b'BRIDGING THE SEED GAPHOW ONE NGO IS LIFTING FARMERS OUT OF POVERTY .BY: MARCEL BRUINSEUROPEAN SEED (ES): CAN YOU TELL ME IN A WHY IT MATTERS NUTSHELL WHY YOU FOUNDED FAIR PLANET People in AfricaAND WHAT FAIR PLANET IS TRYING TO ACHIEVE?are trapped inShoshan Haran (SH): It all starts with my back-a vicious cycleground: I was born in kibbutz Beeri in Israel and of poverty andworked in its fields for many years. I then decided to hunger. Andstudy plant science at the Hebrew University. After it is difficult tocompleting my Ph.D. and a post-doctoral fellowship provide themat Rutgers University in the U.S., I joined Hazera as with food securityhead of R&D collaborations and later served as head and economicof Limagrains Genomic Expert Group. opportunities.These positions enabled me to develop an One way ofextensive network within the seed industry. I learnt helping is byabout improved seed varieties with higher yields and making high- resilience to climate change, which help farmers to quality seeds,increase their productivity and income. suitable to localDuring a private trip to Africa, I realized that conditions,smallholder farmers do not have access to these accessible andimproved varieties. Their productivity is extremely affordable tolow and as a result, their families suffer from poverty local farmers. and malnutrition. I understood that something needs to be done to bridge the seed gap. NGO Fair PlanetThis led me to establish Fair Planet in 2012, a is bridging thenon-profit organization. Our vision is a world where current gapall farmers have equal opportunities for sustainable between existingeconomic growth and prosperous life. high qualityFair Planet is managed by senior seed expertsShoshan Haranseed varietieswho have lifetime experiences in the seed indus-developed bytry. We develop the capacity of smallholder farm-leading seeders to transform agriculture into a profitable source companies andof income through access to high quality seeds andHOW ARE THEY INVOLVED?transfer know howknowledge on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).SH: We realized that a sustainable solution should be to smallholderOur unique operational model creates regionalbased on a win-win business model, in which both farmers in Africa.independence and economic sustainability and isthe poor farmers and the seed developers will gain European Seed aligned with the UN Sustainable Developmentadded value. sat down withGoals (SDGs): No Poverty (SDG1) and No HungerFair Planet established a broad alliance with Shoshan Haran,(SDG2). To date, half a million people have beenleading seed companies and formed an open aid founder andimpacted by Fair Planets work.platform, unique to the industry, through which it president of Fairhas access to a worldwide collection of seed varieties. Planet to find outES: WHY WAS IT NECESSARY TO START FAIROn the other hand, Fair Planet partnered with how they do it. PLANET?local agricultural universities and governmental SH: Many farmers in Africa are subsistence farmersextension services that provide professional staff and who farm very small plots of land. They grow theirtrial plots for testing the varieties locally. Together, crops from local seeds and lack knowledge on GAP,we developed crop production guidelines that are resulting in low yields and vulnerability to climatesuitable for smallholders, which use locally available change. Reaching these farmers and training themag-inputs and graphic illustrations. For example, we how to use high quality seeds is extremely difficulttrain precise fertilization using bottle caps (available and the current way of doing business in the seedeverywhere!) for measuring the needed amounts of industry, which typically serves relatively large scalefertilizers.and/or knowledgeable farmers, does not fit for serv- A significant component of our training meth-ing them. Therefore, another approach was needed toodology is on-farm mentoring of lead farmers bridge the gap between the providers of the best seedsthrough weekly visits in their own fields, to ensure in the world and the poorest farmers.proper adoption of high-quality seeds and best prac-tices. These farmers serve as key agents of change: ES: WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH? HOW DO YOUtheir success motivates their neighbours to adopt ENGAGE PRIVATE AND PUBLIC PARTNERS ANDthese practices. To enable our outreach activities, 24IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'