Yara wants to lead a food system transformation through actions that reduce emissions, protect nature, and improve livelihoods. To deliver on the latter and create measurable positive social impact, Yara Africa & Asia launched the Yara Leadership Academy to develop the skills and leadership capacities of micro, small, and medium enterprises in Yara’s supply chain.
Yara’s distribution network for fertilizer in Africa and Asia is very fragmented and adapted to local realities, and these businesses are vital for the local communities in which they operate. Developing and improving the business skills of these enterprises positively impacts their resilience, efficiency, and financial profitability, and ultimately improves Yara’s value chain.
Launched first in Kenya and India, the Yara Leadership Academy (YLA) targets 1,000 owners and managers of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Yara’s distribution channel
“The thousands of MSMEs in Yara’s value chain play a vital role in connecting Yara to farmers all over the world, and are enablers of knowledge transfer and support among farmers in their local communities. In addition, the revenue they generate means job creation and economic development in many communities,” says Carol Mumo, Manager Social Impact in Yara Africa & Asia.
Extensive assessments involving field visits and business interactions in both India and Kenya demonstrated the need for mentorship and knowledge-sharing to increase profitability and prosperity.
The YLA is structured as a 12-week program with MBA-inspired modules. Through the program, participants will learn how to assess their skills and assets, understand their customers and competitors, manage finances, and track their progress and profitability. The course is online to accommodate for vast geographical distances and built around an app developed specifically for the program.
After opening the application period in India, the program did not attract as many female entrepreneurs and business owners as intended.
“After looking into the reasons behind the low number of female applicants, we launched the plus-one model, an innovative way to accommodate for local customs and culture and ensure female participation. When male participants were selected, they were encouraged to bring a plus-one to the program, and most chose their wife, increasing the number of women in the program and contributing to inclusive economic growth,” says Marisa Soares, Senior Vice President Innovation and Impact in Yara Africa & Asia.
Sapna Pratap Singh, the plus-one of Vijay Pratap Singh from the Sambhal district has grown her business skills through the program. “Yara’s leadership program is like a revolution for the agriculture business. Attending three sessions of this program so far has helped me a lot to understand my business. It also helped me to improve my business skills” she says.
The plus-one model is a clear example of the need for customization of programs to local culture and tradition. To ensure truly inclusive growth, barriers to participation for marginalized groups must be identified and addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Yara Leadership Academiy for MSMEs is part of a broader Social Impact 2030 framework that Yara Africa & Asia announced in 2022. It aims to increase digital access and enablement, ensure inclusive economic development, and reduce hunger.
To deliver on our ambition of Growing a NaturePositive Food Future, we need to contribute to prosperity in the communities in which we operate. Making Yara’s ambition tangible, Yara Africa & Asia’s Social Impact 2030 framework will create thousands of new jobs, digitally and financially empower farmers and business owners, and the Yara Leadership Academy is an important milestone on the journey to 2030.