AgriLedger: Blockchain for the Greater Good
AgUnity is helping the world's 1-billion small-scale farmers with a blockchain & smartphone solution, tripling incomes & improving wellbeing
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
AgUnity Pty Ltd
Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Wellington Point, Queensland
Location(s) of impact
Papua New Guinea: Bougainville, Carteret Islands
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
One in three people worldwide suffer from malnutrition. This stems from a lack of income and ability to buy nutritious food, although enough food exists. While 40% of the world's people earn their income from Agriculture, up to 50% of a farmer's crop value 'vanishes' between harvest and sale. Inefficiencies in record-keeping, leading to a lack of trust/cooperation between farmers and farming co-operatives, has been identified as the major roadblock to improving the lives of billions of farming families around the world.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
Our solution is provide a smartphone and blockchain application, AgriLedger, for free to farmers in the developing world. As an example of our work in Bougainville, AgUnity is working with Ursula Rakova, MD of Tulele Piesa, to progressively introduce AgriLedger to an increasing number of farmers and co-operatives. This enables farmers to track all transactions between each other and their local co-operatives, and to plan better, buy and sell together and cooperate to share resources. In Bougainville average farmer incomes have increased by 3x for those participating in the AgUnity pilot project. This increase allows families to access and purchase better quality foods on a consistent basis. Ursula also uses the AgriLedger application as an opportunity to educate families on improving nutrition and women's rights, while also showing young people how farming can be a profitable activity. As the AgriLedger network expands, Ursula can reach more people via her Tulele Piesa foundation.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
Ursula and her foundation, Tulele Piesa, have managed to provide 3,000 people on Carteret Islands with continued access food and water even after half of their islands have been washed away, and sea water has poisoned their drinking water and killed their crops. In addition, 180 people have been successfully relocated to mainland Bougainville to become cocoa farmers and food growers for themselves and their islands clans. A significant number of mainland youths are now being trained for future farming and related agricultural work, and in partnership with AgUnity and using the AgriLedger app, families are not only seeing a substantial rise in their incomes, but are also beginning to receive education on better nutrition and women's rights. An additional benefit of using AgriLedger is that, as the number of farmers using the AgriLedger app increase, Ursula and her foundation have greater documentation with which to seek additional NGO/Government funding to help her people.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
AgUnity's partnership with Ursula and Tulele Piesa is one example of the projects we run. To ensure we can expand our service to the world's 1-billion poorest farmers, we've developed a business model that does not charge farmers until they've started increasing their incomes. Via the AgriLedger app, farmers can purchase ethical good and services, and the third-parties supplying these products provide AgUnity with a royalty fee. While we are scaling up, our short-to-mid term plans are to partner with NGOs such as Aus Aid (who can support the expansion of our Bougainville project to 10,000 families) to fund us to provide smartphones and AgriLedger to farmers all for free. We have also just received the first Bougainville order for solar lights via AgriLedger at a value of $25,000 AUD.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
AgUnity is the only organisation providing a smartphone, blockchain and cooperative-based model to improve farmers' lives. Mobile banking, insurance, ecommerce and online services will deliver huge benefits to the poor in the future, but farmers are more concerned with their immediate problems of trust and inefficiency. As a blockchain-based application, AgriLedger provides an immutable way of tracking transactions that farmers can trust and understand with surprisingly little explanation.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
In April last year we entered a hackathon in London, with the theme “FinTech for Good”. We wanted to win the prize from Singularity University so we set ourselves a crazy challenge. What practical way could we come up with to address malnutrition and improve the lives for a billion people? We realised most of the world's malnourished are poor and financially excluded small farmers. Farming families with only a few acres and surviving on a few dollars a day. These small farmers struggle with challenges that are so basic, people in the West cannot even comprehend, where even a small increase in income can have a profound effect on their health and wellbeing.
That was our "Aha!" moment, and so was born the idea of AgriLedger, a simple smartphone blockchain application to help farmers become more efficient by planning and cooperating better. We won the hackathon and have not looked back.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?