AgUnity Fights Poverty in Farming With Cellphones
AgUnity is a global technology platform working to provide rural farmers with cellphones equipped with technologies that aim to make agricultural work more efficient. Since its founding in 2016, AgUnity’s digital solution fights poverty by using cellphones to allow farmers the tools and resources to thrive in global supply chains. AgUnity’s technology provides resources to the “last mile,” or to those living in poverty in rural communities worldwide. Through “technology that builds bridges,” AgUnity fights poverty by allowing for both digital and financial inclusion in the agricultural sectors of developing countries.
How AgUnity Works
AgUnity operates through a “Super-App” that aims to reach remote communities and users, create strong lines of trade and solve issues involving transparency and transportation. The award-winning platform provides simple, connective and secure remote support at a low cost, with its operations securely recorded on a “dedicated blockchain ledger.” The company relies on extensive partnerships, a strong global network and “a framework of trust.”
One significant feature of AgUnity’s technology is the built-in digital identity (KYC) feature. This digital user ID records business transactions, and thus, empowers farmers to build a credit history. Having a credit history is essential for obtaining access to financial services such as banking, loans and insurance.
Another key feature is living income data, which tracks the impact of projects by monitoring the changes in income of farmers and their surrounding communities. This feature also helps farmers create a consolidated income record that can help them access credit and financial services.
Finally, the transaction record feature fosters cooperation between farmers and other stakeholders, reducing the likelihood of corruption in business activities. Despite the features’ centrality to the Super-App, AgUnity prides itself on constantly improving and expanding upon the app. AgUnity stresses the importance of not assuming all solutions will be universally successful. Instead, it regularly adjusts its technology to meet the unique needs of different places, communities and time periods.
Today, AgUnity’s technology is utilized in nine countries with 328 total contracted cooperatives since its founding in 2016. The company’s work is recognized by major organizations such as the International Finance Corporation, the Mastercard Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. In addition, in September 2020, AgUnity beat hundreds of competitors in a competition held by Startup Avalanche, winning €200,000 worth of investment funding.
AgUnity’s COVID-19 Response
Given that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacts those living in poverty, AgUnity prioritizes using its technology to help those who have experienced heightened financial hardships as a result of the virus. Specifically, in May 2020, the company started planning for a new initiative called AgUnity Response. The initiative will use the original AgUnity platform “to keep farmers in the food supply chain that have suffered from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The platform will allow farmers to directly transact with consumers to help address the supply chain disruption caused by lockdowns and social distancing. In this way, AgUnity fights poverty. With the AgUnity Response App, products move from the farmer straight to a delivery driver, and then, to the buyer. This limits unnecessary handling in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Furthermore, “the AgUnity Response App is specifically tailored for farmers in rural and remote areas and for farmers with low-literacy, low-technology usage.” At the time of the initial announcement, the company was in the process of raising funds for the new venture.
Overall, AgUnity’s success in fostering economic empowerment is a strong example of the power of creativity and technological innovations in contributing to the global fight against poverty. As the company grows, its positive impact on people’s lives is sure to grow as well.
– Nina Lehr