Lean data: Big benefits for smallholder supply chains

Our Smallholdr customised mobile app and web-based dashboards empower our clients to better manage their smallholder supply chains and deliver ‘lean data’. Lean data, a concept developed by Acumen, puts the voice of the customer at the heart of impact measurement; it is the collection of high quality impact data to demonstrate social change with …

Data-driven growth: How to engage with over 20,000 farmers and create the perfect blend

Meridian FSU screenshoot of Smallholdr Wed Dashboard. Data is viewed in real time as it is uploaded by 100+ extension workers across Malawi

Imagine the challenge of managing 120 field staff working with 22,000 farmers across a whole country… We are delighted that Caitlin Shaw, Manager of Meridian’s Farm Services Unit (FSU) in Malawi, has written us a guest blog this month to explain how Smallholdr has done exactly that, capturing rich records of all farmer interactions and …

Follow the honey: how Smallholdr enables product tracking in rural Tanzania

honeycomb, fresh honey, sustainable beekeeping, Pure Joy Honey, Tanzania

Knowing the exact origins of food – and other products – is becoming a hygiene factor rather than a novelty among many consumers now there is an increased awareness about a whole range of factors when selecting brands. Was a fair price paid to the small farmers for their avocados? Is a particular Ethiopian coffee …

Great outgrower software solutions start with excellent requirements capture

At Smallholdr we want our clients to stay with us for the duration, and we believe that the groundwork we put in to get to know them in the beginning is the key to a long and happy relationship. The reason that outgrower (and other agricultural) digitisation projects often fail is down to poorly executed …

Rwanda: commercial beyond its high profile Arsenal campaign

Even I – as a non-football fan – had noticed the unusual tourism advertising campaign launched by Rwanda last year to reach the Premier League’s massive audience. The move received mixed reviews but reflects the invest-to-succeed ethos of Africa’s second fastest growing economy. To put a twist on that rather patronising term, the overwhelming thought …

Smallholdr’s mobile app for GNA’s Private Extension Agents (PEAs): supporting real time data collection at lead farmer level

Seed multiplication by smallholder farmers is the core business model of Good Nature Agro (GNA), a Zambian seed company based in Chipata near the western border of the country. It therefore follows that provision of hands-on extension is a vital part of the company’s business; multiplying certified seed requires a very specific set of farming …

What does the dramatic slowdown in global growth of internet access mean for agritech?

A recent Guardian article reported a dramatic decline in internet access growth suggests digital revolution will remain a distant dream for billions of people. With a proliferation of technology solutions aimed at improving the livelihoods of poor farmers it is a challenge to evaluate which options are the ones that will really endure and make …

Is smallholder farming sexy?

One of the Big Questions arising from the Innovation Forum’s conference this week on how business can make smallholder supply chains resilient was: what does the future hold for smallholder farming? While the current trend is for millennials to venture into niche ethical food businesses in the western world, farming is not seen as the …

Private sector extension: a sustainable agri-retailer model for improving smallholder productivity?

Central to the challenges of food security and poverty alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa is the need to increase the productivity of smallholder farmers. Access to better inputs and agronomic advice via extension services is therefore vital. A Malawian agri-retailer is rising to these challenges by customising fertiliser blends for smallholders, using extension as a marketing …

Spreadsheets are where data go to die

Conducting a farmer registration survey in Malawi

The data problem and opportunity 570 million smallholder farms, using less than two hectares of land, account for roughly 12% of the world’s agricultural land (World Development, 2016). These farms supply around 30% of our global food commodities, but are hard to reach and often with little formal organisation. It is a challenge for larger …

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