mFarmer is a collaborative initiative that aims to make farming supply chains more sustainable along with improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and their communities by developing practical solutions that use the power of readily available mobile technology.
In recent decades smallholder farmers in the developing world have faced increasing challenges. Their incomes are under pressure from rising input costs, increased competition from large scale farming operations, and pressure from supply chain intermediaries that provide immediate payment in exchange for significant price reductions. Additionally consumers are demanding enterprises to source their inputs from sustainable providers which puts pressure on smallholders to comply with standards they do not always fully understand. Meanwhile, market penetration for smartphones along with broadband coverage continue to expand offering unprecedented opportunities for innovators to utilize mobile technology to promote sustainable livelihoods.
To capitalize on the revolution in mobile technology in order to improve the sustainability of smallholder farmers, Unilever and GrowAsia have partnered to lead the creation of a common, multi-stakeholder platform for smallholder farmers to access content that can help them make better farming decisions and become more sustainable in their practice. This includes access to weather data, training content and communications tools that will improve stallholders’ sustainable practice along with providing greater access to markets. The mFarmer platform, powered by EcoHub will expand to become an open-platform for GrowAsia members leverage qualified technology suppliers of their choice but still contribute to GrowAsia’s common KPIs. GrowAsia’s common structure of 12 core data attributes enables secure end to end supply chains with a subset of 5 data attributes shared as composites at a GrowAsia level.