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The Produce Aggregator Program (PAP) is designed for one purpose - to help participants become successful agricultural produce aggregators. It is different from, but complementary to, the Aquaculture Enterprise Program (AEP) and the Agricultural Microentrepreneur Program (AMP) which teach participants how to grow aquaculture and agricultural products, respectively. Undervalued as it often is, the function of the typical aggregator is viewed as transactional, and predominantly domiciled in the post-harvest domain. In practice, aggregators play an invaluable role up and down the agricultural supply chain by providing supportive services to farmers and processors alike in both the forward and the reverse directions of the transaction path.

This program is specifically designed to support those looking at pursuing careers as professional aggregators. It also provides programmatic support to those that might be seeking to pursue this career later in life. These include mid to senior-level working professionals, retirees, and those seeking secondary sources of income. The goal of the program is to help individuals who have no experience (but significant interest) to learn what they need to know to become successful produce aggregators. Led by highly experienced instructors and practitioners, the program emphasizes hands-on, practical learning. Furthermore, the program provides students access to an affiliate offtaker, ensuring that they are able to practice and succeed in their new field of endeavor.  The 6-month Certificate in Produce Aggregation provides significant training in both domestic as well as export market entry, with the latter drawing heavily from the International Trade & Export Development program also offered by IDMANN Institute.

Aggregators are the critical ligament that hold the agricultural economy together. They enable farmers to focus on cultivation and farm management, while enabling processors (and retailers alike) to access quality produce at competitive price points and requisite volumes. However, their role is often misunderstood and usually maligned (as "middlemen"). Aggregators provide a critical service in the agricultural value chain as they enable efficiencies that may be difficult to realize otherwise.

This 6-month PAP program provides students the skills and the operational assets to start and operate thriving businesses as aggregators. The program is designed to provide the necessary grounding for new entrants to go from absolute novices to confident professional aggregators. We emphasize 'professional' because many aggregators get into the trade by default, without a proper grounding in the technical and analytical requirements of produce aggregation. This program provides that grounding. 

Though it is designed primarily for new/aspiring aggregators, it is of equal benefit to current operators who are seeking to better manage or expand their enterprises. The program is specifically designed to include those looking to become aggregators, possibly as a second or latter-stage profession. So it provides the tools for working professionals, retirees, and practicing entrepreneurs (in other fields) to start their agricultural enterprise.

Not only does the program provide training, it also provides ONGOING advice and technical support for students as they grow their enterprises. This includes remote consultations with experts, as well as interaction with other trainees and colleagues via collaborative platforms that foster shared learning and experiences WELL BEYOND the base training period. The program also includes a referral component as well as the companion offtaker that could provide a market for them to sell their produce. Those who are interested - and adequately prepared - could also benefit from the export development component referenced earlier.

The details of the program are described below.