Project SummaryProject Alba will train farmers on new methods of planting, maintaining and harvesting crops. The healthy crops will be bought and sold to regional wholesalers by agents.
ProblemIn developing countries, almost all the farmers grow the same crop. In Cambodia, where we started, it’s rice. Farmers grow it at the same time, in bad quality, with low productivity, and as a result obtain low prices. Conversely in local markets, other products such as vegetables are in high demand, often in short supply and very expensive. 85% of vegetables consumed in Cambodia are imported and often come with high levels of chemicals. 80% of the population in Cambodia are farmers and face a number of challenges. They have to choose what to grow among many crops with volatile prices. However they have no market information, no agricultural techniques and no capital to buy tools to grow other crops. As a consequence they merely replicate what their neighbors are doing. This approach earns them about USD50 a month while keeping regional markets undersupplied with overpriced produce.
SolutionWe build on contract farming with an innovative approach, proposing a partnership that allows farmers to quickly increase their income while we generate profits. As in standard contract farming, we guarantee to buy the crops in advance while providing tools, inputs and advice at no upfront cost. We then resell their produce to regional wholesalers. Our adaptation is: 1) Flexible crops adapted to market demand. We offer a changing portfolio of vegetables to react to market demand. We do pre-negotiation at market, we agree to buy all farmers' produce and we work with crops that have a high yield so we can guarantee a more regular income. 2) We offer personalised progress in farming on a mass scale We meet the needs of individual farmers whilst remaining cost effective. We provide farmers with inputs in managed quantities at no upfront costs. One of our agents trained in agronomy visits their field weekly. 3) Disseminating the best value tech for small scale farmers We partner with top agricultural scientists and use the best farming techniques. We use computer science methods on the field to ensure we are reactive to problems and thereby solutions. We are also using this to help farmers adapt to climate change.
AskThe coming phase for Project Alba generates two needs for funding:
- Investments for farmers (700 $ per household for both equipment and initial costs of training and follow up).
- Cost of maintaining our management and development team throughout the phase.