Selling future harvest with Mi Huerto Web
We help small farmers to sell their harvest online and create opportunities for collaboration with our territorial management model.
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.
Mi Huerto Web SpA
Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Valdivia, Region de los Lagos
Location(s) of impact
This is an example from our sales platform where we sell one time deliveries with 1 week of anticipation or weekly deliveries for a whole month. Mi Huerto Web gives full transparency of the 'history of the products' and video interviews of farmers can be seen on the platform. For even more transparency see photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mihuertoweb/albums
Farmers decide their own prices and we present their offerings online. More photos of Pedro and his wife Maricel here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mihuertoweb/albums
At Mi Huerto Web, the human part of the purchase is always in the spotlight. We make farmers proud of their profession and restore their self image. More photos here https://www.flickr.com/photos/mihuertoweb/albums
This documentary has been shown on CNN Chile and on national Chilean TV. Spanish language only.
Small farmers have one competitive advantage: The dedication and passion they invest in their work. At Mi Huerto Web we stress this human component because it is the sole advantage that can compete with the common factors of success in agriculture, which are scale (low prices) and look (which is not in relation to good taste).
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
Farmers face ever-higher market barriers and receive a mere 10-15% of final prices while intermediaries make the profits. Farming remains the basic economic activity but its decline leads to land flight and the hollowing out of rural economy. Too little attention of decision makers is paid to domestic markets. Too much attention is focused on subsidies to produce more and on targeting the niche of export markets. Both cannot provide systemic solutions needed to preserve small farming where it still exists.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
We created an online market place to sell future harvest of farmers directly to end consumers. Our territorial model is vital to inform our logistics and to create shared value for the local economy. We map productive 'clusters' of small farmers and develop these with 'territorial managers' who also fetch harvest and deliver to nearby urban areas. The manager has weekly contact with the farmers and builds relationships of confidence, allowing understanding local problems and facilitating solutions. 'Veggies’ are the pretext to 'lock in' clients with a regular purchase. Weekly contact with the same clients creates opportunities to offer products of small business from the same areas (honey, local beer etc.) all in the same journey. Our sales platform puts each individual farmer and the ‘history of the products’ in the spotlight. It counts with the complete back office and is perfectly scalable to be a systemic solution. A local economy with short and transparent value chains can unfold.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
We established a first territorial unit in which we are working with 80 farmers, who increased their sales and standard of living. Three host organizations in central Santiago agreed to function as points of delivery - free of charge. They win more client traffic in their stores/restaurant and we win a delivery point. This is another example that shows how CSV is inherent to our territorial model. We establish the financial history of farmers and encourage the use of bank accounts to receive payments, which increases possibilities for banks to give microcredits.
We encourage the use of natural growing techniques and we reduced the use of agro chemicals considerably among the 80 farmers. We diversify small farms and incentivise the cultivation of gourmet products like Kale, rúcula, edible flowers, herbs etc. We inform clients of the progress and difficulties of the growth of their purchases thereby creating awareness of farmers’ lives and challenges.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
Mi Huerto Web has been developed with the personal investments of its two partners amounting to US$200.000. A CSR project has injected another US$50.000 and we are in advanced talks with companies for new projects. A small part of shares are owned by social company accelerator Fledge which has injected US$20.000 in return. Income from our commission on the sales (18.5%) cover parts of our current operations but, being a systemic solution, more funds are needed to reach the scale that is needed to reach break even. Applications to government funds are handed in. A crowd funding campaign is scheduled soon. We are constantly on the look out for an investor to develop the Chilean market or abroad.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
Our territorial management model enables us to reach small farmers efficiently where others fail. Our solution is systemic and we scale by replicating ‘territories’, which are managed independently but with fixed cost as they are backed up by our platform.
Selling future harvest enables to include intangible values as inherent parts of the products. Clients will know the entire ‘history of their food’ and come to value the social and environmental aspects.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
Diego (founder) is a forester who was responsible to prepare entire valleys for harvesting wood in Patagonia, Chile. This involved planning and constructing roads and bridges among others. Diego was frustrated by narrow mindedness of most who ignored opportunities to create synergies across sectors for the long term. He lamented the lack of models, which allowed monetising intangible values such as ‘scenic beauty’ of roads to be build. Working on a social responsibility project for a mine, he witnessed first hand that the biggest problem of small farmers was not to produce more (were most subsidies go to) but to sell more and under more fair conditions.
These experiences led to the birth of Mi Huerto Web, which applies territorial planning and management know-how with the principle to anchor ‘intangible' social and environmental value in the sale of the products.
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