Jose from Fundacion Capital in Paraguay and myself at Kibbutz Shfaim
I had a great time visiting with professionals in the agriculture industry across the developing world yesterday. The event was held at MASHAV's offices in central Israel, called "Harnessing Israel’s Agricultural Innovations for Attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals" and included attendees from over 50 countries.
I particularly enjoyed meeting Jose, from Fundacion Capital in Paraguay. Jose contacted me a few weeks ago after coming across my interview on Israel TV. We're discussing now launching a pilot there to help reach our mutual goal of eradicating poverty among rural farmers. He's very excited about Farmster and mentioned how solving marketing for farmers is like "shooting an arrow at the bull's eye" for development goals.
It was also a refreshing time to hear feedback from those working and living in our target market. "I'm a farmer," one delegate from Cameroon said. "I also face market challenges and have a very hard time finding buyers of my maize." Another delegate from Uganda said she was a farmer herself, but found that the risks were so high and the margins so low that she is now a trader, trading maize from villages to Kampala. A typical farmer in Uganda will earn 600 Shillings per kg from a trader, who then sells it for 1500 Shillings in the city - a markup of almost 300%!
Others indicated their familiarity with these marketing challenges. I spoke with attendees from Panama, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, Uganda, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Sri Lanka. The turnout was amazing, and they all seemed to share the same experience - farming is a hard profession, and the value chain is systematically bent against the farmer's interests.
We hope that Farmster will help.