoods.

“Today, the needs of the agriculture sector go way beyond the provision of inputs and grants,” said Alfredo Impiglia, FAO Chief Technical Advisor of the SSP. Recognizing the significant challenges in accessing decent employment, FAO’s SSP centres on developing agricultural knowledge and skills in farming communities.

“Inputs and grants are rapid solutions to support crisis-affected farmers; however, farmers need more if they are to sustain their livelihoods and modernise their agricultural production practices. More than anything, FAO is looking to encourage and develop the attitudes of farming communities to produce competitive products to meet market demands,” Alfredo added.

Around 3 000 smallholder farmers in Aleppo, Deir-Ez-Zor, Al Hassakeh and Homs governorates will take part in trainings starting this month, through the support of certified trainers. The first outcome of the entrepreneurship training is a two-module curriculum, designed according to international standards in the field of small and medium enterprises and business development. It aims at widening the competence of future trainers on the needs, challenges and solutions.

The comprehensive programme not only helps close the skills gap, but also plays a key role in extending knowledge to marginalized and disadvantaged populations, such as youth and women in rural communities, to help strengthen their income-generating potential to establish agriculture-related businesses. Participants that exceed the trainings are entitled to enroll in further trainings on agribusiness establishment and management under the SSP, allowing them to become important players in the recovery of the agriculture sector in the Syrian Arab Republic.