Yes, why not? We believe that a business approach to development is extremely useful due to the productive and cost efficient manner of businesses. That is why Momentum is also established as a for-profit organization.
But, why stop there? If using a business model for development is fruitful, then why shouldn’t we extend that service to the farmers? Why shouldn’t they also use a business approach to help themselvesl? Of course they should! So, alongside the farming training we are also teaching the farmers business training. The business training covers all aspect of running a business from planning, managing costs, doing market research, to caring for customers.
Initially our local team thought it was strange to teach this to the farmers. They argued that the farmers wouldn’t see the benefit and would even refuse to show up for the training sessions. And that did happen to some extent. Most farmers, when introduced with the idea of getting business training, asked why that was necessary when 1. they only work in the field, they don’t have a business, 2. they are old and are fine with what they produce, and 3. they have no plans of ever opening a business.
The answer actually came from one of our most sceptical trainers. She asked the farmers “when do the shopkeepers at the market report in the morning?”, the farmers said “At 7 AM”. She then asked “what time do they go home?”, the farmers replied “At 8 PM”. “Why do they stay there for so long?” she asked. The farmers replied “Because that is required for them to make a living”. By now the farmers had seen the light and could anticipate the trainer’s next question “how long do you work in your shambas?” she asked, to which the farmers would dodgingly reply “A few hours in the morning”. And then she asked her last question “How do you expect to get a good yield if you don’t take your work seriously?”. As you can imagine, she is a tough lady, but the farmers responded positively and the approach was adopted by all our trainers. Now all of them are reporting that the farmers are very appreciative that they are getting this training. They see the benefits and have already started thinking about their farms differently!