The enhancement of production capacities and the opening of new commercial channels represent a fundamental driver for combating poverty in Mexico and in Central America.
We develop the potential of small growers by offering training and the sales expertise we have acquired under different commercial conditions, thus facilitating learning experiences and the ensuing opportunities such as payment terms, logistics costs, and letters of intent for purchases. In this manner we seek to develop their potential for increased productivity, income, and the capacity to grow and create jobs for their communities.
With the Fertile Soil program in Central America, which consists of direct purchases, we have helped 355 small and medium-sized farmers throughout the year. We purchased 2.2 billion pesos from these farmers, representing 57% in produce and grains sold in our units. This program has helped to maintain our commitment to assist these suppliers, so we continue offering training for farmers in Good Agricultural Practices -GAP- to reduce environmental impacts and improve productivity.
With the help of Enactus Mexico, Endeavor Mexico, KPMG, and Todo Retail, the Walmart Foundation of Mexico was able to hold its first call for small farmers to enroll their manufactured products. Of the 477 products registered, 58 were selected; they underwent an evaluation process by a committee of merchants for Walmart Mexico and representatives from other companies. After a full day of presentations and the exchange of best practices with the participants, 30 were chosen. The support provided consists of an intense 13-month training course in business model development, brands and products, and mentoring so small farmers may maximize their commercial capacities and increase productivity rates, thereby driving the economy in their communities.
The expected result of this learning experience is that these growers be better equipped to sell their merchandise in our stores. Those products accomplishing good sales volumes continue as suppliers.
The Sustainable Agriculture program in Mexico trained over 1,450 small farmers located in 10 states throughout the country, with purchases amounting to 43.9 million pesos and 223% growth over last year, thus increasing their income by an average of 20%. The program consists of comprehensive training in best farming and business practices.