500 million smallholders are responsible for producing 70% of the food consumed globally, making them critical stewards of the planet’s fragile ecosystems and limited natural resources. To meet the growing population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, food production will need increase by 60-70% with the same amount of land and water resources. This unprecedented demand will place the future of food and planet at risk as incidences of unsustainable and irresponsible farming systems increase. Smallholders are tasked with feeding one third of humanity, whilst simultaneously safeguarding the environment, managing 60% of the world’s arable land and 70% of world’s water resources. Without access to actionable data and information, smallholders struggle to improve farming systems, strengthen their resilience and safeguard the environment.
Producers Direct is a farmer-led organization that works to support farmers to turn their small-scale farms in to small-scale business by equipping them with digital tools to access markets, manage farm financing, and access climatic data enabling them to make informed, data-driven decisions. The FarmDirect App integrates all of these stand-alone services into a sole, integrated application enabling farmers to have a holistic farm views through 1) dynamic data dashboards presenting farm views across multiple farm enterprises (i.e. poultry, dairy, vegetables, fruits), 2) opportunities to access and manage farm financing, 3) a mobile marketplace for crops (to bundle crops remotely, access markets beyond farm gate, receive digital payments, & track any food loss/wastage), and 4) actionable, real-time climatic data powered by on-farm weather stations for smarter on-farm decisions and integrated historical satellite data. FarmDirect equips smallholders with access to actionable, realtime data predictions and information to improve their farming practices resulting in improved crop quality and yields, food security, incomes, and resilience to changing climates and market volatility.
FarmDirect has been designed by farmers, for farmers using human-centred design practices, ensuring it is accessible, relevant, affordable, and scalable across smallholders globally. Our user-centred approach empowers farmers to be active designers and users as we continually test, adapt and learn. Far too often sound tech-based solutions are not used because testing was not done with key users. Currently FarmDirect has been piloted in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) and Peru, and continues to be tested and iterated by all members of the farming community including women’s groups, youth groups and farming cooperatives. Further, FarmDirect is backed by our strong in-person, farmer-led model providing access to Training, Financing, Markets, and Data through partner Producer Organisations (farming cooperatives). Similarly, our digital services are support by networks of young people and women through in-person training, market access and transport logistics, promoting sustainable, smallholder-inclusive value chains from the base of the pyramid.