Syngenta Foundation For Suitable Agriculture
The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture works with partners in developing countries and emerging markets. Our aim is to help small farmers become more professional growers. We do this by extending science-based know-how, facilitating access to quality inputs, and linking smallholders to markets in profitable ways. This adds value for rural communities, and sustainably improves food security.
Crop Nutrition / TNC Partnership
“African soils vary enormously in quality. So comprehensive testing is crucial. The results form the basis for directly relevant advice to farmers. Tests also enable input providers to offer farmers the most suitable fertilizer blends and other soil amendments. Combining targeted advice and inputs is an important step towards sustainable agricultural intensification – and therefore food security.
The Nature Conservancy and we have developed a model now being rolled out in central Kenya. Our joint aim is to link soil-testing with extension, nutrient recommendations, and supply channels. We have started in an area where unsustainable agricultural practices have led to considerable erosion, loss of soil fertility, low yields and poor water quality. Smallholders here conventionally have limited access to extension, high-quality inputs, soil diagnosis or marketing services. They also lack water to grow off-season vegetables. Through our intervention, we aim to benefit both the environment and farmers’ incomes.”



“In much of sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture is based on corn, wheat, and barley monocultures. After just two seasons, cereal mono-cropping can deplete the soil. Pest and disease pressure also increases. Yields then start to fall. Introducing non-cereal crops into such monocultures can help to break pest and disease cycles. Soils benefit, too: Additional crops can rebalance the uptake of nutrients, recycle phosphorus and increase organic matter. Legumes also fix soil nitrogen for the following cereal crop. However, smallholders typically have no financial reserves to fall back on. So they only plant rotation crops if they can profitably sell them. This requires local availability of suitable varieties, access to cultivation know-how and links to output markets.

To address these challenges, we are partnering with Agventure Ltd., a consortium of Kenyan cereal farmers. Agventure runs a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for rotation crops. We will collaborate on testing, evaluating and documenting a ‘market-building model’ to promote rotation crops in cereal systems. Through the CoE, the joint program will test holistic approaches to engaging smallholders in market-oriented production of rotation crops. The emphasis will be on smallholder targeting, and on testing novel models for extension, input supply, market access, financing, and risk management.”