30th June 2022
Bonsucro has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to create a digital learning tool to engage with smallholder farmers in India in order to develop their capacities on the Bonsucro Production Standard for Smallholder Farmers.
What is the tool?
The digital tool will take the form of a web-based app, hosted on our website www.bonsucro.com. The app will also be accessible through smartphones and tablets. This resource will provide digital tools and training content on the Bonsucro Production Standard for Smallholder Farmers and Calculator, including topics around sustainable farm management and efficiency.
The app will be available for free in both English and Hindi, and will be accessible on-demand for smallholder farmers to use at their own convenience.
This digital tool aims to:
(i) standardise training delivery in the sugarcane value chain,
(ii) leverage new interactive technologies for improved learning outcomes for smallholder farmers, and
(iii) offer convenient access to training materials.
Why smallholder farmers?
Smallholder farmers are an important part of our membership. Some of the world’s largest sugarcane-producing countries depend on smallholder farmers for most of their sugarcane. This is the case in India, where more than 6 million smallholder farmers grow sugarcane across 5 million hectares of land – making them responsible for the majority of national production.
Since 2018, over 8,000 smallholder farmers in India have been certified against the Smallholder Production Standard, under the certification scope of 11 mills. The vast majority of these farmers hold less than two hectares of land. As these plots are very small, addressing sustainability issues can present many challenges, such as access to knowledge and training materials and standardising practices.
Bridging the gap
Advances in digital technology, internet connectivity, and the prevalence of mobile phones in rural India present new opportunities for delivering our tools and resources to smallholder farmers.
The digital learning tool will be self-directed and self-paced, allowing users to engage with the content most relevant to their needs and interests, and progress through the content at a pace that suits them. An on-demand app also allows for 24/7 accessibility, allowing a greater number to access the content at a time convenient for them – a particular benefit for women smallholders in these areas. Furthermore, digital learning can foster and facilitate greater interactions between stakeholders in the value chain by enhancing the digital technology skills of smallholders.
Speaking on the development of the project, our Technology Manager, Matthew Sullivan, said:
We are very excited that this digital learning tool will enable Bonsucro to share knowledge with a wider audience. Through working with the IFC, we can use their design experience to reach this audience in an effective and focused manner. We also look forward to exploring the possibilities that digital learning can offer in other contexts.
The IFC will present the app for the first time at our event, Conferencia Bonsucro Mexico, taking place this week.
If you would like to speak to us about using technology to boost sustainability in sugarcane, email our Technology Manager, Matthew Sullivan.