“Feeding the world is going to be a lot more complicated going forward than it was in the last 60 years,” says Marco Ferroni, Executive Director of Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, a Swiss company with a simple goal: to help small, “pre-commercial” farmers in semi-arid climates like India and Africa become more professional growers. With the right mixture of agriculture technologies and financial services (like credit and microinsurance), smallholder farmers could increase their production significantly and sustainably, argues Ferroni. This, in turn, would allow a farmer to generate an income that could be used to pay for education for his or her family. One of the foundation’s most recent endeavors is a program to develop drought-tolerant maize for Asian farmers. “Running the program goes from the nitty gritty of administrative stuff to the big ideas,” says Ferroni. “It gives me a level of freedom to operate in the midst of something that is really strategically and vitally important to the global community.”
Executive Director of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture on improving the livelihood of smallholder farmers.