Updated Oct 22, 2019

Precision Agriculture for Development

Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD) is a global non-profit organization that harnesses technology, data science and behavioral economics to provide targeted information to empower farmers in developing countries to improve their lives.

https://precisionag.org

Jonathan Faull

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Stage 5: Scaling

PAD aims to empower 100 million smallholder farmers. In just over three years of operations we have provided targeted information to 2.9 million smallholders in developing countries and have more than doubled the scale of our reach in each year.

Registered as a Non-Profit in United States.

Focus Areas:

Agriculture, Evidence & Impact, Technology and 4 MoreSEE ALL

Agriculture, Evidence & Impact, Technology, Environment, Digital Development, Resilience and Human Centered DesignSEE LESS

Implemented In:

India, Kenya, Rwanda and 4 MoreSEE ALL

India, Kenya, Rwanda, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and UgandaSEE LESS

2,881,145
Lives Impacted to Date
7
Countries Implemented In
2,881,145
Customers
192
Employees
$17,300,000
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

An estimated 3 billion people live in smallholder farmer households [FAO, 2015]. A majority live at subsistence levels, with most surviving on less than $1.25 per person per day. In just the seven countries where PAD operates, roughly 200 million smallholder farmers and almost 1 billion total household members subsist on farms typically less than 2 hectares in size; most live below the poverty line.

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Solution

PAD harnesses technology, data science and behavioral economics to provide targeted information to farmers in developing countries. By providing actionable information to the right people, in the right way and at the right time, PAD helps smallholder farmers improve productivity, increase profitability, and advance environmental sustainability. PAD is pioneering a new model for agricultural extension: delivering to farmers personalized agricultural advice through their mobile phones.

Target Beneficiaries

Smallholder farmers in developing countries, their dependents and the broader communities to which they belong.

Mission and Vision

By providing actionable information to the right people, in the right way and at the right time, PAD empowers smallholder farmers to improve their productivity, increase their profitability, and advance environmental sustainability.

Innovation Description

PAD’s approach harnesses innovations in technology and research to improve the lives of smallholder farmers. We provide a two-way flow of information that delivers customized advice to farmers through their mobile phones. PAD’s unique approach to mobile agricultural advice consists of four components: 1. We deliver simple and effective messages that farmers can understand and act upon. We draw on behavioral economics to inform messaging that more effectively influences farmer behavior, and social learning theory that facilitates more widespread diffusion of information across farmer networks. 2. Our systems allow us to customize our messaging to farmers to ensure that the information we provide is useful, timely and actionable. Big data and machine learning techniques make it possible for us to tailor information at scale to conditions revealed in existing and new sources of data. 3. Our interventions are evidence-led. We develop systems that are continuously monitored and constantly improving. PAD’s interventions draw on the power of new research methods to improve agricultural extension. 4. Working through partners who are already providing services to farmers at scale – including governments, NGOs, and for-profit agribusinesses – allows PAD to rapidly reach scale, with extremely low customer acquisition costs and rapidly falling marginal costs per farmer per year.

Competitive Advantage

Digital agriculture is a rapidly growing field, with over 150 “mobile agriculture” solutions operating in developing countries. While a few solutions have reached scale and some have high levels of farmer engagement, PAD has achieved both of these objectives, and has done so in only 3 years of operation. For example, one national government digital extension service has reached over 4 million farmers, but only 15% of users access additional agricultural content after their first interaction [PAD, 2018]. Other services achieve high farmer engagement but small reach, for example by providing highly customized advice but tending to focus on a single country and few crops with limited scale.

Planned Goals and Milestones

As we catalyse our transition from early stage organization to a mature organization that delivers impact at scale, we intend to multiply our impact on the lives of the poor in three ways: maximizing scale; enhancing the value of our information and services to farmers through the integration of new data and services; and through continued innovation and learning to enhance the precision and applicability of our services.
Funding Goal30,000,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted100,000,000
New Implemented CountriesZambia
New FeatureExplore ways in which PAD can further develop capabilities to build and operate effective and low-cost two way-communication and advisory systems to support conservation, climate adaptation and climate mitigation. Iterate, achieve further scale and maximize learning to improve impact.

Milestones

Sep 2019
Lives Impacted
2,881,145
Aug 2016
New Country Implemented In
Kenya
Apr 2016
New Country Implemented In
India
Apr 2016
Created

Supporting Materials

PAD2pp-orientation-null.pdf