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Originally published by World Economic Forum on January 20, 2023

  • Digital agriculture platforms such as Farm Pass are helping millions of farmers in rural areas access fair prices and credit to grow their businesses.
  • Scaling these types of life-changing digitization programs is vital given the potential for their far-reaching economic impact across the world.
  • Empowering entrepreneurs and small businesses to embrace the digital economy can help foster inclusive, sustainable economic growth.

In India, farmer Saravanan Madhavan digitally connects with buyers to sell his crops. Payments are credited to his account the same day. It’s a welcome departure from how other farmers like him get paid: often late and only partially.

Buyer Ramesh Kumar once trekked through fields to find farmers. Now, technology helps him locate and purchase the exact produce he needs at the best price, saving him time and money on travel.

For farmers, the embrace of digitization has been transformational. Image Courtesy of World Economic Forum

More farmers have signed on to platforms like Farm Pass, which are helping millions in remote areas of India and Africa access fair prices and credit to grow their businesses. With these types of platforms, farmers have access to more buyers, empowering them to negotiate the best price for their produce.

With digitization, farmers pay and get paid digitally, and a digital record of their transactions means they have the financial history they need to apply for loans to finance and grow their businesses. They’re no longer price takers; they’re price makers.

Scaling these types of life-changing digitization programmes is critical given the potential for their far-reaching global economic impact. Agriculture accounts for 4% of global GDP, totalling nearly $4.5 trillion, and employs more than a quarter of the global workforce.

Meanwhile, more than 608 million smallholder farmers produce about a third of the world’s food. Yet for many people, farming no longer guarantees a sustainable livelihood. Some 65% of poor working adults make a living through agriculture.

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