Social impact technology company, United Needs, works under the belief that the world is at its healthiest when interconnected. In order to disrupt cycles of poverty for rural farmers while simultaneously strengthening Earth’s food system, the organization is introducing new mobile technology to bring together advanced and developing economies.
In the next 34 years, the world will see an increase of 2.4 billion citizens. To feed this population the global food supply must increase by 69%, which means that finite agricultural resources must be used in the most effective way possible.
At the same time, the increase in population presents an exciting opportunity for smallholder farmers to play a large role in the expanding food economy. The United Needs website calls this “convergence of market forces” a chance for impoverished farmers to “grow their way out of poverty.”
In the current climate, small farmers in developing countries struggle with a variety of challenges. While small farms can be extremely productive, too few selling opportunities exist and farmers often lack access to traditional credit facilities. When market options are available, several levels of middlemen often consume most of the profit.
Research by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector showed that improving the financial state of the rural poor is one of the most effective ways of reducing poverty at the bottom rung of the financial ladder.
United Needs works on projects that seek to empower rural farmers as a means of alleviating poverty and building a sustainable food economy. Their methods involve breaking down barriers to profit by connecting developing economies directly with advanced ones.
With the motto “high tech with a high purpose,” United Needs keeps technology at the heart of its strategy. In order to “cut out the middleman” preventing smallholders from accessing credit and capital, the company created a mobile app that allows farmers to directly contact microfinance institutions and buyers. Customers interested in buying in bulk can bundle crops from multiple small farmers together to build large orders.
This high tech process is creating a more connected global economy by offering opportunities for advanced and developing economies to support one another through food production and consumption.
– Jen Diamond