emerging leaders

In the words of someone who obviously knew their stuff – 'knowledge is power'. While no one really knows who coined the phrase first*, one thing we do know is that it's as true now as it's ever been. Especially when it comes to growing fruit in a sustainable way.

That's why in 2019, we teamed up with the good people at Emerging Leaders (a charity who specialise in unlocking human potential) to offer leadership training to smallholder mango farmers in India. Emerging Leaders run programmes that help empower people who live in vulnerable communities by giving them the motivation, mindset and skills they need to flourish.

emerging leaders

Our big plan is to empower farmers to bring about the kind of change that's needed to make farming more sustainable. Working with Emerging Leaders, we kicked off the training with 38 mango farmers in a part of India called Ramanagara. It ran for four days in August 2019, covering things like mindset and behaviour change, leadership, financial literacy and the benefits of hitting SAI-FSA standards. We then followed up with two more sessions (one in September and another in December) to give them mentoring and support.

Four months after that, we headed back and spoke with all the farmers to find out how things had gone. It's safe to say that we were chuffed to bits with the results. Of the 38 farmers that did the training, 60% of them had started a new project to make money and increased their average monthly personal income by 78% (that's the equivalent of an extra £250 in their pockets every month). They'd also got much better at budgeting. Before the training, only 16% were budgeting their finances. Four months on, it had flipped on its head and an impressive 84% were now budgeting. Because of this, 34 of the 38 farmers had started to create a ripple effect by mentoring other farmers they knew. If you want to flick through a few more encouraging stats, head this way.

It's a really exciting start and we're now planning to roll out the training to more Indian mango farmers and white guava farmers too. We hope that by investing in programmes like this one with Emerging Leaders, we can support farmers and hit our goal of investing in 10,000 farming livelihoods by 2023. We'll keep you posted on how we're getting on.

* we've checked – it probably wasn't Francis Bacon