Crowd-Farming: Transforming The Face of Agribusiness in Africa

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Photo by Anaya Katlego on Unsplash

Crowd-farming is a production model for agriculture, bee-keeping, livestock and fishing which promotes direct contact between producers and consumers, enabling the first to plan their harvest and the latter to benefit from complete transparency on the origin of the food they consume and the way it is produced. Crowd-farming is an agri-social revolution waged by young producers. Disappointed by the lack of transparency from traditional food supply chains, they decided to reinvent the food supply chain. – Crowdfarming.com

The more recent concept of crowd-farming follows the same principle as crowdfunding, but with an environmental twist. It’s a new direct and transparent food supply chain created by young farmers.Bios Urn in Welcome to the fascinating world of Crowdfarming

The agriculture sector remains largely untapped in Africa. The land’s potential hasn’t been fully realized. This is shown by the number of farmlands, even at the present moment, that remain uncultivated. The reasoning behind, being that farmers don’t have necessary inputs coupled with the issues surrounding global warming.

People in the past knew something of crowd-farming, although it was not necessarily commercialised – they joined hands to plough their fields, thereby making sure that available land is fully utilised and food was availed for all.

The truth is, the time has come for us to adopt extensively a more modern conception of crowd-farming, as opposed to complete neglect of the term. Today, with all technological advances, crowd-farming can transform our agribusinesses.

We also experience food shortages in Africa, largely because even the little produced by owners of farmlands and flocks of animals is wasted. Those who produce, keep their produce for far too long, so much that some of it is spoilt or lost through theft. Thus, crowd-farming can help counter such wastes.

An agricultural adaption of “crowdfunding”, Crowdfarming centers around the concept of remote “2.0 farmers” who purchase plots of farmland online then are shipped the fruit that their land produces. This style of sustainable agriculture aims to reduce the amount of storage time that produce must undergo in the traditional farm to table process.  Produce received from crowd-farming plots can be consumed by program participants or distributed to friends and the goal is that they are more likely to be completely consumed and less likely to be wasted. – Pat Flynn in What is Crowdfarming?

A great majority of Africans don’t own large pieces of land and/or herds of animals. This renders agricultural potential is relatively less than what it could be if most had at least partial ownership of such.

Imagine the situation in which all arable fields are used yearly and animal rearing is a joint-pursuit. Imagine a period in which the fullest potential of agribusiness is realized through communities of farmers.

The general idea behind Crowdfarming is that customers and producers are brought into direct contact. Customers are enabled to know who produces what and producers are able to know who demands what.

The benefits of crowd-farming include:

  • Farmers are flexible to determine prices of their products and therefore will have better planning of their harvest and sales.
  • There is always a demand from consumers and therefore farmers produce directly.
  • There is a lesser need for transportation and middleman warehousing.
  • It’s easier for more people to buy fresh produce directly from the source and find out how their food is cultivated.

In Lesotho we have a platform of this sort known as Market Day. This is where we readily see an open food supply chain (at least in part)- a place where the consumer has all the necessary information (verified) in order to make an informed decision. A place where the farmers could explain his farming techniques beyond a simple label.

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