Extracting Full Value From Farmers’ Crops

The world’s 450 million smallholder farming households – over 2 billion people – coax 70% of the world’s food from their two-hectare plots, but 25-50% of their crops perish after harvest. The owners of much-needed processing and storage equipment have difficulty finding smallholder farmers who can pay to use the machinery, and they may not trust farmers to foot the bill.

What if we used intelligent voice recognition (IVR) or an SMS-enabled platform to link owners of expensive processing and storage assets (such as mills, roasters, and separators) to cash crop-focused cooperatives and small businesses? The platform would match equipment owners to cooperatives that pool resources or to farmers who can pay individually, giving smallholders access to assets that would otherwise be out of reach.

Examples of this exact model do not yet exist, but the main elements are in progress. The Dutch Agricultural Development & Trading Company (DADTCO) developed a mobile, self-powered cassava processing unit that is currently being used in Ghana, Mozambique, and Nigeria to source cassava from thousands of smallholders. Zambia’s Rent-to-Own leases processing equipment to smallholders who eventually purchase the assets in installments.

Digital Sharing Model: Cash Crop Processing in Developing Countries