Alongside its large-scale farming operations, Amatheon uses its commercial farms as a nucleus to support and trade with thousands of small-scale farmers, and uses its newly-constructed processing and storage facility to guarantee the highest hygiene and food safety standards for all products grown by smallholders. Leveraging the platform, infrastructure and communication channels that Amatheon has established, the Outgrower Programme provides structured access to a network of smallholder farmers – in turn allowing Amatheon to significantly increase its trading volumes while simultaneously achieving significant social impact. By incorporating smallholders into the rural value chain, Amatheon helps build vibrant outgrower networks, fosters entrepreneurship, stimulates local productivity and diversifies sources of income.
In the initial phase of its Outgrower Programme in Zambia, Amatheon provided farmers with free trainings on conservation farming and business skills, established more than 30 rural depots to sell inputs and buy grain, linked farmers with credit and issued loans to emerging farmers to take their businesses to the next level. Through Amatheon’s grain purchases from smallholders, more than US$1 million has been injected into the local economy. With invaluable local and international partners such as USAID, DEG and MUSIKA, Amatheon was able the increase the outreach of its Outgrower Programme to more than 10,000 farmers surrounding it’s farm in Zambia.
In 2019, Amatheon reshaped its Outgrower Programme and started a new initiative which introduced a high-value crop, Quinoa, to more than 1,000 small-scale farmers in the first season and connects them to national and international markets. The activities provide learning opportunities for farmers to diversify their crop portfolio, increase productivity, reduce post-harvest losses and increase average annual household incomes. Furthermore, a smaller number of farmers were trained in the organic cultivation of Quinoa, and Amatheon continues the incremental adaption of organic farming techniques in its Outgrower Programme in the next seasons. Input support in the form of seed, extension services and a guaranteed off-take of the harvested crop ensure the sustainability of this initiative. At the same time, Amatheon processes and stores the Quinoa in a superfood warehouse to guarantee international hygiene standards and food safety practices of this highly-nutritious export-oriented crop.