Throwing light on the ERA model

Access Agriculture’s innovative model of working with young Entrepreneurs for Rural Access (ERAs) to help scale agroecology knowledge among smallholder farmers has been recognised by several international awards. At a recent workshop held in Kampala, Uganda, Ezra Masolaki, Access Agriculture Entrepreneur coach for East Africa, was invited to throw light upon the ERA model for the benefit of the participants.

The workshop was held to discuss plans for the implementation of a specific component of an IFAD-funded Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) project. The component focuses on ‘Empowering Small-Scale Farmers in the Agroecological Transition through Participatory Rural Advisory Services (RAS) in Africa (Uganda, Madagascar) and Latin America (Costa Rica and Ecuador).’

This project component will be implemented by GFRAS in partnership with Access Agriculture and the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) network. The aim is to reach approximately 10,000 farming families (an estimated 2,500 per country) and support transforming their production towards agroecology methods and technologies.

Through his presentations, Ezra explained in detail how Access Agriculture identifies, equips and coaches young entrepreneurs to run a business from bringing videos to farmers using the smart projector. He also spelt out the expected role of the ERA teams in the project. Rebecca Akullu, who is one of the ERAs in Uganda, joined the meeting and shared her experiences on how she has been working with the communities.

“With quality farmer-to-farmer training videos in local languages complemented with our last-mile proven entrepreneur model, we can improve smallholder farmers’ skills and knowledge to produce nutritious food in a responsible and sustainable manner,” Ezra asserted. Access Agriculture has nurtured nearly 300 young ERAs in 17 countries across Africa and India.