Bureau régional de la FAO pour le Proche-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord

Improved business-oriented skills for youth and women farmers

FAO Syria to launch entrepreneurship-training programme to modernize farmers’ attitudes

©FAO Syria- Launch of entrepreneurship-training programme to modernize farmers’ attitudes.

10 January 2020, Damascus - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – FAO- through its Smallholder Support Programme (SSP) – is launching series of business-oriented training events to support agricultural entrepreneurship in Syria, which will boost the ability of youth and women to develop their businesses, generate a proper income and improve their livelihoods.

The SSP-entrepreneurial training programme will allow smallholder farmers to develop - from being recipients of assistance to becoming important players in the recovery of agriculture sector in Syria. This will be achieved thanks to a cadre of experts on entrepreneurship education, starting in January 2020; these will later extend their knowledge to farmers and their families in Deir Ezzor, Aleppo, Homs and Al Hassakeh governorates.

"Today, the agriculture sector's needs go way beyond the provision of inputs and grants," said Alfredo Impiglia, FAO Chief Technical Advisor of the Smallholder Support Programme (SSP) in the Syrian Arab Republic.

"Inputs and grants are rapid solutions to support crisis-affected farmers; however, the famers need more if they are to sustain their livelihoods and modernize their agricultural production practices. More than anything FAO is looking to encourage the mindset of producing competitive products to meet market demands, on the part of farmers," he added.

The first wave of entrepreneurship training is a two-module curriculum, designed according to international standards in the field of small and medium enterprise and business development. It aims at widening the competence of future trainers on the needs, challenges and solutions, so they can assist youth and women in rural communities to establish and grow agriculture-related businesses.

These future trainers will develop their knowledge on youth entrepreneurship, the identification of gender-specific constraints to entrepreneurship, designing tailored programs to support women entrepreneurship, understanding and assessing the local market and other useful topics. Later on, participants who pass the youth and women entrepreneurship-training test will be entitled to enroll in the SSP's sequence of further training on agribusiness establishment and management.

The SSP entrepreneurship programme will ultimately reach up to 3,000 smallholder farmers in the selected target locations through certified trainers; overall, though, the key measure of success will be the number of business ideas and small projects generated out of the training events and the programmes.