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

Photo of Angus Keck
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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.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

AgUnity Pty Ltd

Year founded

2017

Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $50k - $100k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 1,000 - 5,000

Organization type

  • For-profit

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Australia

Headquarters location: City

Wellington Point, Queensland

Location(s) of impact

Papua New Guinea: Bougainville, Carteret Islands
Kenya: Nanyuki

Website

http://www.agunity.com

Facebook URL

https://www.facebook.com/AgriUnity/

Twitter URL

https://twitter.com/AgriUnity

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?

  • Ashoka page or contact

4 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Angus Keck

The Ag Unity app with mob phone connects small farmers to the Worid, gives them solutions, enables a bank account that is in the cloud and usable for micro finance. The app encourages them into co-ops so they can increase the income from their hard work. with increased income they are able to purchase better equipment, solar light , water pumps, bio-digesters for energy etc.

Photo of Bryan Raveen Nelson

Dear Angus,

I just went through your application and really liked your idea. Since this competition gives points for peer review, I was wondering if it would be possible for you to evaluate our submission as I too will be doing the same for yours. As you would have noticed in the design quotient you have marks for EVALUATION which you get when you review other applications. When others review your application you get points for IDEA. To find my application you will have to Select ‘‘PHASE> Prize entry’’. On the right section of page, under the heading ‘‘FOCUS AREAS’’ click on "WATER". Go to Page 3> Click "Evaluate" on application titled "Turning the tables for Temiar tribe of Malaysia". I would also appreciate if you either applaud us or leave a comment on our page if you deem us worthy.

Thank you very much.

Photo of FOLO Farms Malaysia

Would like to see whether we can use Agriledger to further spur the farming for good movement we have here in Malaysia FOLO Farms Malaysia 

Photo of Angus Keck

Hi FOLO Farms Malaysia   

You have an absolutely wonderful project, and it would be sensational if there were scope for our product AgriLedger to be used as part of what you do. My brother is an organic farmer and I've worked in retail organics (in Australia) for many years, and we also have a big issue of food waste not being re-used and most of it going to landfill.

The core of AgriLedger is to record transactions in a Blockchain so that farmers can trust they will be paid if they hand over their crops. Do you know if there are many farming cooperatives in Malaysia and what kinds of issues most farmers face there?

Thanks,
AgriLedger: Blockchain for the Greater Good