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Transforming Global Food System

Smallholder farmers are the backbone of the global food system, producing over one-third of the food we consume. Despite this statistic, for many of the world's nearly 600 million smallholder farmers, this is no longer a sustainable occupation. Many of them are now leaving their communities to pursue other means of work. Currently, our food systems are facing several challenges: geopolitical conflicts, the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and worsening climate effects. With smallholder farming in jeopardy, this merely increases the already high risk to our food security. As it stands, nearly 10% of the world's current population suffers from hunger, and this figure is only projected to rise.


One of the major hindrances toward smallholder farmers is the lack of digital infrastructure in their communities, which are often small and in rural areas. In areas that have insufficient digital infrastructure, internet and power can often be unreliable, inconsistent, and high in cost. Smallholder farmers in areas that are not properly equipped to maintain digital equipment and technology tend to lack a digital identity and access to data. Simultaneously, other methods and solutions such as artificial intelligence (AI) can be costly. However, if they were able to access the available technologies, they would no longer have to put themselves in unnecessary financial risk. Additionally, the advanced equipment could potentially increase their efficiency and output. An evident example is in India, where less than half of the farmers have access to formal credit. This drives them to borrow from informal money lenders, often with interest rates of 35-60%. Many of these farmers also often struggle with cash flow, and without access to formal loans, they resort to selling their personal belongings in order to finance their crops. This creates an environment where smallholder farmers do not have access to the appropriate funding and technologies, putting them in potentially dangerous situations as they do not have financial stability.


In order to aid smallholder farmers in their work, solutions need to be thought of which can help digitize their community in order to streamline their responsibilities. For example, Farm Pass helps digitize agriculture value chains in order to allow access to credit, subsequently creating a bigger pool of consumers. It provides farmers with not only a digital identity but also a transaction record, connecting them to formal financial institutions, and allowing them to enjoy formal loans with far more reasonable interest rates. With the help of other local agriculture technology companies and financial institutions, Farm Pass has helped roughly 2 million smallholder farmers in Africa and India. Smallholder farmers are pivotal to transforming global food systems, making their digitization even more necessary. Crucially, the proposal to end world hunger will only succeed if smallholder farmers are made the central pivot, according to African experts at the United Nations Food Systems Summit.

Agriculture is a sector which can benefit GREATly from the inclusion of recent technologies, especially in the case of smallholder farming. In order to help support smallholder farmers, we must make sure their facilities and industry are well developed and invested in. Having access to stable and formal forms of banking and financial aid is the first step.


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