Our Approach

SEMBRAR Institute operates within a value-chain context; we provide technological innovation using a “ knowledge dialogue” method, which can be understood as the combination of modern Western scientific principles and local intergenerational knowledge. We combine world- class technology with the use of best local and ancestral knowledge of native villages.

This hybrid model allows us to use basic concepts of systems analysis to segment groups of clients so we can develop specific knowledge of the needs of each group interacting within the system. We identify characteristic factors to understand clients’ specific demands and technology needs in the production processes (for each group and for each commodity), with the objective of increas ing production and productivity.

Our Approach

Nuestro enfoque

SEMBRAR Institute has developed a comprehensive intervention method to serve small farmers . This method is based on three lines of action.

1. Access to financing
2. Technical assistance
3. Access to information and markets

In this context, SEMBRAR Institute focuses on the technical assistance area (2), and market access and information (3); while the SembrarSartawi Foundation is the specialized financial institution that provides access to financial services (1) for this target group of agricultural producers.

SEMBRAR Institute and the SembrarSartawi Foundation are separate organizations, but are united by their mandate and a common institutional origin.


a. Access to financing
The SembrarSartawi Foundation__:__. has developed a network of rural offices and helps producers by facilitating access to funds. The experience and history of the SembrarSartawi Foundation allows financial products to be tailored to the needs of the small farmer.

The SembrarSartawi Foundation continuously faces the challenge of managing multiple risks inherent in agricultural production, such as climate fluctuation and market oscillation, as well as the regular risks associated with any financial activity. Currently, the SembrarSartawi Foundation has 60% of its portfolio allocated to servicing small farmers.

In this regard, risk mitigation, such as technical assistance, information, and market access, are delivered directly via S EMBRAR Institute or through strategic alliances with production line operators (i.e., entities elsewhere within the production chain ), depending on product and geographic location.

Of course, if the producer grows and sells with more efficiency and profit, this clearly will benefit their relationship with the financial institution ( i.e., the SembrarSartawi Foundation).

b. Technical assistance.
We define technical assistance in broad terms as support rendered to the producer to engender greater productivity.

Our activity in this area mitigates risk to production by controlling and dampening the likelihood of poor practices and adverse events (e.g., pests, diseases, low-quality nutrient s) that can lead to low productivity.

Farmers are technically assisted by SEMBRAR Institute in four key areas: appropriate technology; participatory extension; quality inputs; and relevant services.

Appropriate technology deals with the innovation of practices in the field, so they can be appropriately adjusted within the context of the ability of local producers to understand and efficiently utilize these new practices for later dissemination. These technological innovations are transferred directly to the producers, using trained technicians who are funded by SEMBRAR Institute or another mediator in the production chain. Through this process, we form strategic alliances with suppliers of agricultural inputs, forestry inputs, NGOs, universities (public and private), innovative state institutions , international agencies, and others.

Technology transfer is also performed by using a participatory extension model. This has different activities, including the exchange of experiences; field days; exhibitions ; technology demonstration days ; video training ; working groups ; comparative techniques ; formal training of farmers ; radio spots ; field experimentation , and many other activities .

Quality of inputs: SEMBRAR Institute facilitates and coordinates actions with suppliers of quality inputs to farmers.

Service delivery is the area responsible for the systematization of good practices, lessons, training, experience and information accumulated in the field. This is accomplished by the development of models that are easily replicated in different agro-ecological regions of the country. In the near future, SEMBRAR Institute will provide services to different organizations - financial or otherwise - that may require this skill.

c. Information and access to markets.
The lack of information due to poor communication, limited price knowledge and market trends are characteristics of small producers, and are defined as “market risks ”. At planting time, the price of the product is not known and no trend or forecast is considered at the time of sale. Therefore, access to information is a necessary and effective variable to improve production and to increase their economic activity.

This information will allow producers to sell better and produce sufficient quantity for the market’s demand.

This third line of action of SEMBRAR Institute makes it easier for farmers to access pricing information, market research and product competitiveness. As in other cases, institutional alliances are arranged and maintained to deliver this service in a more effective manner.

d. Other products.
SEMBRAR Institute is growing in national and international recogni tion, and is now seen as a leader in the field of assessing the social impact of agricultural microfinance operations in Bolivia and throughout Latin America. This capability to certify organizations and micro enterprises also enables SEMBRAR Institute to remain a major force for economic and social good in the country .

Among our mandates, we consider that of the commercial transfer of technological innovation models to increase productivity of small farmers of great importance. This effort also will be directed to other institutions and private for- profit organizations with exposure to agriculture risks. This is an important mechanism for the financial sustainability of SEMBRAR Institute.

SEMBRAR Institute is an active member in a partnership w ith a training center that specializes in forming talented micro finance specialists for Latin America. Our interest lies in building capacity in institutions that focus on rural areas, and particularly for agricultur al clients, who are best-suited to take advantage of our comprehensive approach and offerings.


2512 Sánchez Lima Street , Sopocachi
Melissa Building, Mezanine A
Telephone.: (591) 2 –2425034
E-mail: info@sembrarsartawi.org

La Paz - Bolivia