“As mobile operator’s margins become thinner, we see the market shift to offer their services in agriculture. This is great news, as there is a genuine demand for smallholder farmer services currently unmet, and digitization can help.”
These reflections from Director of Learning and Innovation, Iris van der Velden as she returned from the GSMA, the largest mobile event in the world. The event brings together innovators and leading-edge technology providers. Iris was there to facilitate the session “Digitizing Agriculture Value Chains”, attended by a full house of digital innovators and policy makers.
We asked Iris to share some of the inspiring examples of innovators she encountered there. Here are her top three:
AgriLedger is a showcase for real-world Blockchain applications. By digitizing farming co-operatives using distributed ledger technology (DLT) and mobile apps, they help smallholders and cooperatives improve efficiency, provide farm secure identity management, enable the first steps into the world of banking, micropayments, and loans.
Mango farmers in Haiti using AgriLedger’s ‘Transparent Trade Ledger’ are getting a larger share of the retailer price, increased transparency and shortening the value chain. A ‘Transparent Trade Ledger’ places the high-quality produce of Haiti’s smallholders into a system that only rewards those providing a needed service at a reasonable price.
Farmcrowdy is a Nigerian digital startup revolutionizing the local agriculture sector by connecting small-scale farmers with Nigerian sponsors locally and internationally, who invest in farm cycles. Launched in 2016, they connect 11,000+ small scale farmers with sponsors, who invest in anything from poultry [3-5 months] to cassava [9mths]. The farmers receive on-the-ground advice and training from agriculture experts in better agricultural practices, different type of crops and production methods, and also linkages to the buyers of the produce. Farmers and sponsors all receive a percentage of the profits on the harvest.
Twiga Foods is the Amazon of fruits & vegetables in Kenya links smallholder farmers in rural Kenya to informal retail vendors in cities (Farmers to Businesses). They create direct links between farmers and informal vendors and offer bundled services (finance, advice, access to markets, inputs).
Since 2014, Twiga has been bridging gaps in food and market security through an organized platform for an efﬁcient, fair, transparent and formal marketplace. Twiga sources quality produce from over 8,000 farmers, providing them with a ready guaranteed market, and deliver from their warehouses to over 3,000 of vendors, at prices fair to everyone. The company also owns a large fleet of mobilized trucks and vans for swift collection and distribution of produce. This creates an efficient logistics system that limits Twiga’s post-harvest losses to 5 percent, as compared to 30% at informal markets, average for Kenyan farmers produce. Farmers who sign up with Twiga receive payment within 24 hours.
Curious to know how your business can integrate some of these promising technology applications into its sourcing operations? IDH can help identify which innovations could best support your business.