• Dr. Yelto Zimmer

Greater Yield through know-how


Small-holder farming in Africa (© Gilles Paires –

Farmers and intermediate industries maintain and increase agricultural productivity with great technical effort and a high level of expertise. In contrast, existing productivity potentials in agriculture remain largely untapped in many parts of the world. As a consequence resources are wasted. As an example, despite excellent agronomic conditions, farmers in the states of the former Soviet Union apply exceptionally little fertilizer and often virtually no pesticides. The same is true for large parts of Africa. In other countries high yields are achieved by very high fertilizer application rates which often create severe negative environmental effects, e.g., in China and Vietnam.

The existing potential for revenue and efficiency gains can only be raised when analyzing the initial on-farm situation to understand the drivers of farmers’ behavior. Any strategy to implement measures which helps to enhance yields and to use inputs more efficiently requires  close cooperation with farmers and advisors.

This is where we come in with the agri benchmark network. Our scientific partners in the particular countries analyze the dominant production systems in typical farms for the major growing regions:

  • Which crops are grown in which crop rotation?
  • What kind of tillage takes place?
  • Which seed is used and
  • Which inputs are applied in what quantities?

In addition, our partners organize so-called focus groups with farmers and advisors in each of the regions to collect and to examine data on the quality of the products harvested, dried and stored, and to whom they are sold based on what terms. The focus groups are also used  to explore the decision-making process of farmers.

All this information is necessary if we want to contribute raising yield potential and improving global food security.