Syngenta Foundation India Reports Advised by GAME

Under Syngenta Foundation India’s AE Enterprise Model, rural youth working as Agri-Entrepreneurs (AEs) run sustainable businesses promoting technology driven agriculture and thus bridging the technology transfer gap.

The studies (focussing on both men and women AEs) provide the characteristics of successful agri-entrepreneurs and present recommendations to enable them to grow and lead agriculture development for their community.

GAME has advised Syngenta Foundation India on these studies.

  •  Study on Women Agri-Entrepreneurs – to read, click here
  • Agri-Entrepreneur Cohort Study – to read, click here

Research 1: Study of Women AEs

The Study of Women AEs identified:

  1. characteristics of a successful woman AE including demographics such as education background, spouse’ education, land-holding, time spent on business versus home-care, size of household, investment, etc.
  2. adjustments to recruitment and training including confidence-building, spouse involvement, training duration, peer network, female trainers and class demographics, recruitment age.
  3. requirements for gender responsive loans to build resilience and risk-taking ability for higher investments

Self-confidence and risk-taking

  • Women are constrained by self-confidence – 93% reported a lack of confidence.
  • Aversion to debt and risk-taking – 87% women entrepreneurs have not taken a loan for their enterprises, whereas those with higher levels of investment demonstrated higher income growth.


  • Women who work their own lands are more likely to sign up as AEs
  • Sensitization and involvement of spouse/in-laws needed for recruitment (they are key decision-makers as reported by 67% women AEs)
  • Shorter duration residential training will incentivize more women to try agri-entrepreneurship
  • Women AEs over 40 were seen to perform well, and better than their male counterparts in the same age bracket


  • > 93% women agreed that female trainers and presence of other females in the class, will be more effective and helpful for women to understand and participate in trainings
  • Post-training cohort support group / forum for peer networking needs to be set up – in contrast, male AEs are initiating and leveraging networking
  • Specialized trainings in confidence building and business operations are required for the women AE and her spouse respectively (women AEs are assisted in their businesses by their spouses)


Education levels do not correlate to participation and performance of women AEs as much as they do for male AEs. Training by government and NGOs are helping women, with lower levels of education, succeed as AEs. Spouse’s education plays a role in their success as well.


Women providing Input, Nursery Management and Market Linkage services are most likely to see an increase in their income. This can also be supported by other services such as Financial Services and Farm Machinery Rental Services. Market Linkage, Goatery, Veterinary services will also serve as a good combination of services in locations where animal husbandry is a prominent source of income.

Dividing responsibilities between home and business:

  • Over 60% of the women AEs spent 6 hours daily on business operations and 8 hours on childcare.
  • Over 60% AEs were in 3-4 member households, therefore access to quality child care can offer a source of support.

Research 2 – Agri-Entrepreneur Cohort Study

  • 64% of AEs were good performers, largely due to close mentoring, selection criteria, specialized training and business operationalization.
  • 46% of the AEs in the most successful performance group were graduates, showing strong correlation between education and performance in the largely male-dominated group. Age and previous work-experience of the AE were other key independent factors impacting AE performance.
  • An asset-light model is proving successful – 76% of the most successful performance group used seed money to invest in raw material instead of fixed assets, bringing in revenue in the first months to sustain their business.
  • Initial business planning is a critical aspect for sustainability, ~75% of the well-performing AEs (~76%) achieved a turn-over in the 1st three months.
  • Mentorship is key, and needs to support service-diversification for the AEs, beyond the current focus on agri inputs.
  • To create a systemic change, the existing ecosystem of public and private must be leveraged, eg SRLMs and IIEs can be valuable partners. Collaboration with private players on market access expertise can help assist AEs stabilise their businesses and reduce time-to-market

To read more, visit the Syngenta Foundation website.



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