Why we should stay excited for data analytics in smallholder finance At nearly USD 150 billion, the gap in smallholder financing remains wide and financial institutions by and large continue to find smallholder farmer a difficult and costly segment to serve. The result is that far too many smallholders remain without access to the finance – particularly credit – they need to obtain critical inputs, make long term investments, increase their productivity and ultimately improve their income and livelihoods.
The narrative typically goes that the business case to serve smallholders is limited, driven by factors including a poor understanding of their needs and the economics of their farming activities, high costs to serve, and small transaction size and volume.
We believe there are ways to transform the underlying economics to serve farmers profitably and at scale – and that data and technology could be fundamental drivers of this shift. There is already a lot of buzz about whether data analytics will be a game-changer.
Big Data is expected to have a large impact on Smart Farming and involves the whole supply chain.
Smart sensors and devices produce big amounts of data that provide unprecedented decision-making capabilities is expected to cause major shifts in roles and power relations among traditional and non-traditional players.
Governance (incl. data ownership, privacy, security) and business models are key issues to be addressed in future research.
More roles of data analysis in agriculture
Data help debt-laden farmers, insurance agencies, loan banks, seed companies, machine industry and every big and small player. Data analysis not only creates greater awareness and more accurate knowledge, but it can also plug the lacunae in the supply and marketing chain of the industry.
Information is power, and the industry can now have access to it for more informed decision making. These are the ways in which data analysis can help:
Development of new seed traits – Access to the plant genome with new ways to measure, map and drive information betters’ products.
Precision farming – Big data takes advantage of information derived through precision farming in aggregate over many farms. The resulting analytics, insights and better decisions can then be deployed through precision farming techniques
Agronet solution endorses e-agriculture in action and provides a solid framework for big data in agriculture. An excess of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is generated daily across the globe, with more than half of the world online, as of 2019, the amount of data generated is colossal. The increase in the use of the Internet of things (IoT) will only add to this data deluge.
Agronet solution provides a peer-to-peer Farmer Digital Advisory and Information Service that offers both on-demand and periodically distributed (push) information and guidance to farmers with the objective of helping smallholders adopt better practices – ranging from the types of inputs they should consider to agronomic techniques, post-harvest handling/processing and marketing advice as well as overall farm business management tips. In addition to distributing information to farmers. The solution features a participatory process for content production (i.e., topic selection and content adaptation informed by farmer feedback). Contents include photos, locally generated digital videos, questions and answers as well as informative articles around specific topics. As in most of our other solutions, the AgroNet enables the intensive data collection from farmers and other value chain players in order to improve the quality and relevance of the advice and information we deliver.