Precision Agriculture for Smallholder Farmers

How can we increase smallholder yields through precision agriculture?

How did we create impact?

The track aimed to create a concrete strategy to make digital farming affordable and accessible to smallholder farmers.

Participants designed an integrated market platform for small farmers, that was piloted with eKutir in India. The integrated platform bundled existing services including information (on soil, weather, markets, plant health and agricultural practices), access to inputs, equipment leasing, finance, post-harvest services and access to markets, to create a range of synergies.

What is disruptive technology doing for agriculture?

Precision Agriculture allows farmers to manage their fields for maximum output by using data (e.g. on weather, soil and diseases) and digitized farming equipment to apply the right inputs at the right time. With this technology, farmers are able to conserve valuable resources, such as water and fertilizer, and reduce pollution while increasing both quality and quantity of their yields.

Why do we need more inclusive solutions?

The demand for food is increasing. By 2030, there will be a projected 9.3 billion people on the globe, most of them in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In these regions, 80% of the farmland is managed by smallholder farmers, who produce 80% of the food consumed. Globally, there are more than 500 million small farms.

Precision agriculture could boost the productivity of smallholder farmers, who usually lack access to information and have few means to afford inputs. With precision agriculture, they could increase yields and maximize the payback of their investments.

Who attended

The precision agriculture track brought together:

  • Startups and social entrepreneurs offering mobile solutions to provide smallholders with timely and accurate information about weather, soil, diseases, and markets
  • Corporates producing and selling agricultural inputs, including seed, fertilizer and crop protection, as well as irrigation systems and other machinery
  • NGOs building capacities of and organizing smallholder farmers locally
  • Agricultural product off-takers, who require end-to-end traceability to know exactly what went into production
  • The head of a smallholder farmer cooperative, who can advise the team on the needs and usability of the solution
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