Is AMEA Revolutionizing the Agriculture Industry?
Welcome to the Future
It is an exciting time at AMEA as we are expanding our efforts and embarking on a novel journey that will change the concept of business in the world of Agriculture. It’s no secret that the world’s population is rapidly growing, which results in the essential demand of increasing food production. After sitting down with our very own Lucas Simons, AMEA’s initiator and Strategic Advisor to the Board; he discusses the strategies to overcome today’s challenges of food supply and how to build an effective market transformation to achieve sustainable agriculture and food production.
“AMEA’s philosophy is that agriculture is and should be a business and not be dependent on donors.”
We commenced our interview with Simons with the simple question of why did you initiate AMEA? Simons expresses his passion for a systemic change and market transformation in agriculture. It starts with a belief that farming is a business. AMEA was founded with key driver to professionalize the farming business that produces a harmonious market ecosystem where mutual value is created between farmer organizations, market actors, capacity builders, financial institutions and donors. To achieve our vision, AMEA works to address a scalable and transformative solution for farmer and supply chain business development. Thus, giving farmers the best opportunities to produce higher sustainable income, levitate their livelihood and ultimately produce higher quality agricultural standards. Moreover, we aim to form a solid foundation where farmers can gain access to finance, inputs, markets and services. In the next 40 years, we are expected to produce more food than in all the history of human civilization combined. In order to secure the upcoming massive food production that is demanded, it requires a global standardization in capacity building approaches. It’s all part of the circle of life and the up, successful cycle, starts with professional farmer organizations.
“The main point as a farmer you need to know how to run a business and then be able to get an income out of it that allows you to have a life, send your kids to school, hire people to create employment, take care of land and then we can expect sustainable agriculture.”
The ambition of AMEA is to create a global system where farmer organizations are professional enough to be business partners in the supply chain of agribusiness. For the past 50 years, countless of global organizations have worked with farmer organizations whilst depending on donors to finance project based capacity building programs that, unfortunately, offers temporary solutions. Due to this fragmented approach, Simons searched for a long lasting sustainable and scalable solution. “I founded AMEA with this mission and objective in mind”, explained Simons.
In order to revolutionize the agriculture market, Simons states the need to identify the barriers that cause capacity building programs for farmer organizations to be less effective. AMEA is a game changer in three ways:
1. In collaboration with International Organization for Standardization (ISO), AMEA sets a global definition on what it means to be a professional farmer organization.
2. It creates a standardized and integrated global implementation system to support farmer organizations become more professional. This system consists of standardized assessments and standardized capacity building programs that includes linking FOs to markets.
3. Based on common assessment indicators, AMEA creates an agenda for continuous improvement of the implementation system.
“We cannot accurately predict what the world will look like in fifteen years, but with innovation and insight we can create a fundamental change to supply chain business along with leveraging the strengths of farmers who are key players in agriculture.”
Reality is that market actors and buyers do not prefer to work with small, unprofessional farmers, as they become more of a liability than business partners. As long as there is no global agreement on what it means to be a professional farmer organizations, and without a standardized approach that is based on continuous improvement and learning, capacity building approaches will remain fragmented and therefore ineffective in the long run. The ultimate goal here is to create a business-to-business sequence that is adequately professional to meet the ever-increasing demand of food production. Lastly, Simons reflected on his gratitude towards the collaboration of AMEA’s members to upscale the development of professional farmer organizations and looks forward to having many more organizations join AMEA’s mission.
“As we head towards 2018 and beyond, we will continue to commit our operations to develop and better the lives of farmers and deliver consistent growth to the agribusiness market. AMEA is on its way to standardizing a capacity building approach that will be revolutionary.”